Headache Honeymoon

So the first trimester of pregnancy was a time of nausea, fatigue and very few headaches. I’m not going to pretend like the first two were pleasant because that is a bold-faced lie, but the third was pretty kickass. I had about 8 solid weeks of almost no real headaches worth noting. It was beautiful.

The second trimester has been nausea free for the most part, I can now eat both beef AND chicken (mostly), and I have a pretty significant headache every damn day. The first two parts are pretty great, but the third is the opposite of kickass. It is literally kicking my ass.

Sigh. The headache honeymoon is over.

I don’t know exactly what has changed, except hormones and maybe stress, but I do know that these headaches are a real freaking drag. They are pretty much my normal headaches, but occasionally with a migrainous twist thrown in. And the worst part is that I know somedays that my migraine medication would make it go away, only I can’t take it because I love this baby too much for my own good. Literally.

I think what is making it the most difficult to manage is that I had all that time off and so my endurance, my tolerance is down. It’s like if I had a drink right now, I’d be hammered because I’ve been sober for so long. These headaches are knocking me over because I’m not used to them anymore. I was living in baseline pain land, and it is extremely pretty.

I had nearly forgotten how awful it was to be in this much pain all the time. There are some days where Tylenol helps a little (takes the pain from about an 8 to a 7.75), but the moment it wears off, the headache amps right back up. And I’m only taking the Tylenol when I’m really desperate because I don’t need rebound headaches on top of everything else.

It’s frustrating because even now when I’m not drop dead tired all the time and I can actually stay awake and do things, I don’t want to. I just want to lay down and make my head stop hurting, or lay down and wish my head would stop hurting, because that’s usually what happens.

I haven’t found anything that seems to trigger the headaches now and most of the time I haven’t found anything that relieves them either, including sleep, which really sucks.

I’m slowly starting to get worn out by the combination of my work and school hours and these headaches. Work isn’t distracting me from the pain as much as it once did, and the pain is absolutely interfering with my daily activities. I hate admitting that, but it totally is and there’s pretty much nothing I can do about it. My OB didn’t like the vitamin combination that my neurologist recommended, so I’m fresh out of options besides the periodic Tylenol.

I know I can manage this in its current state, but I am worried that it’s going to get worse and there’s going to be a limit to my tolerance soon.

I’d really just like some pain relief. Even if it’s only temporary, hell, even if it’s only for tonight.

10 Responses to “Headache Honeymoon”

  • I am sure you have tried it before, but maybe acupuncture would help while pregnant?


  • I am sorry, I know how much the pain stinks. I have chiari, though not pregnant, and refuse pain meds most days (because I don’t want to give in & I am super stubborn). I’ve been trying acupuncture to control the pain and it has been helping me. I haven’t had a “curl up and cry it out” headache in 3 weeks – which is the longest low pain stretch I’ve had since I can remember. It may be worth a shot trying? I hope you get some relief soon!!!!


  • Lynda M O:

    So sorry that the pain is back with what sounds like a vengeance. Best to you and the babe in womb.


  • wow – this is only the beginning of the suffering you will do for your baby (I know that sounds negative but it isn’t) the love you have for your child will make you endure almost anything… I’m very scared of spiders (and here in australia quite a few of them are dangerous) but I picked one up in my bare hand to get it out of my son’s cot (crib)… If he needed a heart transplant he could have mine… I would endure anything, give anything, suffer anything for that damn baby!!! (who is now 18).
    I wish they understood the hormonal mix our bodies create when we are pregnant…
    cheers and good luck!


  • If you get really desperate and it doesn’t make you pukey and is still on the market, Fioracet (sp?) is safe during the second trimester. I get migraines and had to resort to it a few times during my pregnancies and it worked wonders for me. I hope you feel better soon!


  • Oh craptastic, I’d been hoping the honeymoon would have lasted straight in to the babymoon. I’m hopeful you’ll find something safe that will provide some relief.


  • Girl, I get the migraine part. Since we started trying to get pregnant, there are two weeks every month where the only thing I can take for a headache is Tylenol. Of course, during those two weeks I get at least one migraine. They used to only last until I went to bed but now they last a full two days. I talked to my OB and begged her for something that could help because there was no way I would risk taking my migraine pill. She wrote me a prescription for phenergan and told me to take 1/2 phenergan at night before I go to bed and two Tylenol. I have no idea why but it has gotten rid of every single migraine. I don’t know how safe phenergan is during later pregnancy (my OB is fine with me taking it in those first couple of weeks when I’m not sure) but I thought I would throw it out there.

    Other than that, all I can say is hang in there! I worry about headaches too because I am very, very headache prone and I’m thinking pregnancy might be a tad difficult in that sense.


  • Oh and my neurologist said that Imitrex is ok to take during pregnancy and so are some steriods. I would take that with a grain of salt though because he also told me my regular migraine meds were ok and my OB said absolutely not.

    All this is easy for me to recommend because I’m not pregnant yet but I bet when I am, I will be way to paranoid to take anything.


    Katie Reply:

    @Becca, Awesome suggestions. I have an OB appointment in a week and a half and I’ll ask her about those suggestions. I hope you get the same kind of headache honeymoon I was afforded (only, hopefully yours will last longer!). I was just thinking about you today. I’m sending all my good thoughts your way, always.

    Thanks again!


  • Second trimester on I would get horrible (HORRIBLE) tension headaches. I’ve never had headaches worse than when I was pregnant. The chiropractor and craniosacral massages (courtesy of my mom) would lessen them more than anything else ever could. Other than that it was wearing sunglasses in public all the time, lying down in the cold dark and napping. Which is *totally* an option for you with your busy schedule, obviously.

    Not sure if you can do chiro or craniosacral…but if you can…it’s totally worth looking into. Especially since the chiro can open your hips up for that baby to evacuate. Heh.

    I’m so sorry you’re having to endure this during something that is “supposed” to be all joyous and glowy. It’s just can’t be all the time (joyous and glowy that is)



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I'm Katie, a 30-year-old, wife, mom, former teacher-turned PT, who also had brain surgery in November of 2007. This blog chronicles my daily life, from mundane to crazy, often with far too much detail. Sit down, get comfortable and stay for a while.
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