To say that pregnancy is a rollercoaster of emotions is somehow accurate. You'll find yourself experiencing many moods simultaneously--from joy to anxiety, from excitement to nervousness, from discomfort to love. While all these dispositions begin to show from the moment you uncover you are pregnant, you'll notice that mood swings worsen in the second trimester.
Almost everything and anything can irk you at this stage in your pregnancy. Everything under the sun can make you irritable, from the colour of your curtains to the fact that you are now getting more prominent.
The good news is that this is normal for most women. You need to understand why it happens and how to manage it.
What Causes Mood Swings in Pregnancy?
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Several factors like physical discomforts, ever-changing hormones, and everyday worries about the changes (physical and emotional) lead to mood swings in pregnancy. Out of these, the most significant factor causing mood swings is the ever-changing levels of pregnancy hormones.
Pregnancy mood swings are not just about feeling emotional; they can also include physical symptoms like headaches and nausea. These symptoms can make it more difficult for you to get through your day-to-day activities, so it's important to know what to do when you find yourself in this situation.
Is It Normal to Be Angry During Pregnancy?
Pregnancy is a time of great joy and excitement for many women. But sometimes, even the most loving mothers-to-be can feel angry and frustrated during this special time. If you're feeling anger during pregnancy, it's important to understand why—and how to manage it.
Why Do Women Get Angry During Pregnancy?
Pregnancy is a time of major life changes and hormonal shifts; emotions are often heightened. Your body is undergoing many changes, affecting your mood and behaviour. You may be experiencing more fatigue than normal or have trouble sleeping due to uncomfortable symptoms like heartburn or insomnia caused by hormones released during pregnancy.
You may also be dealing with increased stress from work, family obligations, and responsibilities at home since you will be caring for your newborn child soon after birth.
How Can I Manage My Anger?
If you feel angry during pregnancy, here are some tips on how to manage your emotions:
- Make sure you sleep well (7 to 8 hours per night).
- Eat healthy meals that contain whole grains, fruits, vegetables and protein foods like fish or chicken breast (no processed foods).
- Drink plenty of water throughout the day.
- Find an outlet for your emotions, such as music or exercise.
What Do Pregnancy Mood Swings Feel Like?
Pregnancy mood swings are well-documented, but they don't always feel like anything. Some women experience them as a general sense of unhappiness or anxiety, while others have no idea what's happening. In some cases, the mood swings can be severe enough to require medication or other intervention.
According to American Pregnancy Association, here are some signs that a pregnant woman is having mood swings:
Quick changes in mood
Feelings of sadness or crying spells
Anxiety or worry
Frustration or anger
Fatigue or exhaustion
Overwhelm or feeling easily overwhelmed
Can Mood Swings During Pregnancy Affect Baby?
Your emotions play an important role in fetal development because they affect how your brain processes information and makes connections between thoughts and feelings. Stress or anxiety during pregnancy can cause changes in your hormones that affect how your fetus grows and develops over time.
According to Dr Patricia Kho, an OB-gynaecologist from the Philippines, a flurry of emotions can also affect your baby's growth. Because if stress or your emotions are causing you to neglect yourself (poor eating habits and lack of sleep), then it can take a toll on your baby's development inside your womb.
Can Pregnancy Make You Hate Your Partner?
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Pregnancy can be a stressful time for many women. The body changes, the hormones fluctuate, and the cravings are endless. So it's no surprise that many women feel distant from their partners during pregnancy.
But will these feelings of distance last after the baby is born? Is it possible to return to feeling close to your partner after having a baby?
The answer is yes—but it takes time. And it takes effort on both ends of the equation: from you as a new mum and your partner as well as a dad-to-be.
How to Reconnect With Your Partner During Your Pregnancy
Here are some tips for helping you reconnect with each other and make sure your relationship stays strong during this exciting but challenging time:
- Talk about what's happening with each other—and listen without judgment.
- Make sure you're giving each other space when needed (like when one of you needs to sleep or take a shower).
- Be willing to compromise when things get tough—and then celebrate those compromises together!
- Spend some quality time together before your baby arrives - plan a babymoon!
Pregnancy Hormones and Mood Swings
Pregnancy hormones, estrogen, and progesterone are specifically responsible for mood swings.
Estrogen is associated with the 'happy hormone' serotonin, a neurotransmitter. Although serotonin does not directly affect your happiness, any imbalance in estrogen levels affects this neurotransmitter.
This imbalance results in its dysfunction and causes mood swings, especially during gestation and early pregnancy. You may also experience anxiety and irritability due to the same reason.
Another hormone that affects your mood is progesterone.
During this stage, along with estrogen, the pregnancy hormone progesterone rapidly increases. It is associated with relaxation and is secreted more during the first trimester of pregnancy. This hormone relaxes the muscles during pregnancy and sometimes prevents premature contractions.
As good as this sounds, sometimes it can make a woman a little too relaxed, which means the usual adrenaline rush is absent. They are conscious of everything leading them to feel fatigued and sad.
Now let's take you through each trimester and the mood swings you can expect to experience.
When Do Mood Swings Start in Pregnancy?
Mood Swings in Early Pregnancy
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Hormones play a significant role in mood swings, but they’re not just them. Other factors lead to mood swings, especially during the first trimester.
- Physical discomforts like morning sickness can also cause emotional distress.
- The stress of thinking about morning sickness can also lead to anxiety.
- Fatigue is another reason for mood swings. Nobody can function properly if they are physically or emotionally tired. And extreme tiredness is what you may feel during the first month.
Pregnancy Mood Swings in the Second Trimester
The second trimester is also known as the 'honeymoon' phase. During the second trimester of pregnancy, hormonal imbalance slows down. You feel more energetic as the morning sickness almost subsides after the first 13 weeks. But mood swings get worse during the second trimester. Here are a few reasons that may not have occurred to you.
- Body changes. This is a phase when you notice changes in your body shape, and maternity clothing comes into the picture. You may have mixed emotions about it. You may feel excited to finally see your baby growing and feel anxious and insecure about the weight gain.
- Ultrasound scan anxiety. Many things like amniocentesis and prenatal test are undertaken during the second trimester. The expectation of results can often cause anxiety, leading to emotional stress. It is also when your baby has almost developed, and you learn and gather as much information as possible.
- Unsolicited advice or information. Reading about all the things that could go wrong during pregnancy and labour can make you anxious.
- Labour anxiety. Many women also experience labour anxiety at this stage. Knowing about ways of giving birth to your child and all the pros and cons of it contribute to it, which in turn causes mood swings to become worse during the second trimester.
But, know that not all these mood swings are negative. You may experience increased libido and sexual desire during the second trimester. And things may start to feel better for you due to the increased blood flow to your pelvic region.
Do Mood Swings Last Until the Third Trimester?
In your third trimester, you may face different challenges that can lead you to experience various mood swings.
- Fatigue. You may experience difficulty feeling comfortable and/or sleeping, resulting in fatigue. This fatigue due to sleep deprivation also is a reason for mood swings.
- Labour anxiety. There is constant fear and many worries as you near birth. You may have a birth plan already, but chances are you are going over them repeatedly and stressing over something that hasn't happened yet.
- Nesting anxiety. Some women also go through the nesting phase, where they feel an urge to clean and organise items and prepare for the arrival of their baby. It can be both a positive and negative experience. While it may make you feel happy to welcome your bub into this new world, it may also give you anxiety from unreal expectations.
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How to Cope With Pregnancy Mood Swings
While mood swings can be a bummer, they are not in your control. You do not wish for anxiety or fear to appear out of nowhere, and still, they do. But there is nothing to worry about. This is all part of the process of carrying your little one into this world. If you often feel a surge of varied emotions, here are a few things you can try:
Experiencing fatigue and feeling uncomfortable is common in pregnancy. Make sure to take as many naps as possible to ease a bit of the fatigue.
Yoga or meditation can relieve your anxiety and make you feel good. You can start prenatal yoga twice weekly and take it up a notch based on your doctor's recommendations. As for meditation, ideally, you should meditate daily, as it helps calm the nerves and makes you feel more energised.
Keep eating regular snacks
Eat regular snacks between meals, particularly those high in proteins and complex carbs, as it will help you steady your emotions.
If you have friends in the same phase, speak to them regularly. Talking to someone going through the same experience can lessen your fears and worries.
Connect with other expecting mums
When to Worry About Pregnancy Mood Swings
Mood swings are a common occurrence during pregnancy due to hormonal changes and other factors. However, in certain cases, mood swings can indicate a more significant concern. It's essential to be aware of when to seek additional support or medical attention. Here are some signs to watch for when it comes to pregnancy mood swings.
In the end, remember that mood swings are part and parcel of pregnancy. Don't overthink them. They'll ease as you get closer to your due date, and you'll experience a new positivity as soon as you hold your little one in your arms. But if your emotions get too severe that it is affecting your daily life, do not hesitate to open up to someone and your doctor about it.
- If you experience intense or prolonged mood swings.
- If you have persistent feelings of depression or anxiety.
- If you have suicidal or harmful thoughts.
- If you find it difficult to function in daily life.
- If you undergo extreme changes in appetite or sleep patterns.
- If you isolate yourself or withdraw from loved ones.
- If you feel disinterested or lack a connection with the baby.
- If you engage in substance abuse or risky behaviour.
- If you have previous mental health conditions or history.
- If concerns are raised by family or friends.
Updates by Pheona Ilagan
Image Source: iStock
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