According to Science Daily, women have a greater frequency of migraines throughout their reproductive years than males. However, the link between migraines and poor pregnancy outcomes has received little attention. Women are more prone to migraines than males in general, especially during childbearing years. However, there has been little research into the relationship between migraines and lousy birth outcomes.
Researchers from Brigham and Women’s Hospital, an early member of the Mass General Brigham healthcare system, analyzed the Nurses’ Health Study II data to see if migraines are associated with an increased risk of pregnancy complications.
Migraine has been associated with preterm birth, high blood pressure during pregnancy, and preeclampsia in pregnant women. “Preterm delivery and hypertension issues are some of the primary causes of mother and child morbidity and death,” said Dr. Alexandra Purdue-Smithe, senior research associate in the Department of Medicine at Brigham and Women’s Hospital clinical instructor in medicine at Harvard Medical School.
“Our findings suggest that maternal migraine history is a significant risk factor for these issues and may help identify women who might benefit.” Women are two to three times as likely as males to suffer from migraines between 18 and 44. Aura, visual anomalies that arise before the beginning of the headache and are usually associated with migraines, affects around 5.5% of the population.
In the past, poor pregnancy outcomes and migraine, particularly migraine with aura, were linked to an increased risk of coronary heart disease and ischemic stroke in women. Because of the exact biological causes, these factors may raise the probability of pregnancy problems. Migraine has been proposed as a possible risk factor for pregnancy complications, although only a few small or retrospective studies have looked at the topic thus far.
Purdue-Smithe and colleagues studied 35,550 pregnancies from the significant perspective of Nurses’ Health Study II, which included 19,694 US nurses. The incidence of migraine phenotypes (migraine with and without aura) and self-reported pregnancy outcomes was investigated in women who reported migraines recognized by a physician before pregnancy.
Researchers were able to control for potential confounding factors such as body mass index, chronic hypertension, and smoking due to the large size of the study group and the availability of data on other health and behavioral characteristics.
Pregnancy-related problems increased by up to 40% among women who experienced migraines before becoming pregnant, including the probability of premature birth (17%), hypertension (28%), and preeclampsia (40%). Aura migraine sufferers are more prone to develop preeclampsia than those who do not. Migraine was not linked to any recognized pregnancy complications, such as low birth weight or gestational diabetes.
Migraine sufferers who used aspirin regularly (more than twice weekly) before becoming pregnant had a 45 percent decreased risk of delivering a preterm baby. The US Preventive Services Task Force now advises women at high risk of preeclampsia or have more than one intermediate risk factor for preeclampsia to take low-dose aspirin throughout pregnancy.
According to research, pregnant women who take modest doses of aspirin have a lower risk of preterm birth. On the other hand, Purdue-Smithe points out that taking aspirin during pregnancy is not officially suggested for migraine prevention.
“Women with migraines who took aspirin regularly before becoming pregnant had a lower risk of having a baby prematurely; however, due to the observational nature of our study and the lack of complete aspirin dosage information in the cohort, additional clinical investigations will be required to address this matter definitively.”