Mood Swings During Pregnancy

Mood Swings During Pregnancy

Pregnancy is a very emotional experience. You'll probably find, however, that healthcare providers, as well as your family and friends, focus mostly on the physical aspects of your pregnancy. Their primary concern, of course, is that you and your baby are healthy. Moreover, the physical elements of pregnancy are more concrete and easily observed by others. But many pregnant women agree that the emotions and mood swings are just as challenging as the physical symptoms.

What makes pregnancy so emotional? And how can you cope with the wide range of feelings and moods that are likely to occur?

Why Women Have Pregnancy Mood Swings

Many women look forward to pregnancy and motherhood at some point in their lives. But once you do become pregnant, whether the pregnancy was planned or not, your feelings may be different from what you expected. Women who anticipated feeling fearful may be surprisingly at ease; those who thought they were ready may suddenly feel unsure.

In fact, a woman's feelings change with each passing trimester, and each phase brings its own emotional issues. In the first trimester, you might struggle with the very fact that you're pregnant. During the second trimester, you might focus on the notion that you’re really going to have a baby. In the third trimester, you'll probably extend that thinking further and contemplate the responsibilities — and joys — of being a mother. It’s a big emotional adjustment!

Changing Roles

Pregnancy also changes family dynamics. If this is your first baby, you will go from being an individual or part of a couple, with obligations only to yourself or another adult, to having full-time responsibility for a totally dependent infant.

If you're having a second baby (or third or fourth), changes still take place within the family as your responsibilities increase. Bringing a new little person into the family can be stressful at times, even under the happiest of circumstances. Although having a baby is a normal and wonderful part of life, it can still feel overwhelming. And your feelings can be magnified by the hormonal changes taking place in your body.

Pregnancy Emotions and Mood Swings You May Encounter

Here are some emotions and reactions that many pregnant women experience. Please note that they are not all negative:

  • Joy, happiness, or excitement
  • Depression, uncertainty, or fear
  • Irritability
  • Calmness
  • Feeling dependent on others
  • Pride that you have accomplished a miracle
  • Love for your baby
  • Reactions to the changes in your body image (you may love the way your body looks during pregnancy, or you may not)
  • Feeling scatterbrained
  • Sadness over the loss of how things used to be
  • Anxiety about finances, living arrangements, child care, loss of independence, changes in your relationship with your partner, labor and birth, whether you'll be a good mother, and so on
  • Impatience — feeling as though you’ve been pregnant forever
  • Frequent crying
  • Daydreams about your baby

Keeping Your Mood Swings in Check

Although all of the above are normal, you can take measures to lessen your mood swings during this exciting, but stressful, time.

  • Stay physically healthy. Eat well, exercise, and get plenty of rest. If you don't feel well or are tired, you're more likely to be anxious or upset.
  • Become informed. For example, attend prenatal classes and childbirth classes, and read books about pregnancy. Knowing what to expect, hearing from professionals, and meeting other parents-to-be can help alleviate stress.
  • Share your thoughts and feelings with your partner, friends, or family members.

Check with your healthcare provider before taking any medication, including herbal remedies, for depression or mood swings. Always consult your healthcare provider before taking any drugs (over-the counter or prescription) during pregnancy.

Remember to take good care of yourself, as you are the priority right now. In a few years, you might look back at these nine months and miss them greatly.

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