UMEM Educational Pearls

Category: Obstetrics & Gynecology

Title: PostPartum Headaches

Keywords: postpartum, headache (PubMed Search)

Posted: 7/25/2009 by Michael Bond, MD (Updated: 7/26/2009)
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Postpartum Headaches:

  • Occurs in up to 40% of woman during the first week after delivery.
  • Though thoughts of Sheehan's syndrome (pituitary infarction), and SAH might come to mind the most common causes are due to migranes and tension headcaches.
  • About 5% are spinal  (postdural) headaches due to a persistant CSF leak from spinal anesthesia or a complication of their epidural catheters.
  • Rare causes include embolic stroke, carotid and vertebral artery dissections, SAH, Central Venous Sinus Thrombosis and Sheehan syndrome.
  • Most headaches can be treated the same as any other person.
  • Make sure you inquire about breast feeding and ensure the medications you are giving will not be excreted into the breast milk. 
  • If your patient has signs of hypopituitarism an MRI scan will be needed to make the diagnosis of Sheehan syndrome.