Washington D.C.: Migraine can increase the risk of miscarriage and giving birth to a child with low weight, says a recent study, which has been published in the journal of ‘Head and Face Pain.’
According to the study, prescription migraine drugs may alleviate complications.
The study questions general perception that expecting women who suffer from migraine find the number and severity of severe headaches decreasing during pregnancy.
“The study shows that pregnant women with migraine more often have complications in connection with their pregnancy and childbirth than women who don’t suffer from migraine,” says Nils Skajaa, BSc, who is the study’s lead author.
“Newborn babies whose mothers suffered from migraine during pregnancy also have an increased risk of complications such as respiratory distress and febrile seizures,” adds Skajaa.
The researchers worked with more than 22,000 pregnant women with migraine who were compared with an approximately ten times larger group of pregnant women without known migraine.
One finding in the study is that the risk of caesarean sections is 15-25% higher for pregnant women with migraine than pregnant women without migraine. Around 20% of all births in Denmark is by the caesarean section.
Researchers have also used the same data to deduce that migraine medication possibly prevents some of the complications. However, the results must be interpreted with caution, as Skajaa explains.
“The study was not specifically designed to examine this aspect. However, we show that the risk of complications generally was lower for pregnant women with migraine who took medication when compared with pregnant women with migraines who were not treated,” adds Skajaa.
“This also indicates that the migraine medication isn’t the cause of the complications, but rather the migraine itself. This is important knowledge for pregnant women with migraine.”
Migraine is relatively common and affects twice as many women as men. The actual cause remains unknown, but previous research suggests that migraines may be triggered by stress, fatigue, or hormonal changes such as pregnancy.
“Paradoxically, women of childbearing age are particularly hard hit by migraines. Although experience shows that migraines become milder during pregnancy, this study emphasises that the healthcare service should be particularly aware of pregnant women with migraine,” concludes Nils Skajaa.