Whether you’ve been pregnant before or not, pretty much any woman knows that pregnancy will come with a set of hurdles. One of the things about pregnancy that almost everyone knows is the roller coaster of emotions and hormones attached with it. When you’re pregnant, your body will experience all sorts of strange and unexpected things that are unique to each woman and each pregnancy, but all women will experience pregnancy moods.
Wondering if it’s normal to feel “crazy” during pregnancy? We’re here to tell you that it is and there are reasons behind it.
In this article:
- Pregnancy: A Time to Get Emotional
- What Causes Mood Swings?
- Moods To Expect
- How to Handle Pregnancy Mood Swings
Pregnancy: A Time to Get Emotional
For myself, I noticed that I was much more emotional when I was pregnant with my daughters than when I was pregnant with my son. And by this I mean that I could cry or become overly sensitive at the drop of a hat...much unlike my usually even keel non-pregnant self.
With my first pregnancy, I was an absolute wreck. The fear of the unknown and unexpected would cause me to worry a great deal. I think this is true for many first time expectant mothers. It’s an exciting time, but it also unfamiliar territory which can be ultimately nerve wracking for many mamas-to-be.
Pregnancy is a life changing event full of physical and emotional changes. It’s important and necessary for your mental health and well-being to not overstress or overwork yourself with worry. Find ways to encourage yourself to relax and destress, because overstressing is unhealthy for both you and the baby growing in your body. Go for long walks, do some prenatal yoga, sit outdoors with a good book, or spoil yourself with a little self-pampering. For more tips on how to relax during pregnancy, click here. You deserve it and want to remember this time in a positive way, not one clouded by worry and stress.
What Causes Mood Swings?
If you’ve been pregnant or spent your fair share of time around a woman who is expecting, than you know full well about pregnancy mood swings. We know that a woman’s body works around the clock when brewing a miniature human, so the changes in mood can happen for a number of reasons. Common complaints such as stress and fatigue can be to blame, as well as the physical wear and tear on your body as it adjusts to your expanding frame and weight gain. Changes in your metabolism and the fluctuation of estrogen and progesterone released in your body during pregnancy can also be to blame for the sudden onset of mood swings. Significant changes in your hormone levels can affect your level of neurotransmitters, which are brain chemicals that regulate mood. While mood swings can happen any time during a woman’s pregnancy, they are most likely to occur in the first trimester as your body acclimates to pregnancy and also in the third trimester as your body prepares for child birth. So, think of it just like that roller coaster analogy that I referred to earlier, because it’s true!
Moods To Expect
When you are pregnant, you may not realize your heightened hormones are taking control of you...although everyone else around you sees it clearly. Most people in your life will be forgiving of your sudden pregnancy mood swings, and they may just think to tease you about it once you’re postpartum and back to normal.
Wondering what the trademark feelings around surrounding each trimester? See below…
First trimester: tears and forgetfulness (the surge of progesterone in your body is to blame for the “baby brain”)
Second trimester: Happiness and anticipation
Third trimester: crankiness and exhaustion, mixed with the intense desire to “nest”
According to Dr. Lucy Puryear, psychiatrist and author of Understanding Your Moods When You're Expecting: "Estrogen and progesterone are skyrocketing at the beginning of your pregnancy. The changes have big effects on your mood. You can be tearful one minute and happy the next."
What’s even more interesting, is that Dr. Puryear points out in her book that there are 8 common emotions that almost all pregnant women will experience at one point or another throughout their pregnancy: fear, anxiety, forgetfulness, weepiness, body image issues, nesting instinct, and postpartum depression.
In terms of postpartum depression, remember this: in the first few days after giving birth, 70 to 80 percent of women may experience the "baby blues."
How to Handle Pregnancy Mood Swings
If you’ve been pregnant or you are currently pregnant and you’ve found yourself asking, Am I nuts?!, the fact is, you’re definitely not alone. If you’re feeling powerless and hoping for a way to keep your pregnancy mood swings under control, there are some helpful tips you can try.
- Think Before You Speak
Even if your baby’s daddy or your mother is driving you mad, it’s best not to go overboard and say something that you can’t take back. You might be quick to react and not realizing it while sucked into an intense preggo mood swing. Maybe take a quick breath and repeat the words in your head to yourself. Would you normally say something like this? If not, maybe it’s best to just not say it at all.
- Don’t Forget to Rest and Take Time for Yourself
You are growing a human, pat yourself on the back and rest and relax when you need it. Do not ignore this craving to relax, your body will tell you when you need it. Listen to the cues and mind them.
- Be Patient and Stay Positive
Negative thinking can cloud your judgement, so if you are feeling stressed out or overwhelmed surround yourself with positivity. Be patient with your pregnancy and trust the process. Even if you’re feeling like you are out of control or like your mind is going cuckoo, remember this is entirely normal. Spend time with people who love you and allow them to lift your spirits.
Remember, being pregnant is taxing on your mind, and not just your body. People are sometimes quick to jump to the conclusion that your body is the only thing experiencing dramatic changes as you grow a human inside of you. Perhaps you can remind them that your mind is going through a lot as well, and none of it is your fault thanks to the massive influx of hormones swirling all through your body. Maybe then they can put themselves in your shoes and find ways to more accommodating of you and your many moods...however pleasant or unpleasant they may be!
Live Science, Mood Swings & Mommy Brain: The Emotional Challenges of Pregnancy, December 2017.
Office On Women's Health, Pregnancy and body image, 2017.
National Institutes of Health, National Library of Medicine, An Update on Mood and Anxiety Disorders During Pregnancy and the Postpartum Period, December 2000.
- Modi Ramos