Are you a natural mama struggling to deal with pregnancy headaches but wanting to stay away from over-the-counter drugs? If so, you’re in the right place! If headaches are interrupting your flow, try these 9 natural pregnancy headache remedies.
Read on to learn about what causes pregnancy headaches and the best natural remedies to bring you relief.
(The contents of this post do not constitute medical advice. This post contains affiliate links. Click here to read our disclaimer.)
What Causes Pregnancy Headaches?
Headaches are a common complaint during pregnancy and early motherhood. In fact, 39% of women in pregnancy or postpartum report having headaches. While a headache is usually nothing to worry about, it can be extremely disruptive to your day.
First-trimester headaches usually have different causes than second- or third-trimester ones.
In your first trimester, headaches are often related to the sudden changes your body is going through. First-trimester headaches may be caused by: (1)
- hormone changes
- nausea and vomiting
- low-quality sleep or lack of sleep
- stress and tension
- dehydration as a result of vomiting
- changes in weight
- increased blood volume
- low blood sugar
Headaches in your second and third trimesters might feel the same, but they can have different causes, such as:
- muscle tension
- added weight
- sleep issues
- posture changes
Pregnancy headaches are generally benign, but you should contact your healthcare provider if you experience any of these: (2)
- a headache that doesn’t go away
- a severe headache
- dizziness or blurred vision
9 Natural Pregnancy Headache Remedies
Headaches were one of my most consistent pregnancy symptoms, so I sought out remedies early on. I prefer to find natural ways to treat headaches instead of using prescription or over-the-counter drugs whenever possible, and these home remedies have been extremely helpful for me!
Peppermint is known for its headache-reducing powers. Here are a few of my favorite ways to use peppermint for headaches:
- Drinking peppermint tea
- Diffusing peppermint oil
- Making a roller with peppermint oil to apply to tense spots like the back of my neck and my temples
2. Beat Stress with a Mindful Pregnancy
If you think your headaches might be coming from stress (and the tension it causes), check out my tips for having a mindful pregnancy. Practicing mindfulness during pregnancy has been linked to benefits like reduced stress and even an improved childbirth experience!
If you want some support getting started, try downloading Mindfulness.com’s app. They have mindfulness exercises for every issue and time frame. They even have resources to help with sleep!
3. Warm & Cold Water
This headache trick (which I learned from my midwives) is a little wacky, but it’s natural, simple, and very effective. To cure a headache, soak your feet in a basin of warm water and place a very cold washcloth or cold compress on the back of your neck at the same time.
Apparently, this works by redirecting blood flow away from your head and can work within 15 minutes!
4. Track Your Water Intake
Dehydration is a big culprit of pregnancy headaches. If you’re struggling with morning sickness and vomiting, it can be hard to stay hydrated or even keep water down.
You also have higher fluid needs during pregnancy because your blood volume increases, and your fluid intake contributes to the amniotic fluid and your baby’s circulation. ACOG recommends drinking 8 to 12 glasses of water (64 to 96 ounces) a day when you’re pregnant.
If this is a big increase for you, it can be helpful to track your water intake in a healthy pregnancy tracker or on an app.
5. Heating Pad
Heat can make a big impact when it comes to tension. If you’re noticing that certain parts of your body (like your neck and shoulders) are really tight and could be contributing to headaches, try alleviating tension with a heating pad.
6. At-Home Massage
I struggle with tension headaches both during and outside of pregnancy, so I’ve picked up a few tricks along the way. One of my trustiest tools is this heated neck massager.
I keep this massager by my couch and use it whenever I have a tension headache or just notice that my muscles are starting to get tight. It has been effective to use from my neck all the way down to my lower back. And the adjustable speed, heat, and direction settings make it easy to get massage just right.
7. Allow Yourself to Rest
During your pregnancy, you’re probably feeling more fatigue than you’re used to. This threw me off quite a bit, and I sometimes felt lazy or unproductive when I couldn’t convince myself to get off the couch.
But you’re actually being so productive – you’re growing a whole person! Give yourself the permission to rest and recuperate from the hard work you’re doing. Pushing yourself too hard can cause headaches and other issues. And honestly, you deserve to put your feet up, mama!
If you’re really struggling with the idea of slowing down, there are still constructive things you can do while you rest, like journaling or knitting bibs for your little one.
8. Get Outside and Move
Although rest is important during pregnancy, we do need to have balance. Exercise has been shown to decrease the frequency of headaches. And since spending time outdoors can reduce stress, exercising outside can be a powerful combination to prevent headaches!
Try engaging in gentle movement outdoors, like a walk or yoga in the park.
9. Improve Your Sleep Hygiene
Lack of sleep and poor sleep quality are both headache causers. If sleep has been more difficult for you during pregnancy, try some of these tips to improve your sleep hygiene:
- Go to sleep and wake up at the same times each day.
- Limit blue light before bed.
- Create a calming bedtime routine to signal to your body that it’s time for sleep.
Which of these natural pregnancy headache remedies has been most helpful for you? Share in the comments!