Conference Coverage

Maternal migraine is associated with infant colic


 

EXPERT ANALYSIS FROM AHS 2019

Mothers with migraine are more likely to have babies with colic, according to research presented at the annual meeting of the American Headache Society. Fathers with migraine are not more likely to have children with colic, however. These findings may have implications for the care of mothers with migraine and their children, said Amy Gelfand, MD, associate professor of neurology at the University of California, San Francisco.

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Smaller studies have suggested associations between migraine and colic. To examine this relationship in a large, national sample, Dr. Gelfand and her research colleagues conducted a cross-sectional survey of biological parents of 4- to 8-week-olds in the United States. The researchers analyzed data from 1,419 participants – 827 mothers and 592 fathers – who completed online surveys in 2017 and 2018.

Parents provided information about their and their infants’ health. The investigators identified migraineurs using modified International Classification of Headache Disorders 3rd edition criteria and determined infant colic by response to the question, “Has your baby cried for at least 3 hours on at least 3 days in the last week?”

In all, 33.5% of the mothers had migraine or probable migraine, and 20.8% of the fathers had migraine or probable migraine. Maternal migraine was associated with increased odds of infant colic (odds ratio, 1.7). Among mothers with migraine and headache frequency of 15 or more days per month, the likelihood of having an infant with colic was even greater (OR, 2.5).

“The cause of colic is unknown, yet colic is common, and these frequent bouts of intense crying or fussiness can be particularly frustrating for parents, creating family stress and anxiety,” Dr. Gelfand said in a news release. “New moms who are armed with knowledge of the connection between their own history of migraine and infant colic can be better prepared for these often difficult first months of a baby and new mother’s journey.”

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