As much as pregnancy is a rewarding experience, it also brings multiple changes to your body. Weight changes, swelling, mood swings, morning sickness and dehydration, there’s so much. Nothing about it is pleasant.
But it is hormonal shifts that really get the gears grinding for many expecting mums. They have little control over what’s going on. For some, this can be a completely seamless experience with happy emotions all along.
However, some mums might find themselves feeling sad and experiencing uncontrollable crying during pregnancy over the slightest problems.
At times, the trigger points might be completely unrelated like an emotional television commercial, things falling down or a kind word from a friend. You don’t know what will kickstart this uncontrollable crying during pregnancy.
So don’t be so hard on yourself. Crying during pregnancy is fairly normal but it is also an indicator that not everything is okay. Read on to know more about why this happens and when should you or your partner see it as a red flag.
What Causes Uncontrollable Crying During Pregnancy?
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Mums-to-be ask, “Why am I so emotional during pregnancy?”
Pregnancy heightens your senses in many ways including your emotional quotient. If you are naturally sentimental as a person, you are most likely to cry more often during pregnancy.
However, even if you are a strong-willed person who seldom sheds a tear, pregnancy hormones can do a complete 180-degree turn on you.
Crying During Early Pregnancy
As your hormones ramp up in the first trimester, you will encounter pregnancy mood swings, and that includes crying spells. That is normal and to be expected. For first-time mums and women whose pregnancy came unexpected, it can also take a while before they can absorb the emotional weight of their life about to change drastically.
When Is Uncontrollable Crying During Pregnancy A Problem?
While the occasional shower of tears is completely fine, uncontrollable crying can also be a sign of more serious problems like anxiety and depression.
Prenatal depression can be caused or brought about by the following reasons or situations:
- Worrying over the financial aspect of giving birth and childcare
- Unexpected pregnancy
- Lack of financial, emotional and even spiritual support from loved ones
- Anxiety over her capability to become a mother to her unborn child
- Marital problems or relationship issues with her partner
- A side effect of infertility medicines she took prior to getting pregnant
Prenatal Depression Signs
Depression during pregnancy can also bring along a number of health issues that will put the mum and the baby’s health in danger. Here are some prenatal depression signs you need to watch out for:
- Loss of appetite
- Drastic weight loss
- Loss of interest in activities
- Feeling of guilt
- Feeling of inadequacy as a mum-to-be
- Sleeping too much
- Excessive crying without sufficient reason
- Going against her doctor’s orders
- Thoughts of self-harm and suicide
Depression during pregnancy can be a temporary phase and can be handled by speaking to your gynaecologist or a therapist.
Can Uncontrollable Crying During Pregnancy Affect The Baby?
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The short answer is yes. When the mum is unhappy, it is bound to have an effect on the baby inside her. Studies suggest that about 10 per cent of all pregnant women undergo depression during pregnancy. Severe cases can also have a long-term effect on the baby after being born.
A 2016 study suggests that pregnant women with mental health problems like anxiety and may have a higher chance of preterm birth and low birth weight. Another study suggests that mental distress and preterm birth are interrelated.
The lack of proper nutrition and rest brought about by prenatal depression could be a reason for a mother to have complications in pregnancy, affecting the health of her baby.
Experts suggest that when the mum is suffering from chronic anxiety and stress, the body can produce the stress hormone – cortisol. This hormone can be passed on to the unborn baby through the placenta. Too much exposure to the same can lead to cases of anxiety in the baby and a colicky baby.
High levels of cortisol can also lead to preeclampsia, premature birth, and low birth weight in babies.
Mums resentful of the pregnancy itself also exhibit high-stress levels. Add this to the existing physical and mental difficulties, and some of it will rub off on the baby as well.
Studies suggest that mums who did not feel any attachment towards the fetus were likely to have babies who can develop emotional problems in their childhood.
Can My Unborn Baby Hear Me Crying?
As a matter of fact, yes. At 18 weeks, your baby can already hear sounds in your body like a heartbeat (which increases when you cry). At 27 weeks, they can hear sounds from outside your body too, like your sobbing.
Moreover, not only can your baby hear you, he can also feel what you are feeling – and with the same intensity.
As your baby prepares for the outside world, they interpret the messages you are sending them throughout your pregnancy (this is why talking to them in important!). They receive chemical, hormonal signals through the placenta. These signals are connected directly to your emotional state.
So if you’re sad, or suffering from depression during pregnancy, your baby feels the same emotion, as if it’s their own. In fact, a previous study from the University of California-Irvine found that the emotional state of a mother influences the development of her baby both before and after birth.
So while it’s okay to cry your worries away from time to time, you should also seek help and try to keep your emotions in check in this crucial period of your baby’s development.
Dealing With Anxiety and Stress During Pregnancy: How to Ease Your Worries
How To Deal With Pregnancy Fatigue
Why You Should Listen To Music During Pregnancy
What Can You Do To Control Crying During Pregnancy?
You have little control over hormonal shifts during pregnancy but you can make effort to minimise the side effects. While they may not provide complete relief, they will help you stay in control through the nine months. Here are a few ways you can control crying during pregnancy.
1. Get enough sleep
Expecting mums need to get at least seven to nine hours of sleep every day. A good night’s sleep will keep your stress levels in check and you are less likely to be irritable during the day.
2. Stay physically active
Pregnancy can be restrictive in a number of ways but you need to keep yourself healthy and physically active. Try and spend time outdoors whenever possible.
Go for a walk, try yoga and start an exercise regime. Make sure to speak to your gynaecologist about the same.
3. Speak to other pregnant women
Group activities can help you understand the plight of other pregnant women, while also finding support for yourself.
A recent study also showed that women suffering from postpartum depression were able to cope better around peers with similar experiences. So do sign up for that group class.
4. Remember, it’s a phase
Ideally, pregnancy is just nine months of labour. But it can get overwhelming when you realise it’s the responsibility of a new life. That is an overwhelming feeling and can trigger frustration, guilt and, of course, uncontrollable crying.
Make sure to remind yourself that it’s a phase that will pass. Do not doubt yourself and your skills as a mum. The baby is yet to arrive but when it does, you’ll get the hang of it. Just stay strong!
5. Surround yourself with supportive people
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You may not be on the best behaviour during pregnancy. That’s why surround yourself with friends, relatives and people who understand what you are going through and still choose to stick around.
According to Dr Chex De Leon-Gacrama, a neurologist and psychiatrist from the Philippines,
“Mental health is very important, not only for you but also for the baby. When you are feeling well, happy and content, you are better able to manage stress. But if you have difficulty coping or dealing with stress, ask for help.”
We can’t promise the crying will go away. On the contrary, maybe it’s a good thing to let all of that negative energy out of your body.
At the end of the day, your baby marks a new chapter in your life and you need to have a positive outlook to raise the little one in a happy household.
Don’t worry about the crying spells then. Look forward to the happy moments instead.
But if you are experiencing the symptoms of prenatal depression for over 2 weeks, do not hesitate to seek help and talk to your doctor about it. Your well-being and your baby’s health is on the line.
Here at theAsianparent Singapore, it’s important for us to give information that is correct, significant, and timely. But this doesn’t serve as an alternative for medical advice or medical treatment. theAsianparent Singapore is not responsible for those that would choose to drink medicines based on information from our website. If you have any doubts, we recommend consulting your doctor for clearer information.