Migraine, depression and pregnancy - HELP!

by Catherine

I'm 37 years old and 38 weeks pregnant! I've suffered migraines since puberty - variable in frequency and severity but for the past few years around 10/month, with visual aura. I've seen countless experts and tried so many medications - the only one that really helped was Venlafaxine (an SNRI antidepressant) but this has side effects. I've also noticed some help with drinking LOADS of water and a couple of dietary changes. I've also suffered on and off with anxiety, depression, insomnia and irritability (so many of your questionnaire items were really strangely familiar!!). Symptoms tend to be worse (but not exclusively) premenstrually.

During my second and third trimesters my mood and migraines have never been so good. In fact I've felt the best I can remember for years! Calm, happy, sleeping well and almost no migraines (tiny bits of aura which go in minutes, no headaches). Just after 37 weeks pregnant all my symptoms have returned and I'm getting migraines daily/2x daily. I'm presuming my prog levels are starting to fall (or are relatively low compared to estrogen rising) and that may be mucking up serotonin too. I feel so desperate and depressed at the thought of my mood and migraines returning to what they were. Clearly I can't be pregnant for the rest of my life and I so want to focus on the new arrival very soon...

So I bought some Serenity cream just before I fell pregnant (it took us over a year) and was thinking about starting to use it now. Should I during pregnancy? Will it work? How much should I use? I also have some serotonin supplements I haven't yet tried but these aren't allowed during pregnancy.

Any help and advice would be so very gratefully received!

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Mar 02, 2011
Migraine, depression and pregnancy - HELP!
by: Wray

Hi Catherine Wonderful you're pregnant! But it sounds as if you've been short of progesterone since puberty, all the symptoms you've given point to it. Progesterone is excellent for migraines, as evidenced by your lack during the latter part of pregnancy. And please see these papers here, here, here, here and here. For anxiety, depression, insomnia and irritability too, see our page on Anxiety for more info. Something is disturbing the balance between the two hormones, normally this is stress which drops progesterone sharply. But you don't sound in the least stressed, until now. It could be the progesterone is dropping, which is does prior to birth. I'm so behind in queries you could have had the child by now. If still pregnant, it is safe to use, see our page on Pregnancy. If you've had the child and the migraines have come back, please consider the progesterone. For more info please see our page on How to use progesterone cream. Please make sure you use sufficient, I recommend 100-200mg/day. If too low it merely worsens symptoms which you don't need, see this thread here. And please have a vitamin D test done, a low level is also implicated in migraines, see here, here here. Living in the UK your levels are probably too low, for more info see the Vitamin D council and GrassrootsHealth websites. Take care Wray

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