Thursday, June 18, 2009

Migraines in Pregnancy Increase Risk of Stroke, Preeclampsia

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The shift in hormones that results from pregnancy reduces migraine frequency among many women. As many as 42 to 98% of migraineurs experience fewer migraines during pregnancy. However, worsening migraines or a new appearance of migraines during pregnancy can signal the potential for serious problems.

Pregnant women generally have a 3 to 13 times greater risk of stroke than women in the general population. According to a study published in the British Medical Journal, women who experience migraines during pregnancy, however, have a 17 times greater risk of stroke. Furthermore, the BMJ study found that women who have migraines before, during and after pregnancy have twice the risk of experiencing preeclampsia (a term for high blood pressure during pregnancy).

Researchers think these increased risks may be due to mutations in the genes that regulate blood clotting. Blood clots can form in the lungs and veins as a result of abnormal clotting. These clots can interrupt blood flow to the brain and lead to a stroke.

Consequently it is very important to make sure your doctors are aware of your history of migraines if you are pregnant. Abnormal clotting can be treated with blood thinners and women can be closely monitored for preeclampsia to reduce the risk of complications.

Migraines, Pregnancy and Stroke
Preeclampsia -

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DISCLAIMER: Nothing on this site constitutes medical or legal advice. I am a patient who is engaged and educated and enjoys sharing my experiences and news about migraines, pain and depression. Please consult your own health care providers for advice on your unique situation.