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Mood swings during pregnancy- You might be wondering why you feel overly sensitive- laughing hysterically one moment and having an anxiety attack the next. And before you know, you have a meltdown. So you sit down with a tub of ice cream or a jar of your favourite pickle wondering what’s happening to your body.
You’re not alone. You’ve just boarded the pregnancy hormone express, the runaway mood swings during pregnancy that picks up plenty of would-be mamas. You’re seeing your body change- eating habits, gaining weight, morning sickness, and your hormones as well.
Pregnancy, Hormones and Mood Swings
There are many reasons for pregnancy mood swings- sleep deprivation, stress, fatigue, anxiety but the biggest culprit here is the change in your hormonal level. Estrogen and progesterone are the primary pregnancy hormones.
Estrogen is related to the production of serotonin, a mood-regulating neurotransmitter. Progesterone on the other hand progesterone rapidly increases during pregnancy, especially during the first trimester. The fluctuating levels of these hormones during pregnancy, plus other factors, cause serotonin production disruption, leading to the fluctuation in your mood.
When Do Pregnancy Mood Swings Start?
You haven’t stopped thinking about the little one. You’re excited about becoming a mother (“I’ve always wanted a baby!”). A calm minute or two, but then you find yourself freaking out about your job, your relationship with your partner, the financial strain of having a baby, and whatnot! Your estrogen levels soar increasing by more than 100 times in the first trimester of your pregnancy.
- Apart from hormones, the discomfort of pregnancy can cause emotional distress as well. 7 out of 10 women experience morning sickness and nausea, at any time of the day. This can be triggered by the slightest hunger episode or even the smell of food.
- Another common early symptom of your pregnancy is fatigue, which can contribute to mood swings. The stress of not knowing when they might feel sick or tired, and the possibility of throwing up unprepared or in public, can be intense.
There are still ups and downs in your hormone level during your second trimester. But it is much less than that in the first three months. Most women don’t have morning sickness, or even if they do, it’s not that bad. So what causes pregnancy mood swings during this time?
- Your body shape is changing, you’re gaining weight, deciding whether or not you should go for a prenatal test and the stress of results- all of these can be emotionally stressful. All of these can add to your mood swings during the second trimester.
- It is also common for many women to experience stress and fear reading about all the things that could go wrong with pregnancy and childbirth.
- Keeping aside the negative aspects of mood swings during pregnancy, you may also experience an increase in libido and sexual desire in your “golden period” or the second trimester. The possible reason for this might be because they are feeling physically better. According to some women, this is because of the increased blood flow to the pelvic region.
You’re worried about becoming a mother and mothering a child and are having trouble getting proper sleep at night. You’re fatigued but sleep-deprived. Welcome to the last phase of your pregnancy!
- During the third trimester of pregnancy, many women experience “nesting”. Nesting is about taking control of the environment of yourself and the baby. It is when you have a desire to clean, organize, and physically prepare for your baby. Even though the real cause of nesting is not known, it could be coping mechanisms for general or pregnancy-related anxiety and stress.
Does Everyone Have The Same Mood Swings During Pregnancy?
No, not every woman’s pregnancy mood swings are alike. While you might get angry over the smallest issues and laugh uncontrollably over something silly; some women might have feelings of resentment towards their partner or non-pregnant friends, for they will be resuming their normal lifestyle. Some might be anxious about the ifs, buts, and what-ifs of labor and delivery. But it’s okay to feel all of this!
It is essential, in this context, to know the difference between the normal ups and downs of emotions and prenatal depression. Talk to your partner regarding this, and consult your doctor for your wellbeing and that of the baby.
How Can You Cope With Pregnancy Mood Swings?
You must understand that you are not alone and mood swings are just another aspect of your journey of pregnancy. But that doesn’t mean that you can’t do anything about them. Here are a few strategies that can help you manage stress well.
1. Be patient with yourself
This is the most important one. Remind yourself that you’re not alone in this and the hormones are to blame for what you’re experiencing now. You can read a good motivational book or relax by watching a movie or by hearing a podcast.
2. Talk to your partner
You feel anxious. There can be times you lose your temper or cry unexpectedly. Just know that it’s okay to feel that way. Let your partner know that it’s not them. If you already have other kids, try talking to them and explain that mommy isn’t feeling great, but everything’s going to be okay.
3. Eat filling meals
A lack of food can likely cause an outburst. Anger and hunger don’t go well together. Try not to become ‘hangry’ by eating healthy and nutritious meals and filling snacks.
4. Hit the snooze button
Rest and sleep are your best friends. This can be a difficult task in the first trimester, but as your labor nears, you need to prioritize sleep. You can do this by maintaining a morning routine, getting naps as your body requires, and sticking to a proper bedtime schedule.
5. Prepare for morning sickness
One of the worst things about morning sickness is its unpredictability. It can be triggered anywhere, anytime. This can make you feel out of control and can worsen your mood swings.
6. Talk to your family and loved ones
Your family members and close friends understand what you are going through and can help you through this journey. Talk to them about your emotions and explain to them that you may occasionally snap or react surprisingly.
7. Connect with other expecting moms
There are various social platforms nowadays where you can communicate with to be moms. This will help you understand your emotions better and give you an affirmation that you’re not the only one going through these changes in your body and your mood.
8. Be kind to yourself
Pregnancy can be tough. But it can be tougher if you are constantly beat yourself up whenever you overreact or throw a tantrum. Remind yourself that it’s not you. It’s just a temporary tidal wave of estrogen and progesterone. Be kind to yourself, we all need an emotional release now and then.
9. Talk to a therapist if needed
Sometimes you may need professional help and there’s nothing wrong with that. It is very common in expecting moms to have prenatal depression and anxiety. A therapist can help you reclaim your happiness. Don’t be shy to mention your concerns to your doctor.
Could Your Pregnancy Mood Swings Be Depression?
Undiagnosed and untreated depression or anxiety is different from the usual hormonal pregnancy mood swings. According to reports, almost 20 percent of postpartum depression starts at the time of pregnancy. Some common symptoms of depression during pregnancy are:
- Feeling low most of the time
- Lack of focus and concentration
- Restlessness and agitation
- Lack of self-confidence
- Having suicidal thoughts
Seeing a therapist or your doctor can help you keep your along with your little baby’s well being in check.
You must keep in mind that mood swings are a normal (if not convenient) part of pregnancy. It is okay for you to feel nervous, anxious, happy, excited, and scared all at once. Convey your feelings to your partner and your family members. Don’t forget to seek help as it will keep you at ease and help you through the journey of having the best experience of becoming a new mom.