New research conducted at Montefiore Health System concludes that women who suffer severe migraine attacks during pregnancy may be at elevated risk for complications during labor and delivery. These include premature delivery, preeclampsia, and low birth weight. The risk escalates with age, with women over age 35 being 7 times more likely to suffer these complications. Study author Matthew S. Robbins, MD, commented “The results of this study were of particular interest because more than half of the pregnant women with migraine experienced some type of adverse birth outcome, suggesting that these pregnancies should be considered high risk.” The research findings are scheduled to be presented next month at the annual meeting of the American Academy of Neurology.
The study involved a review of 5 years of data on 90 women who sought emergency treatment for migraine during their pregnancies. Key findings included: 54% of migraine sufferers experienced at least one pregnancy related complication; 30% had a preterm delivery versus just 10% of the general population; and similarly higher proportions developed preeclampsia and/or delivered low birth weight babies. Most of the migraine patients were treated with a combination of oral and intravenous medications, and it is not clear how or whether these affected the study outcomes. A news story about the study may be read here.