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A Mom’s Guide to Headaches

The worst headaches I've ever had came on during two of the happiest times in my life: the first trimesters of each of my pregnancies. They were doozies, the throbbing pain behind my eyes so relentless and severe that I'd have to lie in my bed with the lights off, in total silence, for hours on end. In both cases, the headaches disappeared by my second trimester. Looking back, I'm pretty sure that they were migraines brought on by my skyrocketing estrogen levels.

I still get headaches, though they're milder. And headaches are the story for many other moms too. "Mothers of young children are especially prone to headaches because they tend to be sleep-deprived, multitasking, and stressed," says Jan Lewis Brandes, M.D., clinical instructor of neurology at Vanderbilt University Medical School, in Nashville. Dr. Brandes, a mom of two, suffers from migraines herself.

Most often, moms suffer from tension headaches or migraines; others get cluster headaches. Whichever kind you get, here's how to keep aches at bay.