Postpartum headaches


You are elated and very happy that you will soon give birth to your beautiful angel. The D-Day arrives and you are all set to meet your young one for whom you have seen a lot of dreams and prepared a lot. You go through the tough and tiring process of delivery and are also emotionally drained and yearn to meet your young one. But, among all these things the last thing that you want is a severe headache. But, to our surprise headaches after the process of delivery is a very common thing. A lot of women who suffer from postpartum headaches and postpartum migraine. And let us know why these postpartum headaches happen.

postpartum headaches
postpartum headaches image source

Causes of Postpartum headaches

There are many reasons why you get postpartum headaches. Post delivery exertion, Hormonal imbalance, lack of sleep, stress, sudden weight loss post delivery, caffeine withdrawal, use of regional anesthesia for c-section, preeclampsia post pregnancy and many more. If you experience headache during 6 weeks post delivery than your doctor will treat it as postpartum headache and prescribe meds for it or do a detailed investigation if needed. 

Types of postpartum headaches

There are many types of postpartum headaches that a mother can suffer from. Some types of headaches are more common than other types. Most common headaches are of these types

  • Tension headaches
  • Headaches due to migraine
  • Headaches due to spinal anesthesia.

These headaches are divided into two main categories. These are 

  • Primary Headaches
  • Secondary Headaches

Primary headaches

The primary headaches comprise of the following two main types of headaches

  • Tension headaches
  • Migraine headaches

Tension Headaches

Tension headache is the most common type, where your head aches throughout on both sides and you get a tightening feeling of your nerves in your head. These types of headaches are mainly due to fatigue, dehydration, lack of sleep, adjusting into the new routine according to the baby, hormonal changes after pregnancy and other environmental factors. 

Migraine Headaches

It is believed that one in four women will suffer from Migraine headache postpartum. If not immediately, then in following weeks after delivery. Migraine headaches give a severe throbbing pain on one side of your head. They may also lead to uneasiness nausea and vomiting.  It also causes sensitivity to light and sound and you may not be able to function for hours or days.

Secondary headaches

There are many types of secondary postpartum headaches. These secondary headaches include the following

  • Headache due to regional anesthesia
  • Preeclampsia headache

Headache due to regional anesthesia

The postdural puncture headache is one of the side effects of regional spinal anesthesia during a c-section. There are chances that the injection has accidentally punctured your dura and hence it will give you post dural puncture headache. It happens due to the leakage of spinal fluid outside the nerves. You may also go through other symptoms like nausea, vomiting, neck stiffness and other changes. 

Preeclampsia headache

Preeclampsia is a very serious condition that needs immediate medical attention. It can occur during pregnancy and after childbirth also. Preeclampsia is due to high blood pressure and protein in urine. 

These headaches occur on both sides of the head, can pulse and worsen with physical activity. There are also other side effects of preeclampsia which your doctor will be able to tell you more about it. 

A lot of rest, caffeine and drinking lots of water can help in the reduction of this headache.

Consulting your medical practitioner

No matter how minor is your headache, it is better that you consult your medical practitioner postpartum. Postpartum headaches are relatively common. But, instead of taking the medicines on your own, it is better that you talk to your gynecologist. The doctor may do further investigation in order to rule out the causes of headache. You should approach your doctor if you have the following symptoms

  • Severe headaches
  • Headaches with nausea, vomiting, fever
  • Headache after physical activity
  • You could not sleep or wake up from sleep due to headache.
  • Headache and stiffness in neck

The doctor will conduct further tests and rule out the underlying cause. So, these are the reasons for postpartum headaches. Postpartum headaches are surprisingly more common than thought about.


Himali Parikh
Himali is Parenting Blogger and founder of She had done M.S in Molecular biology from University of New Haven (US) and was working with various Pharma companies. She had started this motherhood and baby care blog for helping other mothers.

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