Health Day - ONLINE EDITION

Most Pregnant Women Treated for Migraines Able to Deliver Vaginally

Three-fourths of women in small, early study had full-term deliveries

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FRIDAY, June 28 (HealthDay News) -- Most pregnant women who were hospitalized and treated for acute severe migraines had vaginal births of full-term babies, a small new study finds.

Nearly 76 percent of the patients had full-term vaginal deliveries and about 17 percent had preterm deliveries. The rate of preterm delivery in the general population is about 11 percent. Follow-up was not possible for about 7 percent of the patients.

Participants included 29 patients who were an average of 27.5 weeks pregnant when they were treated in a hospital for migraines. Treatments included: acetaminophen (Tylenol) by mouth (79 percent); intravenous metoclopramide (59 percent); a combination of the two (55 percent); oral or IV narcotic (34 percent); acetaminophen, butalbital and caffeine (24 percent); and IV magnesium sulfate (7 percent).

Ten percent of patients needed more pain relief and were treated with peripheral nerve blocks.

The study was scheduled for presentation Monday at the International Headache Congress, in Boston. The data and conclusions should be viewed as preliminary until published in a peer-reviewed journal.

"Acute migraine during pregnancy is a challenging condition for physicians to treat due to fears of harming the fetus and limited clinical research in the area," Dr. Matthew Robbins, of the Montefiore Headache Center in New York City, said in a center news release.

"While these data show a positive result for most women treated for acute severe migraine, more research is needed to better understand the relationship between migraine, available treatments during pregnancy and birth outcomes," he added.

More information

The U.S. Office on Women's Health has more about migraines.

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