Too Little Sleep and Too Much Weight Linked to Greater Migraine Medication Use During Pregnancy

For many women, pregnancy brings relief from headaches, but not all women are so lucky. Some actually experience more symptoms, particularly in the first trimester. “Consequently, these women may require pharmacotherapy during this period, which also corresponds to the most vulnerable period of fetal development,” wrote Katerina Nezvalova-Henriksen, MD, and her colleagues in the journal Cephalalgia.

Dr. Nezvalova-Henriksen and her fellow researchers analyzed data from over 60,000 pregnant women who were part of the Norwegian Mother and Child Cohort Study. Just under 6% had at least one migraine in the first five months of pregnancy; 73% of this group turned to migraine medications (primarily non-narcotic analgesics and triptans). Insufficient sleep turned out to be a big contributing factor: women who had less than five hours of sleep each night were 50% more likely to use migraine drugs during pregnancy than women who had more sleep. Being overweight prior to pregnancy (as determined by a high body mass index), being on sick leave, and acute musculoskeletal pain (back, neck or shoulder pain) were also risk factors.

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This is a condition where the amount of sugar in the blood stream declines to a low level, which produces symptoms. Relative hypoglycemia occurs in situations where the blood sugar declines from an elevated level to a lower, but not too low, a level at a rate such that the brain reacts to this change. Generally, the blood sugar must fall below 50 for a patient to experience symptoms of hypoglycemia. The brain’s two most critical sources of energy are sugar and oxygen. When the sources of these are too low, the brain reacts to try to restore them. Continue Reading