Mood Swings During Pregnancy And How To Deal With Them
Being so crabby lately and thinking what is wrong with you? It’s not a big deal and you are not going crazy. It’s just your pregnancy. Mood changes every now and then during the nine months of your pregnancy. Your moods can go from extreme highs (exuberant and enthusiastic) to extreme lows (frightened and stressed). In addition to new changes in your behavior, all the worries and stress you had before pregnancy, will surface to make you even more depressed.
You don’t have to worry as it will do nothing but to add to your current anxiety and make you even more depressed. What you need is a good support, from someone close to you, and a few useful tips. Here is some help to make you a little bit better and light.
Why Is This Change Happening?
Primarily, the hormonal imbalance is to blame for all the ups and downs of your emotions. Estrogen and progesterone affect the levels of neurotransmitters (chemicals which regulate mood) in your brain and disturb your emotions. That’s why the mood swings get better during the second trimester when these hormones settle down. Being a major cause of disturbance, hormones are not the only ones to accuse, as there are some other reasons as well.
- Depression or dementia
- Restlessness and lack of sleep
- Nutritional deficiencies
- Food sensitivities
- Medical reasons (diabetes, diet problems, migraine, hyperthyroidism or hypothyroidism etc)
- Anxiety about baby’s health, your pregnancy, finance or parenting
- Relationship issues (divorce or separation)
- Previous bad experience (miscarriage or complications during delivery) are to name a few.
Whatever the reasons are, they can be cured simply by taking care of yourself and interacting with your friends and family. You must take good care of your health as it will ensure that your baby is safe inside you.
When do mood swings start during pregnancy?
Well, you will notice these mood swings in early pregnancy along with other changes that are happening in your body. Most women say that they feel changes in their behavior around 6 weeks of early pregnancy and they last until 10th week. During second trimester, you will be normal again but not for too long, as your pregnancy emotions will flare up again in the third trimester. A few common mood swings that most of the pregnant women face are listed here:
During first trimester, fear is triggered by the thoughts of miscarriage or something that may affect the baby. It can be a consequence of the previous bad experience. During second trimester, women are usually afraid of the responsibility they have to take. They keep thinking whether they will be good enough for their child. Fears of pain during the labor or complications during delivery are common in the third trimester.
Fear is often followed by anxiety. During the period of pregnancy, anxiety and fear systems in brain ramp up. This makes sure that the mother will keep her child protected and loved after his birth. However, severe anxiety can damage the immune system of the baby.
Anger is another emotion that you will feel often during your pregnancy. There are several reasons reported for angry pregnant women. Generally, pregnancy hormones like estrogen and progesterone, initiate your anger. These hormones make you overthink everything and react to even minor issues. Other than these fluctuations, inequality at work, less care and sometimes, too much care also trigger the anger.
Where did I put my keys? Oh no, I missed my appointment! That’s the condition of almost every pregnant women, especially in the late pregnancy. Short term memory lapses and forgetfulness during pregnancy are characterized as ‘pregnancy brain’ or ‘baby brain’ (similar symptoms are referred to as ‘mommy brain’ or ‘momnesia’ after the birth of baby). Studies show varying results on this problem. It may be due to the hormonal fluctuations, less sleep, stress or anxiety.
During the second and third trimester, body changes in many ways. Women gain weight, the baby bump becomes visible and they become less attractive. These changes result in various complex emotions. Some women love their body and others develop a feeling of stress and low self-confidence. They are ashamed to face people and want to be normal again as soon as possible. This can affect the mom and child’s bonding.
Most of the pregnant women also complain about the weeping and sad feelings. The truth is, your emotions become so unpredictable during these nine months that even you are unable to understand yourself. Sometimes you end up crying while watching TV apparently for no reason or you may feel like weeping after you got over with your morning sickness. It all happens suddenly and unknowingly. It can be a result of hormonal imbalance, morning sickness, depression or relationship problems.
The urge to organize everything and decorate your home is known as nesting. It is an Old Wives’ saying that when this instinct starts, it’s time to go into labor. However, its relation to pregnancy is currently unknown and some of the experts say that this urge can also be a spring cleaning instinct. It can also occur because of excitement, boredom or the sense of responsibility developing in a mother. So, your urge to cook, clean your home or washing may have no relationship with your pregnancy.
Yes, you guessed right. The roller coaster of your emotions does not stop at the birth of your baby. You may feel depressed even after the delivery. Postpartum period is susceptible to depression and anxiety as your hormone levels suddenly drop and also because you are not eating and sleeping well lately. Sadness, insomnia, frequent crying and sense of loss are some of the symptoms of depression. If the problem becomes serious, immediately take help from a counselor or it can affect your relationship with the little angel.
Natural Remedies For Mood Swings And Irritability In Pregnancy:
Many people think that over the counter antidepressants will do the trick, but in reality, they will only harm your baby and your condition may also become worse than before, so don’t choose medicine to solve your problem. Always rely on natural remedies because they will handle the situation in the best way.
If you keep storing all the anger, anxiety and depression in your brain, your nerves can break down someday. Take it all out. Talk to somebody about your feelings and emotions, be it your partner, a close friend, a therapist, your parents or a diary. Yes, if you have nobody to share your feelings with, you can keep a diary, because “paper is patient” and it will keep all your secrets to itself and will let you relax.
Mainly, the muddled emotions are a result of inactivity during pregnancy. In that case, light exercise is the best treatment because it increases the flow of Endorphin which induces the ‘feel good’ factor in the mother. Do simple exercises like yoga and walk as they are the mood elevators even in a normal person. Breathing exercises also help to decrease anxiety and calm your nerves.
Don’t Push Yourself:
It is totally fine if you couldn’t complete your goals of the day. Don’t be too hard on yourself and take everything easy because this is the period when you have to pamper yourself. You can skip a day or two for relaxing and absolutely no multitasking. Forget about everything you didn’t do today and go to bed because whatever it is, it’s not more important than your health and it can wait until tomorrow.
Stay In The Daylight:
Spend more time of the day outside in the sun. A little walk in the sunshine will relax your mind and heart. Also, absorbing enough of the daylight will make your nights peaceful and you will wake up happy and healthy in the morning.
Adopt A Hobby:
If you love painting or reading books or gardening or something else useful, then it’s a good news for you. You can do what you like during these nine months as you have plenty of free time. It will help to keep your mind busy and you won’t have to counter any negative thoughts.
Relax Your Mind:
If you are busy in doing something that you like, your mind will not bother you with depressing thoughts. Engage yourself in the things you like the most. You can listen to the good music, go on a vacation, read some good novels, watch a movie with friends, treat yourself to a yummy dinner, have a morning walk or look at some pictures of good old times. In fact, you can do anything that will make you feel good, relaxed and happy.
Be More Social:
If you have lots of people around you, you will have no time to think about anything. Interact with people, visit your friends and enjoy your time away from the loneliness of your home. It is said that right company has a positive effect on your personality. So, laugh and enjoy with your friends, because laughter is the best antidepressant that nature has to offer.
Take Enough Sleep:
When you are pregnant, you will be tired easily and your exhausted body and mind will overreact to every insignificant thing. Try to go to bed super early and take plenty of sleep so your body can recover the strength lost during your day’s work.
Choose Healthy Food:
It seems a little strange but your stomach also has an effect on your brain, affecting your emotions and feelings. Make your diet healthy and eat what you think will keep your energy intact. If you are fully fed, then you will notice that your mood will also improve and you will feel happier and better.
If you think that your diet is insufficient for your body’s needs, ask your pediatrician to prescribe you some safe food supplements containing Omega 3 or fatty acids. In addition to this, you can add walnuts, brown rice, cabbage, whole grain oats and cod liver oil to your diet for extra nutrients.
When To Worry?
If your mood swings last more than two weeks, you must see your health care advisor so he will refer you to a counselor or therapist. This is because severe mood swings can be the signs of depression which 14 to 23 percent of pregnant women face. It can also be the bipolar disorder (mood alternates between depression and insanity). Symptoms of severe depression include:
- Loss of appetite
- Short term memory loss
- Disturbed sleep or insomnia
- Irritability and continuous anxiety
- Inability to concentrate on anything for too long
If any of these signs appear or your mood swings get intense, immediately contact your doctor because you are in serious need of a therapy.
Are you pregnant for the first time and can’t understand your emotions? Do tell us how you found this article helpful, through your comments. If you are an expert mom, you can share your experiences about the mood swings you have gone through, during your pregnancy and what helped you to be normal again.