Migraine headaches are a signal of abnormal physiology. In the non-pregnant state, in our experience, migraines are caused by three primary things. These things are not recognized by the medical system as a whole.
- Estrogen deficiency or rapid drops in estrogen. In pregnancy estrogen levels are high and stable.
- Stress can cause migraines but is likely the least common reason.
- Hypoglycemia or rapidly falling and low blood sugar produces life-threatening stress.
The third and most common cause of migraines in pregnancy is hypoglycemia (rapidly falling and low blood sugar producing a life-threatening stress). In pregnancy, insulin resistance is dramatically increased. With elevated insulin levels, hypoglycemia is common. For patients at risk of migraines, this would be a huge trigger. With recurrent hypoglycemia, a life-threatening stress signal is sent to the brain, and a stress response is produced.
It’s not hard, then, to realize that the mothers and babies would have significant health problems produced by the stress responses. Pursuing a low carbohydrate high fat diet prevents hypoglycemia and eliminates stress resulting in the best overall pregnancy outcomes for mother and baby.
Michael D. Fox, MD
Advanced Reproductive Specialists
Jacksonville Center For Reproductive Medicine