Over a year before I got pregnant I was diagnosed with Occiptal Headaches (brought on by Occiptal Neuralgia). It's...not pleasant. They're headaches that start off like you're being electrocuted at the base of your skull. It was managed very well with muscle relaxers and chiropractic therapy. But of course I am no longer on the muscle relaxers--being 34 weeks along and all. Fortunately though I have not had a full-blown headache. I've had spasms of them but I've been trying preventative measures as best I can--yoga, extensive massaging and relaxation. Each person who has these headaches have different triggers. Mine are brought on by hard physical exertion. My biggest worry is that I'll be in the throws of labor and, what with the contractions, the muscles at the base of my skull will start seezing up and my nerves will start firing off through my brain, causing a relapse of my occipital headaches. Like I said, I have not had a re-occurance of these headaches in over a year and a half. I don't really have any mental setbacks about giving birth naturally accept this one thing. I just can't help but fear that the contractions in labor will trigger them off again. I've been looking for relaxtion cd's for the actual process of giving birth, but can't really find any that seem right. I'm focused on the need to relax my body. I don't really think I'll need a lot of the music tracks or anything. I don't have the money for the hypnobabies cd's. So I'm just wondering if anyone has any suggestions on what may work best? Has anyone else ever had these headaches and been through natural childbirth?
I have glossopharyngeal neuralgia that sometimes becomes very awful headaches in my neck, so I sympathize with your symptoms. Mine is related to my nerve being in the wrong location against my neck. A very skilled massage therapist (who was trained and experienced in many disciplines including cranio sacral therapy, and very knowledgeable about anatomy) was able to show me how to move the nerve from inside my mouth and halt a persistent attack. (I was going to her for another issue, but happened to mention this, and she showed me how to manipulate the nerve.)
Labor is a totally different kind of physical exertion than anything else I've ever done.
And if conditions are right (relaxed, dimly lit setting), your body will be producing hormones that may protect you from severe headache.
I had some physical conditions that I was afraid would affect my ability to handle labor, and they turned out to be total non-issues for me. I was in a completely state than what I normally would experience.
I would suggest Belleruth Naparstek's guided imagery sessions. You can find her pregnancy and childbirth mp3s for free online, but the other ones for pain and stress relief are very affordable. Another affordable option is HypnosisDownloads.com. I have used various programs from both of these sources to good effect.
I hope others have some good ideas!
Mama to a bilingual (Arabic/English) and cuddly 3 year old, and planning another peaceful homebirth in June.