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Severe headaches during pregnancy

If you have a severe headache or a headache with any of the following symptoms​, contact your midwife or GP immediately:

  • Pronounced swelling of your hands, feet, ankles, neck or face, particularly if sudden.
  • Flashing lights in your eyes or blurred vision.
  • You have been recently diagnosed with high blood pressure.

Headaches are quite common in pregnancy. The causes include:

  • hormonal changes
  • stress
  • dehydration
  • caffeine withdrawal.

Pre-eclampsia symptoms

A headache can be a sign of pre-eclampsia, especially if you have other symptoms.

These include:

  • blurred vision
  • spots or flashing lights across your vision
  • upper tummy pain
  • nausea
  • vomiting
  • swelling of hands, feet, ankles, neck or face

page last reviewed: 26/03/2018
next review due: 26/03/2021