Open Access Open Badges Research article

Agreement of self-reported physician diagnosis of migraine with international classification of headache disorders-II migraine diagnostic criteria in a cross-sectional study of pregnant women

Chunfang Qiu1*, Michelle A Williams12, Sheena K Aurora3, B Lee Peterlin4, Bizu Gelaye2, Ihunnaya O Frederick1 and Daniel A Enquobahrie15

Author Affiliations

1 Center for Perinatal Studies, Swedish Medical Center, 1124 Columbia Street, Suite 750, Seattle, WA 98104, USA

2 Department of Epidemiology, Harvard School of Public Health, Boston, MA, USA

3 Department of Neurology, Stanford University, Stanford, California, USA

4 Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, Baltimore, MD, USA

5 Department of Epidemiology, School of Public Health, University of Washington, Seattle, WA, USA

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BMC Women's Health 2013, 13:50  doi:10.1186/1472-6874-13-50

Published: 13 December 2013



Migraine, a common chronic-intermittent disorder among reproductive age women, has emerged as a novel risk factor for adverse perinatal outcomes. Diagnostic reliability of self-report of physician-diagnosed migraine has not been investigated in pregnancy cohort studies. We investigated agreement of self-report of physician-diagnosed migraine with the diagnostic criteria promoted by the International Classification of Headache Disorders, 2nd edition (ICHD-II).


The cross-sectional study was conducted among 500 women who provided information on a detailed migraine questionnaire that allowed us to apply all ICHD-II diagnostic criteria.


Approximately 92% of women reporting a diagnosis of migraine had the diagnosis between the ages of 11 and 40 years (<10 years 6.8%; 11–20 years 38.8%; 21–30 years 42.7%; 31–40 years 10.7%; and >40 years 1.0%). We confirmed self-reported migraine in 81.6% of women when applying the ICHD-II criteria for definitive migraine (63.1%) and probable migraine (18.5%).


There is good agreement between self-reported migraine and ICHD-II-based migraine classification in this pregnancy cohort. We demonstrate the feasibility of using questionnaire-based migraine assessment according to full ICHD-II criteria in epidemiological studies of pregnant women.

Migraine; Pregnancy; Diagnosis; ICHD-II; Self-report; Agreement