Breastfeeding and Migraine Medications: Making Safe Choices

Breastfeeding and Migraine Medications: Making Safe Choices


Breastfeeding is not only beneficial for the baby but also for the mother. It helps in establishing a strong bond, provides essential nutrients, and offers immunity against diseases. However, breastfeeding mothers may face challenges when it comes to managing migraines. In this article, we will discuss how to make safe choices regarding migraine medications while breastfeeding.

Understanding Migraine Medications

Migraine medications can be categorized into two types: acute medications and preventive medications. Acute medications are taken during a migraine attack to relieve symptoms, while preventive medications are used to reduce the frequency and severity of migraine attacks.

Different Types of Migraine Medications

Acute Medications

Acute medications are designed to provide relief during a migraine attack. Some commonly used acute medications include:

  • Triptans: These medications help relieve pain and other symptoms associated with migraines. Examples include sumatriptan and rizatriptan.
  • NSAIDs (Non-Steroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drugs): NSAIDs such as ibuprofen and naproxen sodium can reduce pain and inflammation during a migraine attack.
  • Analgesics: These pain relievers, such as acetaminophen, can help alleviate mild to moderate migraines.

Preventive Medications

Preventive medications are taken regularly to reduce the frequency and severity of migraine attacks. Some commonly used preventive medications include:

  • Beta blockers: Medications like propranolol can help prevent migraines by reducing blood pressure and heart rate.
  • Anticonvulsants: Certain anticonvulsant medications, like topiramate, are effective in preventing migraines.

Natural Remedies and Alternative Therapies

In addition to conventional medications, some natural remedies and alternative therapies, such as acupuncture and herbal supplements, may also be used to manage migraines. However, it is crucial to consult a healthcare professional before using any alternative therapies.

The Safety of Migraine Medications While Breastfeeding

When it comes to using migraine medications while breastfeeding, it is important to consult healthcare professionals. They can provide guidance based on the specific medications being considered and the individual’s unique circumstances.

The Importance of Consulting Healthcare Professionals

Discussing Migraine Management with the Healthcare Team

It is essential to communicate with the healthcare team about your migraines, including the frequency, severity, and impact on your daily life. This helps them understand your condition better and provide appropriate advice.

Knowledge about Specific Medications Being Considered

Knowing about the specific migraine medications being considered is crucial. Different medications may have varying levels of safety during breastfeeding. Discussing these medications with healthcare professionals can help determine if they are safe for use or if alternative options should be explored.

Identifying Medications that are Safe During Breastfeeding

Low-risk Medications for Acute Migraine

There are some acute migraine medications that are considered low-risk for breastfeeding mothers, such as:

  • NSAIDs (Non-Steroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drugs) like ibuprofen and naproxen sodium
  • Specific triptans that are approved for use during breastfeeding, such as sumatriptan and rizatriptan

Medications to Avoid During Breastfeeding

Some medications should generally be avoided during breastfeeding due to potential risks. These may include certain preventive medications like beta blockers and anticonvulsants. However, individual circumstances may vary, and healthcare professionals can provide specific recommendations based on the situation.

Weighing the Benefits and Risks

Assessing the Severity of Migraine Attacks

When considering migraine medications, it is crucial to assess the severity of migraine attacks. If the migraines are debilitating and significantly impact daily functioning, the benefits of using medications may outweigh the potential risks to breastfeeding.

Evaluating the Impact on Breastfeeding and Baby’s Health

It is also important to evaluate the potential impact of medications on breastfeeding and the baby’s health. Considering the age of the baby, the frequency of breastfeeding, and the potential transfer of medication through breast milk can help make informed decisions.

Managing Migraines While Breastfeeding

In addition to medication, there are other strategies that can help manage migraines while breastfeeding.

Non-medication Strategies

Identifying Triggers and Avoiding Them

Keeping a migraine diary can help identify triggers that may be causing or exacerbating migraines. Common triggers include stress, lack of sleep, certain foods, and hormonal changes. Avoiding these triggers or finding ways to manage them can help reduce the frequency of migraines.

Practicing Relaxation Techniques

Relaxation techniques such as deep breathing exercises, meditation, and yoga can help manage stress and promote overall well-being, potentially reducing the occurrence of migraines.

Maintaining a Healthy Lifestyle

Adopting a healthy lifestyle, including regular exercise, balanced nutrition, and adequate hydration, can contribute to reducing the frequency and severity of migraines.

Safe Medication Options

Low-risk Acute Medications

For acute migraine relief, breastfeeding mothers can consider using low-risk medications such as:

  • NSAIDs (Non-Steroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drugs) like ibuprofen and naproxen sodium
  • Specific triptans that are approved for use during breastfeeding, such as sumatriptan and rizatriptan

Preventive Medications During Breastfeeding

When it comes to preventive medications, some options that are generally considered safe during breastfeeding include:

  • Beta blockers like propranolol
  • Calcium channel blockers

Natural Remedies and Alternative Therapies

Some natural remedies and alternative therapies, such as acupuncture and herbal supplements, may offer relief for migraines. However, it is crucial to consult with a healthcare professional before using any alternative therapies during breastfeeding.

Communicating with Your Healthcare Provider

Open and effective communication with your healthcare provider is vital in managing migraines while breastfeeding.

Discussing Migraine Symptoms and Frequency

Make sure to discuss your migraine symptoms, their frequency, and any changes in their pattern with your healthcare provider. This information helps them in making informed decisions about your treatment plan.

Sharing Concerns and Considerations about Breastfeeding

If you have concerns or specific considerations about breastfeeding, share them with your healthcare provider. They can provide guidance based on your individual circumstances and help you make the best decisions for both your and your baby’s health.

Collaborating to Find the Best Treatment Plan

Collaborate with your healthcare provider to find a treatment plan that is safe and effective for managing migraines while breastfeeding. They may suggest a combination of medication and non-medication strategies tailored to your specific needs.

Keeping Track of Migraine Symptoms and Medication’s Effectiveness

Tracking migraine symptoms and the effectiveness of medications is essential for effective management.

The Importance of Tracking Symptoms and Medication Intake

Identifying Patterns and Triggers

Keeping a record of your symptoms can help identify patterns and triggers that can be addressed in your treatment plan. It allows you and your healthcare provider to understand how migraines may be influenced by various factors.

Monitoring Treatment Effectiveness

By tracking your medication intake and the changes in your symptoms, you can assess the effectiveness of the prescribed treatment plan. This information helps healthcare professionals make necessary adjustments to optimize your management strategy.

Tools for Tracking Migraine Symptoms

Migraine Diaries and Apps

Migraine diaries or mobile applications specifically designed for tracking migraines can be helpful in keeping a comprehensive record of your symptoms, triggers, and medication usage. These tools make it easier to communicate with your healthcare provider and notice any patterns or trends.

Symptom Checklists

Symptom checklists can guide you in documenting the details of each migraine attack, including the date, time, duration, and severity. This information provides a comprehensive overview of your migraine history.

Communication with the Healthcare Provider

Regularly sharing your symptom reports and updates with your healthcare provider is crucial for effective management. They can analyze the data and make informed decisions about adjustments in your treatment plan.


Managing migraines while breastfeeding requires careful consideration of both the mother’s and baby’s well-being. By consulting healthcare professionals, identifying safe medications, utilizing non-medication strategies, communicating openly, and tracking symptoms, breastfeeding mothers can make informed decisions and find effective ways to manage their migraines without compromising their breastfeeding journey.

Making safe choices regarding migraine medications not only ensures the well-being of the breastfeeding mother but also promotes the health of the baby.

Jenny from Migraine Buddy

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