Headaches at 33 weeks

Hey everyone,

Been feeling really rubbish so after some comfort and advice! It's a bit of a long story though so bear with me!

I've basically had a migraine / headache for about a week now, pretty much constantly. The symptoms now are a dull ache across my forehead which is always there, and a stabby, throbbing intense pain in the back of my head on the left which goes down into the left of my neck which comes and goes accompanied sometimes by nausea. The whole thing obviously makes me feel pretty groggy and exhausted too.

It all started last Sunday with loss of vision in my left eye which then developed into a headache and by Monday morning my hands were a bit swollen and it felt as if my blood was thumping or throbbing through my whole body, especially in my fingertips. I didn't go to work on Monday and rang the midwife who gave me a home visit. She wanted me to go to hospital for monitoring but the hospital wouldn't see me. They said it's just a migraine, take painkillers.

The more worrying symptoms (swelling, vision disturbances etc) all went on Monday just leaving the headache, so I've been back to work. We also bought a bp monitor and I've been checking my bp every night and it's within normal ranges. It's a bit high for me but that's cos I usually have low bp. My highest reading has only been about 118/72 so I know that's not too much of a worry (normal for me is about 110/60.)

The problem with the take painkiller advice is what to take? I have an intolerance to paracetemol - in the past it has made me shaky, sick and not touched the pain - but that said I haven't taken it for about 15 years. I did try it in childhood and teenagedom but my Mum has the same thing and we've always assumed it was a sort of allergy (the same thing happens if I have a sip of champagne!) So maybe I should try paracetemol? The GP prescribed me codeine early in pregnancy when I had a cold but I think I remember him saying don't take it in third trimester. However both midwives I spoke to on Monday said it's ok to take your codeine. Generally I've been trying to soldier on with nothing but I've just had to given in and take 2xcodeine (they are 15mg.) Do you think they will be ok to take?

I brought my maternity leave forward this week so I'll be going at 35 weeks now (instead of 37) so just 2 more weeks at work then I hope these headaches stop! I'm not usually a headache sufferer at all. I get them occassionally with colds, that's all. Before pregnancy I had never had a migraine in my life and until this week I'd had 2 in pregnancy and that was it. I'm at my wits end. Anyone else had the same? Any words of wisdom girls?


Mia xx


  • cebpickle1cebpickle1 Posts: 6,786
    Hi Mia

    I would phone midwife unit at hospital as migraines don't last this long, I have suffered with them for years and the longest ever had the lingering for is 48 hours. So either midwife unit or NHS direct for advice on what to take.

    My midwife told me to take ibuprofen for mine, or if continue then accupuncture but my friend is special care nurse and she said don't take ibuprofen it affects babies breathing and there was something in the news about not taking it the other week as can bring on miscarriage.

    Other thing to try for instant relief is to lay down with cold cloth on head
  • hlg81hlg81 Posts: 107
    Probably best to see your midwife again although it does sound like a migraine. Headaches are very common in pregnancy and often because of hormonal changes. However yours is dragging on a bit and is obviously worrying you, so your midwife/hospital should respect that and check you out. Your blood pressure is very normal, so reassuring. Did your midwife dip your urine?

    As for codiene it is completely safe in all trimesters. It is a very weak opiate so if you take big doses (60mg four times a day) for a long time there is a very small risk of withdrawal in your baby. Occasional doses will not cause any problems.

    ibuprofen is NOT safe in pregnancy. I am really surprised your midwife suggested it.
  • MiaLeaceyMiaLeacey Posts: 1,184
    Thank you for the replies.

    Yes the midwife did test my urine when I saw her on Monday, and no protein, so another reason not to worry.

    I'm loathe to ring them again, especially at the hospital, given the short shrift I received last time. They said my next step should be the GP, so I'll ring them tomorrow and at the least try to get more codeine. Good to know I can take that, may help me to get through the work I need to do today!

    Incidentally I tried some paracetemol last night, and it definitely doesn't agree with me! I got a very gripey and churny tummy, a feeling of being on a ship, travel sickness, and a feeling of being weighed down. Oh and the headache remained! image but at least I know now. Will plough on my with codeine and just hope this doesn't last till Baby's born now...
  • Try FOREHEAD, little pink tube of menthol, bit like a pritt stick that you rub across your forehead and it feels really cold. I use one when I start with migraines and they usually calm down after 10 minutes.

    I can't take paracetamol tablets cos they upset my tummy and make me sick but I can take the soluble ones, have you tried them???

    Dawn x
  • cebpickle1cebpickle1 Posts: 6,786
    Can you use Forehead when pregnant Dawn? It has worked for me in the past
  • I've been told 4head is safe in pregnancy, I use it as I suffer with headaches and I also find paracetamol makes me sick. I will look out for some soluble paracetamol though to see if that's better so thanks for the tip image
  • MiaLeaceyMiaLeacey Posts: 1,184
    Wow, really interesting to know that others have the paracetemol thing too. And my husband spoke to a pharmacist today who also has it. Really reassuring as doctors always look at me as if I'm mad when I tell them and say I must be imagining it. Thanks!

    Spoke to GP today and he said take your codeine too and prescribed me some more so might treat myself to 2 later!
  • cebpickle1cebpickle1 Posts: 6,786
    Might have to get a new forehead stick then as have had headaches and migraines and the paracetamol has done nothing
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