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Risk Factors Associated with Cephalalgia during Pregnancy and Postpartum in a Sample of Greek Women

DOI: 10.4236/ojmp.2023.122005, PP. 82-93

Keywords: Cephalalgia, Pregnancy, Postpartum, EPDS, WAST

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Abstract:

Background: The two most common types of cephalalgia in women are migraine and tension-type cephalalgia. Cephalalgia is associated with an increased risk of developing pregnancy complications or psychological difficulties. Objectives: To investigate the prevalence and the characteristics of maternal cephalalgia during pregnancy and early postpartum and identify associated risk factors. Study Design: This study was conducted between May 2012 and August 2012. The study population comprised 170 mothers. The interviews were conducted in a postnatal ward during the first postpartum week and information on the characteristics of maternal cephalalgia before and during pregnancy was collected. Data regarding previous history of cephalalgia, pregnancy and postpartum health history, as well as the mode of delivery were also recorded. Mothers were given a cephalalgia diary in order to record medication use, as well as cephalalgia attack frequency, severity (5-level scale) and duration. The following surveys were administered: Edinburgh Postnatal Depression Scale (EPDS), Mediterranean Diet Score (Medi Score), International Physical Activity Questionnaire (IPAQ) and Women Abuse Screening Tool (WAST) within the first week postpartum. Statistical analyses were performed using SPSS 19. The level of statistical significance was set at p < 0.05. Results: Maternal self-reported cephalalgia in pregnancy and early postpartum was significantly associated with scores in EPDS (depressive symptoms) (p = 0.005), hypertension (p < 0.004), thyroid pathology (p < 0.003), IVF (p < 0.006) and psychological abuse (p < 0.001). Mothers with a previous history of cephalalgia (51.8%) did not experience any worsening or even experience improvement of symptoms during pregnancy or early postpartum. A significant proportion of pregnant women who did experience cephalalgia used paracetamol/acetaminophen (56.5%), aspirin (32.3%), or triptans (6.5%), while 36.8% did not use any medication. Conclusion: Pregnancy and early postpartum is a graceful period in women with cephalalgia. However, cephalalgia is associated with an increased risk of developing pregnancy complications or psychological difficulties. Further studies should elucidate the safety and recommended use of cephalalgia medication during pregnancy and breastfeeding.

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