Bad Headaches for Mom Equal Colicky Baby

Study finds that a mom's migraines boost an infant's chances of suffering from colic.


When your colicky baby is crying endlessly, we're sure that means a splitting headache for you as a mom. But a 2012 found that mom's migraines—which are a painful fact of life for many people—may actually be the reason for her baby's colic, according to a report on

The study from researchers at the University of California, San Francisco, shows that "mothers who suffer migraines are more than twice as likely to have babies with colic," reported.

Fit Pregnancy experts cite colic as excessive crying in a healthy infant. In our article on how to cope with colic, experts say that some studies have linked colic to stomach issues, such as acid reflux or food allergies. Other experts cite out-of-sync levels of serotonin and melatonin, which regulate mood and sleep. However, there has never been an absolute link between any of these conditions and the excessive crying.

Researchers compared the risk of colic in infants among 154 moms and their babies at a child's 2-month-old well-child visit in San Francisco. In the study's findings, they found that "nearly 29 percent of babies whose mothers had a history of migraines had colic compared with 11 percent of those whose mothers didn't have migraines," according to the article.

Our Ask the Labor Nurse blogger reminds us that headaches are one of the most common but underpublicized symptoms of pregnancy. She calls it "Mother Nature's way of warning moms."

When you're pregnant, you can help prevent migraines by avoiding triggers such as alcohol or foods with nitrates in them. It's also important that you treat your migraines safely when you've got a baby on board.

As for the colic, take heart: Read Dr. Harvey Karp's 5 ways to run on your infant's calming reflex. If your baby isn't easily comforted by these traditional soothing techniques, then it may not be colic. See Five Truths About Colic for some insights into this mysterious condition.

--Maria Vega is Fit Pregnancy magazine's former copy editor.