Mood swings during pregnancy are common and to be expected. They are caused by a combination of physical stress, physical changes, fatigue, and hormonal changes. Mood swings are most common during the first 6 to 10 weeks and again during the third trimester as the birth approaches. Simply knowing that mood swings are normal can be helpful for the both the expectant mother and her partner. Here are some tips for coping.
6 Crucial Tips to Controlling Mood Swings During Pregnancy
Many women respond to pregnancy by creating endless to-do lists of things that must be done before the birth- work overtime to make extra money, paint the nursery, clean the house, take classes- but now is not the time. During a pregnancy, your body’s energy and resources need to be devoted to growing the baby. Rest and relax instead.
Focus on Your Partner
Pregnancy can be a very stressful time for relationships. Even when both partners deeply desire the baby, a pregnancy changes everything. The partner often has no idea how to respond to the raging emotions and mood swings, and may feel left out as all of the attention centers on the pregnant woman. Intimacy suffers as the partner is unsure of what is safe or correct to do, and the pregnant woman often feels fat and unattractive, and therefore not interested. Communication and taking time to be together is key to getting through this period. Talking openly with a caring, supportive doctor about intimacy issues can be helpful for many couples. Going on romantic dates, taking a relaxing vacation, and just spending time doing fun things together can relieve the stresses.
Pregnancy can be a very stressful time and stress can certainly contribute to mood swings. Worrying about the baby’s health, financial concerns, and parenthood can send anyone into a storm of emotions. Talking with a supportive doctor, like Dr. Webb, about health concerns can be very useful. Deliberately engaging in stress-relieving activities can improve the situation. Pregnancy-appropriate exercise is an excellent way to relieve stress. Walking regularly or taking a prenatal yoga or aerobics class can make a dramatic difference in mood swings and emotional health. Meditating daily for 20 minutes is another excellent approach to managing the situation.
Give Yourself a Break
Many women find that pregnancy isn’t what they expected at all. They expected to be overjoyed, glowing, and happy, and instead they are tearful, nauseated, exhausted, and having second thoughts about the whole thing. Give yourself a break and admit it’s the hormones talking. These feelings are normal and will pass.
Many women find that the loss of control during pregnancy is very scary and the worst part of the whole experience. They are at the mercy of their bodies. Instead of trying to fight the strange feelings, it’s best to just give in. If you feel like eating pickles at 3 am, just go for it. Remember that it’s a temporary situation and your entire body and mind has become devoted to growing and birthing this baby. Fighting the process is counter-productive.
Consult a Therapist
Women who find they are suffering from very severe, prolonged periods of mood swings should consult their doctor. In around 10% of women, the hormones of pregnancy trigger anxiety and/or depression, which contributes to mood swings. Professional help may be needed. Women who become depressed during pregnancy are also at a higher risk of suffering from post-partum depression, and altering the doctor to this possibility as early as possible is more likely to lead to a better outcome.