Women With Migraine More Likely to Have Babies With Colic

  • Child neurology
  • Headache
  • Migraine
  • Pain

At the American Headache Society’s 61st Annual Meeting July 11-14 in Philadephia, PA, Dr. Amy Gelfand, associate professor of neurology and director of the pediatric headache program at the University of California, San Francisco, received the 2019 Harold G. Wolff Lecture Award. This award recognizes the best manuscript on headache, head or face pain, or the nature of pain itself. 

Dr. Gelfand presented a paper showing that mothers with migraine are more likely to have a baby with colic, a correlation that was not seen for fathers with migraine. The incidence of colic was also higher in babies born to mothers with chronic (>15 days/month) vs episodic migraine. Adjusting the results for depression or anxiety did not affect the correlations between maternal migraine and colic. Data were collected from an online survey of 1,419 biologic parents of 4 to 8-week old infants in the US. 

Colic affects 5% to 20% of all infants, occurs around age 6 weeks, and typically resolves by age 3 months. Although colic is not known to have negative effects on a child’s overall health and is time limited, it does have negative effects on parents’ wellbeing—causing self-doubt, anxiety, and depression for new parents at a time when they are still bonding with their child. 

Dr. Gelfand said, “I hope this information will be useful to both neurologists and pediatricians, helping them counsel mothers with migraine prenatally and postnatally about the relationship between migraine and colic. I want mothers to know that colic or fussiness is not a result of something she has or hasn’t done or how she feeds her child. Just as a quiet dark place can help her with migraine, it may also help her baby with colic. Because we know that children who had colic are more likely to develop migraine, I would also encourage pediatricians to note when a child’s mother has migraine or a child had colic as reasons to be more vigilant about the possibility of pediatric migraine.”

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