Women with migraines more likely to have pregnancy complications

    photo of a pregnant women experiencing a migraine headache

    Women who cope with migraine headaches before becoming pregnant may have higher risks of pregnancy complications that could threaten their health or that of their babies, a new analysis suggests.

    The Harvard-led study, published online Jan. 19, 2023, by Neurology, combed through 20 years’ worth of data from the Nurses’ Health Study II, which included 30,555 pregnancies among 19,694 nurses in the United States. Researchers evaluated how many women reported they’d been diagnosed with migraine, as well as the type of migraine. Participants also reported if they’d experienced medical problems during pregnancy.

    Compared with women who didn’t have migraines, women diagnosed with the headache disorder before pregnancy were 17% more likely to report preterm delivery; 28% more likely to have high blood pressure during pregnancy; and 40% more likely to have pre-eclampsia, a serious complication involving high blood pressure and potential organ damage.

    The findings suggest women with migraine might benefit from greater monitoring during pregnancy to avoid complications, study authors said.

    Image: © Justin Paget/Getty Images

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