Pregnancy and migraines

msmigraine Community Member October 09, 2007
  • I a normal, healthy 27 yr. old woman with migraines being my only health problem.  My husband and I would like to have a baby, but with migraines occuring anywhere from 9-12 times a month, there's no way I could go without any imitrex or other pain medication, preventative medication, etc. throughout a pregnancy.  We spoke to a gyno who said the only safe medication was tylenol w/ codeine.  Well I tried taking that when I had a migraine and it was like eating skittles...not effective at all.  Do you know of any other kind of medications available.  Right now our plans are on hold until I get the migraines under control.  But under control could take all of my life!!  Any suggestions would be awesome.

     Thank you      Sarah 

13 Comments
  • Anonymous
    Anonymous
    Jan. 24, 2008

    I'm pregnant, and i've gotten migraines since I was 10 years old. Imitrex has been my saviour. I try to take tylenol or anything else first, if two doses of that doesn't work, then I take half of a 50 mg imitrex (ok'd by my doctor for extreme migraines).

    Yes, it's a class C medication. When it was researched YEARS ago, they gave 5 times...

    RHMLucky777

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    I'm pregnant, and i've gotten migraines since I was 10 years old. Imitrex has been my saviour. I try to take tylenol or anything else first, if two doses of that doesn't work, then I take half of a 50 mg imitrex (ok'd by my doctor for extreme migraines).

    Yes, it's a class C medication. When it was researched YEARS ago, they gave 5 times the human dosage to rabbits, every day of their gestational period. First, no one takes 5 times the human dosage, and no one takes it every day for their entire pregnancy. Of course there were going to be side effects. And they've not researched it since then, which was at least 18 years ago.

    I have 3 family members, and know 2 other friends that have taken it as needed for migraines, and had no problems at all. It's going to be one of those things you discuss with your doctor.

  • dts547
    Oct. 13, 2007

    Julie aka Jaz was absolutely right about the right OB.  I would go a step further and recommend a consult with a maternal fetal medicine specialist called a perinatologist.  Any OB can say they specialize in high risk OB but a perinatologist has done a fellowship beyond the OB residency and they ONLY see women with high risk conditions both before...

    RHMLucky777

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    Julie aka Jaz was absolutely right about the right OB.  I would go a step further and recommend a consult with a maternal fetal medicine specialist called a perinatologist.  Any OB can say they specialize in high risk OB but a perinatologist has done a fellowship beyond the OB residency and they ONLY see women with high risk conditions both before and during the pregnancy.  They usually don't deliver babies, but manage the high risk conditions in conjunction with the regular OB. A perinatologist would be absolutely the very best for assuring that you were taking minimal chances with your meds while still managing your migraines.

    Denise

  • naykay
    Oct. 12, 2007

    Hello msmigraine!

     

    I read your post with empathy and understanding.  I became pregnant unexpectedly, so I was forced to deal with having migraines and being pregnant.  And no, the migraines did not go away - at least not during the first two trimesters.  My third trimester was a breeze, though.  I didn't have one migraine and I had...

    RHMLucky777

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    Hello msmigraine!

     

    I read your post with empathy and understanding.  I became pregnant unexpectedly, so I was forced to deal with having migraines and being pregnant.  And no, the migraines did not go away - at least not during the first two trimesters.  My third trimester was a breeze, though.  I didn't have one migraine and I had tons of energy.  One might say I was manic!

     

    I do have some info that might be helpful to you.  I remember being so sick from a migraine, that I puked all the way from my home to the doctor's office.  My husband had to keep pulling over so I could throw up some more.  When I arrived at the doctor's office, I was puking all over their parking lot, and the doctor and the nurse were outside, looking at me with true sympathy.  I was a wreck!  I thought I would never survive the pregnancy and the migraines.

     

    As it turns out, my doctor gave me compazine for the migraines.  I believe it is an older medication, sometimes prescribed for people with schizophrenia.  All I know is it got rid of my migraines, so every time I got one, I would go to my doctor's office and get an IV of compazine.  By my third trimester, the migraines had vanished.

     

    The other thing that helped me was acupuncture.  The same doctor who treated me with compazine, gave me acupuncture.  I had 4-5 sessions over a 2-month period of time.  The results were fabulous!  I went for an entire year without a migraine, beginning in my third trimester of pregnancy.

     

    So, between the compazine and the acupuncture, I was able to deal with migraines during pregnancy.  One warning about compazine, though.  It has a nasty little side effect called tardive dyskinesia, in which your mouth can go into these bizarre contortions that you have a hard time controlling.  They don't hurt at all, but they make you look freakish.  My husband and I used to laugh about it because it just seemed like there was always something going on.  No migraines - but yes to tardive dyskinesia.  The good news is that the tardive dyskinesia would go away after a few hours, and I would still be pain free and much happier.

     

    So, ask your doctor about compazine.  I took it throughout my first two trimesters, and my son turned out beautifully.  He is an almost straight A student, and he is mature, responsible and very humorous.  My son is 15 so, if anything were going to show up, it would have shown up by now.

     

    I wish you well in your journey of pregnancy and migraines.  Don't be afraid to get pregnant!  You can get pregnant and remain relatively pain free.  It happened for me, and it can happen for you.

     

    Best of luck and big hugs for you,

     

    Kay

    • msmigraine
      Oct. 13, 2007

      I do have compozine suppositories now.  Is the IV compozine the same thing?  I suppose it just works alot faster...I also am trying acupuncture for the second time now.  I've seen the acupuncturist about 7 times now....once a week with no luck so far.  Thanks for all the info.

       

      Sarah

    • naykay
      Oct. 13, 2007

      Hey there!

       

      I'm glad to hear you knew about the compazine.  It really worked for me when I was pregnant AND it didn't hurt my son in the process.  The IV stuff just works faster than the suppositories.  By the time I would get to my doctor's office, I would be so miserable that they wanted to give me whatever would work the fastest....

      RHMLucky777

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      Hey there!

       

      I'm glad to hear you knew about the compazine.  It really worked for me when I was pregnant AND it didn't hurt my son in the process.  The IV stuff just works faster than the suppositories.  By the time I would get to my doctor's office, I would be so miserable that they wanted to give me whatever would work the fastest.

       

      I am sorry to hear that you are not getting any benefit from the acupuncture.  I only tried it the one time, and it was so amazing that it worked the way it did.  I guess everyone is different and their responses to treatments can vary widely.

       

      Thanks for the tip about the compazine suppositories.  I didn't know there was such a thing.  I am 51, so I don't plan on having anymore babies, but it is good to know that something like the suppositories exist.

       

      I wish you luck in getting pregnant and in being able to take something for migraines while you are pregnant.  It can be a tricky combination, but there ARE ways to take care of you AND your unborn baby at the same time.  With modern advances in science, more refined medications will probably make it even safer to treat your migraines when you are pregnant.

       

      Have a wonderful, pain free day!

       

      Kay

       

       

    • Anonymous
      Bonnie
      May. 26, 2009

      I am sorry but I don't agree with the Compazine.  The FDA has listed precautions for this drug and pregnant women.  I speak from experience, it caused me to miscarry.  The fetus died the exact day it was administered and I had severe side effects, muscle tremors, dry mouth and anxiety.  So not all drugs work the same for everyone.

  • jazmc
    Oct. 12, 2007

    Hey Sarah, I already posted most of this reply to you in response to your comment on my own SharePost, but I really think the key for you is finding a Neurologist or specialist who will work with your OB, and finding a progressive OB.  Find someone progressive who is willing to look at the risk vs. the benefits of you being on some medications during pregnancy. ...

    RHMLucky777

    Read More

    Hey Sarah, I already posted most of this reply to you in response to your comment on my own SharePost, but I really think the key for you is finding a Neurologist or specialist who will work with your OB, and finding a progressive OB.  Find someone progressive who is willing to look at the risk vs. the benefits of you being on some medications during pregnancy.  Then, if you are one of the lucky ones who seem to have fewer or no migraines during pregnancy, you can taper off all meds for most of your pregnancy.  This is what I plan to do once I see how pregnancy affects my head.

     

    I saw a high risk OB, and that really eased my concerns over the medications I might need for prevention during pregnancy.  While it's true that most preventive meds are in pregnancy category C, meaning there isn't enough information to say for sure if there are risks, many docs have treated women who are on certain meds without problems and would feel more comfortable treating you in the same way.  I have talked to other migraineurs who are trying to become pregnant, and they have been told something similar by their doctors, that the benefits of being on the medications outweigh the risks.  Afterall, it isn't really healthy to be in pain and distress for your entire pregnancy either.  This isn't medical advice, obviously, but I think the key is finding the most knowledgeable docs you can, and then deciding what risks if any, you might be willing to take, and find ways to minimize any risks with your choice of preventives and abortives or rescue meds during the pregnancy. 

     

    I hope everything works out.  Feel free to contact me anytime you have questions about my personal experience or need to vent a little about the whole process.

     

    Julie aka, JazMc

    • msmigraine
      Oct. 13, 2007

      Thank you so much for all the good information and inspiration....There is hope!!

       

      Sarah

  • dts547
    Oct. 12, 2007

    I started having migraines at age 12, when I started birth control pills at age 20 they increased to 2-3per day!  The first of my four babies was a honeymoon baby, and I can tell you that my headaches were virtually none while pregnant.

    I have been a labor and delivery nurse for 20 years now.  I am not a MD, certainly not a neurologist.  In my...

    RHMLucky777

    Read More

    I started having migraines at age 12, when I started birth control pills at age 20 they increased to 2-3per day!  The first of my four babies was a honeymoon baby, and I can tell you that my headaches were virtually none while pregnant.

    I have been a labor and delivery nurse for 20 years now.  I am not a MD, certainly not a neurologist.  In my experience I have cared for many women with history of migraines who were on Imitrex and other triptans before pregnancy.  The vast majority have not reported migraines during pregnancy. 

    Even those who have had migraines during the pregnancy have reported very few (less than 1 per month) and decreased intensity.  Depending on the stage of pregnancy there are options beside tylenol and codeine.  There are times when NSAIDs are safe, and for more severe headache most find fioricet effective. 

    I would also like to point out that my headaches continued to be mild and few when I was breastfeeding (whick I only did for the last two).

    This is not a formal study but because of my own history, I have always been very curious with my patients that report history of migraine.

    Hope this is helpful and encouraging to you.

    • msmigraine
      Oct. 13, 2007

      I will definately have to ask my doc about fioricet.  My other problem is that he doesn't want me on any meds while trying to become pregnant.  What if it takes 6months to even get pregnant?  Then another 9 months added on to that...Could be hell.  Thanks for all the info.

       

      Sarah

  • Sherry
    Oct. 12, 2007
    I wish I knew. I have put off having a baby, which is beginning to look permanent. Lots of women have told me that most women don't have migraines while they are pregnant. But I have never been like most women, so I don't want to chance it. I am sure someone will reply with more answers. Maybe you should put this on the forum, you may get more replies....
    RHMLucky777
    Read More
    I wish I knew. I have put off having a baby, which is beginning to look permanent. Lots of women have told me that most women don't have migraines while they are pregnant. But I have never been like most women, so I don't want to chance it. I am sure someone will reply with more answers. Maybe you should put this on the forum, you may get more replies. I am really curious to see them.  Since we seem to be in the same boat, so to spreak, you can email me if you want to talk.
  • Anonymous
    Valerie
    Oct. 12, 2007

    Sarah:

     

    I'm a healthy 39 year old female who is trying desperately to come off vivactil for 4 years to try to have a baby.  I'm about 6 weeks away from my taper down.  I can only reduce the med by 1.25 mgs every 20-25 days.  I have anywhere for 10-15 migraines a month as well.  I hope someone responds with good feedback. ...

    RHMLucky777

    Read More

    Sarah:

     

    I'm a healthy 39 year old female who is trying desperately to come off vivactil for 4 years to try to have a baby.  I'm about 6 weeks away from my taper down.  I can only reduce the med by 1.25 mgs every 20-25 days.  I have anywhere for 10-15 migraines a month as well.  I hope someone responds with good feedback.  From what I'm told there is nothing you can do.  Please let me know if you get some good repsonses.

  • Nancy Harris Bonk
    Oct. 12, 2007

    at this time there is no drug that is really "safe" to take for Migraine disease while pregnant that I know of. Even the use of tylenol with codeine is a concern for some doctors.

    It is a difficult decision. Some women during pregnancy experience fewer Migraine attacks and others have more. Of course there is no way to tell who those women are...

    RHMLucky777

    Read More

    at this time there is no drug that is really "safe" to take for Migraine disease while pregnant that I know of. Even the use of tylenol with codeine is a concern for some doctors.

    It is a difficult decision. Some women during pregnancy experience fewer Migraine attacks and others have more. Of course there is no way to tell who those women are Sad.

    I would talk to your doctors and consult a Migraine specialist for more help. I'm sorry I don't have better news for you..

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