Last night, Chrissy Teigen asked her Twitter followers to help her find a pregnancy headache remedy that actually works. "I love being pregnant. I like it more than not being pregnant. But the headaches, my god the headaches," she wrote. "Someone... please help. Don’t say water. Or Tylenol. Or iron. Or magnesium. I need witchcraft."
Teigen's lamenting is legit, because finding a successful headache treatment can be very frustrating. And during pregnancy, it can be even trickier, because people often get more frequent headaches and are dealing with lots of other bodily changes at the same time. Fortunately, there are ways to treat headaches that don't require witchcraft.
The first step in treating any headache is figuring out what's causing it. For pregnant people in their first trimester, the sudden change in hormones and increase of blood volume can trigger tension headaches, according to the American Pregnancy Association. Increased stress, caffeine withdrawal, changes in your posture, and lack of sleep can also make people more susceptible to headaches.
If it is just a regular tension headache, then the treatments that Teigen listed are a great place to start: It's generally safe to take acetaminophen while pregnant, and staying hydrated is key to preventing headaches. According to the Mayo Clinic, applying a cold compress to your head and lying down will also help relieve the pain. Finding a dark room and sleeping until the pain subsides is another way to deal.
Luckily there are ways to prevent headaches from happening in the first place. The first step is figuring out what your headache triggers are. Many people keep headache diaries to track which foods and/or conditions may have contributed to a headache. Usually, relaxation techniques (like meditation or deep breathing), consistent sleep, and regular exercise and meals are the best tools to prevent headache attacks, according to the Mayo Clinic.
As for the "witchcraft" remedies that Teigen requested, as far as we know, none exist. But there are some non-traditional methods that might work: Studies suggest that acupuncture can help reduce headache frequency, and some people find that putting a few dabs of peppermint oil on their temples can be soothing. But it's crucial to talk to your doctor before trying any alternative medication to make sure it's safe for you, especially during pregnancy. It's also a good idea to let your doctor know that you're experiencing headaches, so they can rule out more serious conditions that might be causing them (like preeclampsia).
The good news for pregnant people? Your body will continue to change throughout the rest of pregnancy, so there's a chance that the headaches will go away. And actually, some people who typically get migraine headaches find that the headaches get better or go away completely once they get pregnant, according to the Mayo Clinic.
And for what it's worth, we've also found that just complaining on Twitter about your headaches can be a truly cathartic experience. So keep the tweets coming, Teigen.