What causes severe headache during pregnancy?

Posted on Mon, 14 Dec 2015 in General Health
Question: My 18 year old daughter just came to me and said that she had a headache on right side of her head and that the right side of her body felt numb. Especially her extremities. She said that her eye was twitching and she felt like she couldn't stop shaking. She is also 6 months pregnant.
Answered by Dr. Muhammad Sareer Khalil 1 hour later
Brief Answer:
Headache in 2nd or 3rd trimester needs evaluation

Detailed Answer:
Hello and Welcome

I appreciate your concern

Mild headache can be safely treated with acetaminophen or paracetamol in pregnancy. Severe Headache in pregnancy especially in the 2nd and 3rd trimester needs to be taken seriously. It could be a sign of preeclampsia, which is marked by high blood pressure and vision changes. Liver and kidney functions would also need to be checked via blood work (liver and renal function tests). Urine needs to be checked for presence of proteinuria. If there is associated edema, shortness of breath or mental status changes then she should be transferred to an ER facility. Unilateral headache can occur in either migraine or sinusitis. The usual migraine medications are not safe in pregnancy and paracetamol 1g is the only safe alternative. For sinusitis , antibiotics can be prescribed along with nasal decongestants. Vision also needs to be checked as eye strain related to reading or watching a laptop screen can also need to headache. The tremors or shaking can be related to fever, low blood sugar or low blood pressure or electrolyte imbalance.

Wishing you best of health


Let me know if you have any query

Please consult your doctor before deciding on any further course of action.

For future follow up / correspondence you may ask me directly at the link given below


Dr. M.S. Khalil

Above answer was peer-reviewed by : Dr. Chakravarthy Mazumdar
Answered by
Dr. Muhammad Sareer Khalil

General & Family Physician

Practicing since :2012

Answered : 2919 Questions


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