Epidural headaches are a rare phenomenon that can affect women during labor. Like most pregnancy symptoms, they’re a result of the rapid hormonal changes in your body as your baby grows, particularly in the first trimester.
According to Web MED, during a spinal tap, a needle is placed within the fluid-filled space that surrounds your spinal cord. This creates a passage for the spinal fluid to leak out, which changes the fluid pressure around your brain and spinal cord. If enough of the fluid leaks out, you may get a spinal headache.
The good news is that because spinal needles have improved over the years, spinal headaches post spinal tap are rare. The odds are usually low after an epidural, too.
If you do have a headache post-epidural, and it’s not going away, contact your healthcare provider. The may recommend the following.
- Hydration, which can help raise cerebral spinal fluid (CSF) pressure, most often administered through an IV.
- Caffeine: The doctor might tell you to drink some coffee or tea.
- Bed rest: You may have to take it easy for 24-48 hours.
- Medication: If other methods don’t work, your doctor could try drugs like gabapentin, hydrocortisone, or theophylline.
- Blood patch: If you get a spinal headache after a procedure, the anesthesiologist can create a patch with your blood to seal the leak. To put the blood patch in place, they’ll place a needle right next to the area where the anesthetic was injected. Next, they’ll take a small amount of your blood and inject it into the epidural space. The blood clots and seals the hole that caused the leak.
Just remember that like pregnancy, you’ve got a lot going on after you give birth. Headaches could be a result of exhaustion, hormones and medications delivered during labor. Fortunately, our friends over at HATCH have come to the rescue yet again with the new Head Peace, a cooling and compression wrap that offers fast relief from hormonal and good old-fashioned headaches alike. Designed with comfort and style in mind (hello, super soft jersey fabric) so you can take care of yourself and look good doing it, pregnant or not.
How to Use the HATCH Head Peace
Refrigerate gel pads for one hour or freeze for 30 minutes. We even went ahead and included an extra set for continuous relief.
Place gel pads into the wrap’s internal pockets.
Wrap it around your head, placing the gel packs over your temples, where headaches start.
Look in the mirror, realize how cute you look, take a selfie.
Like we said, if something doesn’t feel right, call your medical provider. “Headaches can be a sign that something is amiss and is always worth reporting,” Sam Huggins, a doula, says. “For more persistent hormonal migraines, they might encourage using over the counter or prescription medication.”