Pregnant women with migraine have an increased risk of miscarriage, caesarean sections and giving birth to a child with low birth weight, a study has found. Researchers at Aarhus University in Denmark worked with 22,000 pregnant women with migraine. They were compared with an approximately 10 times larger group of pregnant women without known migraine.
The study, published in the journal Headache, suggests that the risk of caesarean sections is between 15-25 per cent higher for pregnant women with migraine compared with pregnant women without migraine. Around 20 per cent of all births in Denmark are by caesarean section.
The researchers have also used the same data to deduce that migraine medication possibly prevents some of the complications. "The study was not specifically designed to examine this aspect. However, we show that the risk of complications generally was lower for pregnant women with migraine who took medication when compared with the pregnant women with migraines who were not treated," said Nils Skajaa of Aarhus University.
"This also indicates that the migraine medication isn't the cause of the complications, but rather the migraine itself. This is important knowledge for pregnant women with migraines," Skajaa added.
Migraines are relatively common and affect twice as many women as men. The actual cause remains unknown, but previous research suggests that migraines may be triggered by stress, fatigue, or hormonal changes such as pregnancy.