Women who suffer from migraines are more likely to experience pregnancy complications like miscarriage, premature birth or pre-eclampsia, a study has revealed.
Researchers observed 250,000 pregnant women and discovered higher rates of miscarriage and premature birth among those who get migraines. Women who suffer from this severe headache are 50 per cent more likely to be affected by high blood pressure during pregnancy, the Danish study found.
These women are also 40 per cent more likely to get pre-eclampsia-- a pregnancy complication characterized by high blood pressure and signs of damage to another organ system, most often the liver and kidneys. Preeclampsia usually begins after 20 weeks of pregnancy in women whose blood pressure had been normal. If left untreated it can be deadly for both mother and baby.
Women make up six million of Britain's eight million migraine sufferers, with one in four women of reproductive age affected by the condition. According to Daily Mail, researchers from Aarhus University Hospital in Denmark compared the pregnancies of 22,841 women who get migraines with 228,324 women who do not over a seven-year period. They found that migraine-sufferers had a ten per cent higher chance of having a miscarriage, and were 21 per cent more likely to give birth prematurely.
Unfortunately, the mothers are not the only ones to be affected-- babies are 20 per cent more likely to be admitted to intensive care if their mothers have migraines. They also have a higher chance of respiratory problems and seizures. Lead author Nils Skajaa, from Aarhus University Hospital, said: "Migraine is a disabling condition, common among women of reproductive age. Accumulating evidence shows that migraine in pregnancy may lead to several adverse outcomes in the mother and child, but treatment may alleviate these risks."
The study, published in Headache, revealed that treating migraines does not reduce the risk of complications. This suggests that migraines are a red flag for underlying problems, such as high blood pressure. It also means pregnancy problems relating to migraines are likely to be a biological problem, rather than being caused by any drugs such as acetaminophen and ibroprufen, commonly used to treat migraines.
Migraine disorder causes a severe headache felt as a throbbing pain on one side of the head, according to the Mayo Clinic. Attacks can last up to 72 hours and cause dizziness, nausea and headaches. The study concluded that maternal migraine was associated with increased risks of low birth weight, preterm birth, cesarean delivery, neonatal dispensings, respiratory distress syndrome, and febrile seizures in the offspring.