“My head hurts!” –Headaches during pregnancy.

After a stressful day, Barbie just wants to cry out, "Calgon!  Take me Away!"

Barbie’s head hurts!  She needs some relief!

It is early in your pregnancy, and you are feeling nauseous.  Along with this nausea comes a throbbing headache.  You don’t want to take any medication, but you really want to find some relief.  Prenatal yoga may help!

Headaches can come on for varying reasons.  During pregnancy, those reasons can be many.  Perhaps you are not eating enough or drinking enough water.  Many times, headaches will occur during the first trimester due to hormonal surges. Other times, headaches are caused by tension. As your body changes and you gain weight, poor posture can result, which can contribute to creating tension and stress on the muscles and nerves of the neck and shoulders. Alot of this tension can be relieved and maybe even avoided by practicing yoga during your pregnancy.  Remember,  it is important to mention the headaches to your healthcare provider, especially if accompanied by other symptoms, such as a fever, dizziness, and blurred vision.  If you typically suffer from migraines, they may lessen during pregnancy.  Unfortunately for some, they may get worse.  Always consult with your health care provider about frequent headaches or headaches that appear out of the blue. 

The deep breathing exercises we practice in a prenatal yoga class can help calm the mind.  We learn to breathe deep and full measured breaths.  By breathing in this manner, we cue the muscles of the body to relax.  As we practice this breath, we also learn to create proper alignment in the spine, which, in turn, alleviates the tension we create in our daily lives.  As we drive, sit at desks, and look into our computer screens, we round out the upper back and jut the chin forward.  As we react to stress, we may creep our shoulders up to the ears,creating more tension.  These habits are further exacerbated during pregnancy as the breasts grow heavier, pulling the chest and the shoulders forward.  Many of the postures we practice strengthen the muscles of the upper back, allowing our hearts to stay lifted, rather then slumped.

If you are looking to relieve a headache right now, take the time to stretch and take pressure off the back of the neck. This may help alleviate a tension headache.  Set yourself up in a quiet space without any bright lights. If you have a chair handy, place a folded blanket or a flat pillow on the chair. Sit down on the floor and extend your left leg so that it is under the chair. Bend your right leg and place the sole of the foot to the inside of the thigh of the left leg. Take an inhale and you find some length through the spine and exhale and you come forward, placing your forehead on the pillow or blanket atop the chair so the back of the neck can lengthen. Let the arms relax atop the chair, as well. Adjust as necessary so that you can relax in this position for a minute or even more.  Change legs and repeat on the other side for the same amount of time.  You can repeat this stretch on both sides for an even deeper release.

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Prenatal yoga can help you build body awareness, strength and flexibility. It can address the common aches and discomforts that come along with pregnancy.  Yoga can help you come through your pregnancy, labor,delivery and beyond with strength and grace. If you live in the Lansing, Michigan area and are pregnant, please come and check out my prenatal and postnatal classes at Hilltop Yoga.

Namaste!

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© mahamamas.com and Janet MacFarlane, 2013. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Janet MacFarlane and Mahamamas.com with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

Janet MacFarlane is a Yoga Alliance registered teacher at 500 hours, with a specialty in  prenatal yoga.  Janet is also a Certified Prenatal Fitness Educator with ICEA

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