Women with Migraine and Preeclampsia

A recent study continues to raise the question – are women with a history of migraine at increased risk of preeclampsia?

Migraine and Preeclampsia

Preeclampsia is a condition involving high blood pressure (hypertension).  It happens during and after pregnancy.  A brief description from the Mayo Clinic:

Preeclampsia is a condition of pregnancy marked by high blood pressure and excess protein in your urine after 20 weeks of pregnancy. Preeclampsia often causes only modest increases in blood pressure. Left untreated, however, preeclampsia can lead to serious — even fatal — complications for both you and your baby.

The study was small – just 90 women.  The researchers concluded that there is a significant increase in risk for migraineurs.  However, the study was prompted from reports of many women with a history of migraine having preeclampsia, and it is only a step to more conclusive research.

Interestingly, preeclampsia itself is characterized by severe headaches, dizziness, nausea, photophobia – all symptoms familiar to migraine sufferers.  It likely that there is a common mechanism in the body triggering both the migraine attacks and the preeclampsia.  (There are a number of causes of preeclampsia, but one or more may be related to migraine)

If you’re diagnosed with preeclampsia, your doctor may recommend medication, bed rest, and if you’re far enough along, induced delivery.

It’s very important, particularly for migraineurs, to report to your doctor any changes in migraine and headache symptoms (particularly after 20 or 30 weeks, when early cases of preeclampsia start to show up).  It’s also important to get regular checkups.  If you’re diagnosed with preeclampsia, your doctor will want to monitor you more closely.

Read more about headache during pregnancy

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