If you’re pregnant, you probably know all about having mood swings. If you’re not pregnant and are living with someone who is, you too probably know all about mood swings. Mood swings are a very common pregnancy symptom. One second you’re excited about the baby’s arrival, the next you’re wondering if this was a terrible idea. One day you’re buying shirts that say “#1 Mom,” and then next day you feel like you are the worst mother on earth.
Most women begin experiencing mood swings around six weeks into pregnancy. The moodiness usually lasts until about 10 weeks into pregnancy and tends to disappear during the second trimester. As the third trimester begins and the baby’s arrival draws closer, many women begin experiencing mood swings all over again. This is normal; remember that. Having a baby is an exciting but stressful time for many expectant parents.
Even your partner may be experiencing mood swings. It’s not unheard of for a partner to have “sympathy pains.” They too may be feeling some anxiety about the baby’s arrival. One day they think they’ll be a great parent, and the next day they are having doubts. No, they aren’t dealing with the different hormone changes or growing baby, but they are dealing with their pregnant partner, and that can be just as difficult.
Causes of Mood Swings
The main culprit is hormones. Hormonal changes affect the neurotransmitters in your brain. Neurotransmitters are the brain chemicals that regulate your mood.
Mood swings can also be caused by:
- Progesterone and Estrogen
- Emotional Stress
- Physical Stress
Managing Mood Swings
It’s important to remember that mood swings are a normal part of being pregnant, but continual feelings of depression are not. Approximately 10 percent of all expectant mothers face mild to moderate depression while they’re pregnant. If you feel like you could be one of these people, talk with your healthcare provider or get professional help. Dealing with consistent depression, anxiety, or nervousness is not good for your health or your baby’s health.
If you are not in need of professional help and know that the mood swings are due to the pregnancy, there are some things you can do to help manage your volatile emotions.
The first thing is to talk with your partner. Keeping a line of communication open at all times can not only help you feel better, but it can help your partner understand what you are going through. Your partner will be less likely to take your nasty comments, crying episodes, and fits of rage personally. Doing things together can also help prevent negative feelings. Even if the two of you simply take a walk, go see a movie, or spend the night indoors cuddling, it can help both of you manage the mood swings.
Speaking of bonding, it’s also important to spend time with friends and family. They knew you before you were pregnant, and they can help you deal with these trying times.
Try not to allow stress to build up. If something is bothering you, talk about it right away. Don’t let petty things build up, as they eventually snowball, until what was once a small problem to you becomes a huge problem for everyone. Get enough sleep and exercise. Even though you may feel tired, get out of the house and have fun. Meet friends or your partner for lunch. Go shopping. Do things that make you feel good, even if you do them alone.