"Happy Pregnancy!" - How to Deal with Mood Swings During Pregnancy
In the morning you're on top of the world, by evening you could be down in the dumps. As an expectant mother, you can expect to ride an emotional rollercoaster. Few women are spared from mood swings during pregnancy, or only experience them to a minor extent. These fluctuations range from euphoria and bliss to confusion, uncertainty, and sadness. Such emotional turmoil can be exhausting and bewildering for you and those close to you, but there are ways to prevent it.
What causes mood swings during pregnancy? Mood swings in pregnancy are caused by a hormonal upheaval. To optimally prepare your body for pregnancy and childbirth, your ovaries, and later your placenta, produce hormones like progesterone and estrogen, which can significantly affect your emotional state.
In this article, we not only reveal the origin of the infamous mood swings during pregnancy but also show you the best ways to deal with them.
Mood Swings During Pregnancy – How Do They Arise?
Whether and to what extent a woman will suffer from emotional highs and lows during pregnancy is impossible to predict. Responsible for the emotional chaos are the changes in the body's hormone levels that come with the onset of pregnancy.
Hormones such as progesterone and estrogen are typically produced in the ovaries. This process usually goes unnoticed as it happens automatically. Some sensitive women may notice a slight change in hormone concentration during their menstrual cycle, manifesting as tenseness or emotional disturbances.
Similar events occur when pregnancy begins, albeit to a much greater extent. Once the egg is successfully fertilized, the body starts to produce pregnancy-sustaining hormones and operates at full capacity. This prepares the entire organism to enable a healthy development for the baby.
Throughout the pregnancy, the release of progesterone and estrogen is further increased. While initially only the ovaries are responsible for their production, from the fifth month of pregnancy the placenta also participates and eventually takes over complete hormone production. As the placenta is formed, it already contributes to a small degree in hormone production. Due to this back and forth and the generally increased level of hormones, there can be significant mood swings, particularly in the first months of pregnancy.
How Do Mood Swings Manifest During Pregnancy?
The disrupted hormonal balance leads to intensified existing emotions and triggers unprecedented worries. Various situations suddenly seem more difficult than they are, and the reactions to them are more emotional than usual.
Here, extremely positive feelings can alternate with equally strong negative emotions:
- Feelings of happiness and joy
- Calm and serenity
- Pride in oneself
- Positive body image
- Uncertainty and fear
- Negative body image
- Over-sensitivity to comments or advice
- Frequent crying
While you may find yourself crying at cute animal videos, exaggerated anger might suddenly surge when your partner does something as benign as loading the dishwasher "incorrectly." Your emotions often seem to be amplified significantly, which can not only be stressful for you but also for the people around you. This makes it all the more important to inform yourself and to provide education to your loved ones. Further down in the article, you will learn the best ways to handle mood swings related to pregnancy.
When Do Mood Swings Begin and How Long Do They Last?
It is also difficult to pinpoint exactly when mood swings will occur. They can manifest as early as during implantation and persist until after birth. In the first trimester of pregnancy, the emotional turmoil is often the most intense, as this is when the greatest hormonal adjustments take place. Early in pregnancy, irritability and gloominess are particularly noticeable. Rising fears often also play a significant role during this stage.
Although the hormonal situation usually normalizes after the first 12 weeks of pregnancy, mood swings can still appear during the second and third trimesters. Towards the end of pregnancy, additional hormones like prolactin and oxytocin contribute to intense emotions once again.
For a Happy Pregnancy: What to Do About Mood Swings?
Of course, you can't change the hormonal situation in your body. However, we offer you tips on how to best cope with its effects. These strategies have been proven to be effective:
- A movie night or theater visit with friends or acquaintances
- Open conversations with your partner, a friend, your midwife, or your gynecologist
- Conscious relaxation, for example, in a warm bath, with a cup of tea, or reading a book
- Light physical activities
- Connecting with others who are in a similar situation
- Distracting yourself in any form (short trip, spa day, etc.)
Let It All Out
First things first: fighting against deep sadness or great joy is futile. Primarily, you should accept your emotional state as it is and try to steer it at least towards something more bearable. As an expectant mother, you shouldn't be too hard on yourself: It's okay to be "off track"!
Allow yourself to feel the emotions. Feel like crying? Then let the tears flow. You'll soon realize that things are looking up again. Also, let others know when you are feeling extremely happy and talk about your fears as well. You don't have to be ashamed of anything, and letting it all out is a better solution than stubbornly fighting against it.
Talk About Your Feelings
It often helps to voice what you feel and what's on your mind. The first person you should turn to is your partner, but close friends and relatives can also provide support. Your midwife is also a good point of contact, as they have a lot of experience dealing with the fears, worries, and doubts that come with pregnancy.
Even if it seems like small issues or you're afraid of being misunderstood, you should talk about what's weighing on your heart. If you can't open up in person, there are many groups for pregnant women on social media where mutual support is available.
Exercise and Sports Instead of Lying on the Couch
Physical activity helps you clear your mind and sort through mental chaos. Exercise also releases hormones that trigger feelings of happiness. When sadness overwhelms you, moving around is definitely more beneficial than remaining in bed or lying on the couch, waiting for it to get better on its own. Depending on your mood, it might be hard to motivate yourself. Remember that a bit of movement in the fresh air – even if it's just a short walk – is good not only for you but also for your growing baby.
Your diet can also have a significant impact on your emotional life and affect mood swings during pregnancy. Especially important are magnesium, omega-3 fatty acids, and B-vitamins. However, before you change your diet or turn to dietary supplements, you should urgently discuss this plan with your gynecologist.
Massages and Meditation
Easier said than done, but when you're feeling agitated, relaxation can help. In addition to specialized pregnancy massages, you can also have your partner give you gentle massages and pampering. This lets your partner actively help you, and you both gain valuable couple time. Certain meditation techniques or yoga can also help you stabilize your mood and reduce stress.
Caution: When Fear and Sadness Dominate
As you now know, mood swings during pregnancy are completely normal to a certain degree. However, if you're experiencing prolonged periods of doubt, sadness, anger, and/or fear that go beyond what's typical, it could be an early sign of pregnancy depression. Other typical symptoms include lack of drive, difficulty concentrating, loss of appetite, and negative thoughts.
Please be always mindful of your well-being and listen to your body. If you feel that your emotional state exceeds the bounds of usual mood swings and it becomes a real burden, you should seek a conversation with your midwife or your gynecologist. Pregnancy-related depression can be treated effectively, especially if it's addressed early on.
Photo by @soapbubbbles
Preparation Brings Anticipation
Sooner or later, nearly every pregnant woman experiences it: the nesting instinct. Suddenly, the apartment is rearranged, clothes and other products for the baby are purchased, and the washing machine is running non-stop - everything must be perfectly prepared for the baby's arrival.
One thing that can bring particular joy is choosing the right diapers. We at Judes stand for sustainable, healthy, and above all simple diapers. Our cloth diapers are made entirely without chemicals and are excellently conceived. Our system consists of two parts - an outer diaper and an inner diaper - and is just as easy to use as a disposable diaper. Many parents even testify that the application is simpler.
Why does choosing our diapers contribute to your happy pregnancy? The color selection from Judes leaves little to be desired and makes our diapers far more attractive than disposables. Moreover, it's certain: by purchasing from Judes, you're doing something good!
Because our cloth diapers are washed and reused after use, you're actively contributing to waste prevention. If you also use our washcloths, you can avoid using classic wet wipes altogether.
But you're not just doing something good for the earth. Our fabrics are completely free from chemicals (in contrast to disposables) and very skin-friendly. Just right for delicate baby skin! The breathable fabrics also ensure good air circulation, preventing skin irritation.