Contemporary management of migrainous disorders in pregnancy

Stephen A. Contag, Cheryl Bushnell

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

16 Scopus citations


Purpose Of Review: Migraine is a frequent event among women of reproductive age. It is difficult to predict the course and severity of disease that migraineurs will endure during pregnancy. Treatment is often compromised during pregnancy because of concerns regarding pharmacotherapy and fetal well being. Recent Findings: The majority of women with migraine during pregnancy will not require ongoing pharmacotherapy or prophylaxis. Nonpharmacologic strategies should be the first-line treatment of migraines. For severe migraines, recent cohort studies documenting the use of triptans for treatment during pregnancy have shown no increase in adverse pregnancy and fetal outcomes above the average rate. High-dose valproate is the only antiepileptic drug available for migraine prophylaxis that has been shown to cause long-term cognitive effects in infants exposed during gestation. Congenital syndromes have been described for most of the older antiepileptic drugs but less so for many of the newer drugs. These newer medications appear to have improved safety profiles for use in pregnancy but there is still information lacking from larger patient cohorts and longitudinal studies of neurodevelopmental outcomes. There is also evidence to support use of beta-blockers and calcium-channel blockers for migraine prevention during pregnancy. Summary: For those patients who develop debilitating migraine or whose migraines interfere with activities of daily living, there are several options for treatment and headache prevention that have a low likelihood of compromising fetal well being.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)437-445
Number of pages9
JournalCurrent Opinion in Obstetrics and Gynecology
Issue number6
StatePublished - Dec 2010


  • beta-blockers and antiepileptic drugs
  • migraine
  • pregnancy
  • prophylaxis
  • triptans


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