Unique Populations with Episodic Migraine: Pregnant and Lactating Women

Curr Pain Headache Rep. 2018 Oct 5;22(12):80. doi: 10.1007/s11916-018-0737-x.


Purpose of review: Migraine is a disabling and prevalent neurological disease, commonly affecting women during their reproductive years. It is crucial for providers to be able to adequately counsel women who are pregnant, planning pregnancy, or nursing, regarding preventive and abortive treatment options for episodic migraine. This review will discuss (1) the expected course of migraine during pregnancy and the post-partum period, (2) recommended preventive therapies for migraine during pregnancy and lactation, and (3) recommended abortive medications for migraine during pregnancy and lactation.

Recent findings: Recent research has indicated safety for triptan use during pregnancy and ibuprofen use during the first trimester of pregnancy. Considerations for use of emerging migraine-preventive treatment, such as non-invasive neurostimulators, are discussed. For clinical decision-making and patient counseling, it is important to understand both the limitations in determining teratogenic effects in humans and the principles affecting medication transmission from mother to breast milk.

Keywords: Drug safety; Lactation; Migraine; Pregnancy; Teratogenicity.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Drug-Related Side Effects and Adverse Reactions / epidemiology
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Lactation*
  • Migraine Disorders / drug therapy
  • Migraine Disorders / epidemiology*
  • Pregnancy
  • Pregnancy Complications / epidemiology*
  • Pregnancy Complications / therapy
  • Prevalence
  • Teratogens / pharmacokinetics


  • Teratogens