Headaches in pregnancy

Authors: A. Rajdová 1,2;  E. Vlčková 1,2;  I. Niedermayerová 1,3;  A. Šprláková-Puková 2,4;  J. Bednařík 1,2
Authors‘ workplace: Neurologická klinika, Centrum pro, diagnostiku a léčbu bolestí hlavy, FN Brno 1;  LF MU, Brno 2;  Neurologie Brno s. r. o. 3;  Klinika radiologie a nukleární, medicíny FN Brno 4
Published in: Cesk Slov Neurol N 2020; 83/116(3): 269-276
Category: Review Article
doi: https://doi.org/10.14735/amcsnn2020269


The headache during pregnancy represents a specific issue. This complaint is quite common, but the treatment possibilities are limited at that period. In general, the incidence of secondary headaches including serious or life-threatening conditions may increase during pregnancy. Headache may also represent the first symptom of serious systemic complications of pregnancy. This article thus provides an overview of primary and secondary headache disorders, available diagnostic methods and therapeutic options in pregnant women. If the headache occurs for the first time in a pregnant woman, it is necessary to rule out serious secondary types of headache, e.g., pre-eclampsia, cerebral venous sinus thrombosis or intracerebral haemorrhage, which can be life-threatening. In contrast, primary headaches usually improve during pregnancy. About 70% of female patients suffering from primary headache disorders (especially migraine without aura) report improvement or complete remission of migraine attacks during pregnancy. The rest of women requires proper acute or prophylactic therapy, which is rather complicated with regard to teratogenic effect of many drugs.


headache – pregnancy – Migraine – pre-eclampsia – intracranial sinus thrombosis – diagnostic imaging


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