Anger During Pregnancy - Effects and Tips to Control

Anger During Pregnancy – Effects & How to Control It?

Medically Reviewed By
Dr. Sanjana Sainani (Gynecologist/Obstetrician)
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Pregnancy is an exciting time in every woman’s life. While being pregnant can invoke the thrill and joy of having a baby, it can also render the woman vulnerable to feelings of stress, anger, irritation and anxiety. Though it is perfectly normal to feel angry and frustrated at times during pregnancy, continued anger may have certain repercussions. The mother-baby bonding is such that the baby gets to feel all that its mother experiences, including anger.

Aside from this, long-term repressed anger can result in depression – it can not only adversely affect relationships but also cause medical conditions like high blood pressure, ulcers, asthma, headaches, and digestive issues. This can make for an unsafe environment for the baby, which can be detrimental to the pregnancy. It is important for pregnant women to stay positive and calm, and not let the varying emotions overwhelm them in any way. Let’s learn more about pregnancy rage!

Video: Anger During Pregnancy – Effects and How to Control It

Factors That May Cause Anger While Pregnant

Thinking “Why am I so angry during pregnancy?” Certain factors that may cause anger while pregnant are:

1. Hormonal Changes

Anger during pregnancy can be attributed to fluctuating pregnancy hormones. The hormonal changes during this time may trigger regular mood swings, ultra-sensitivity, and strong and intense feelings. Usually, the anger surges can be traced to something upsetting that may have occurred earlier.

2. Stress

It is common to feel slightly stressed during pregnancy. This may happen due to several reasons like physical discomfort, inadequate rest, lack of sleep, an unsupportive partner, an overload of work, job-related stress, and financial worries to name a few. Constant stress can adversely affect one’s anger managing capabilities and may lead to angry outbursts.

3. Fear

Another cause for anger during pregnancy can be the fear of the unknown or the future. Pregnant women may have concerns about their pregnancy progressing smoothly, labour pains, the health of the unborn baby, or any probable complication or illness. These fears can be quite overwhelming, and anger may become a possible reaction to them.

4. Discomfort

A certain amount of discomfort is inevitable during pregnancy owing to the physical transitions that take place during this phase. Pregnant women normally experience sickness, nausea, and fatigue among other things. Discomfort may lead to irritability or intense emotions like anger at unexpected times, especially if the reasons for discomfort are not dealt with suitably.

Pregnant woman feeling frustrated

Can Anger Affect Your Unborn Child?

A woman experiencing anger in pregnancy can result in certain biological and physiological changes like increased blood pressure and heart rate; levels of hormones like epinephrine and adrenaline shoot up, resulting in the constriction of blood vessels. This decreases the supply of oxygen and blood to the foetus which may prove harmful to the growth of the baby. Prolonged or extreme anger during pregnancy may have the tendency to lead to certain complications, even during delivery. It is believed that being continually angry during pregnancy can cause the following complications:

  • The baby may have a low birth weight
  • Premature delivery
  • Unfavourable effect on baby’s temperament (more prone to irritability and depression)
  • Higher chances of the child being hyperactive

Premature newborn with low birth weight

Pregnancy-related stress can elevate blood pressure, potentially resulting in conditions like preeclampsia and other complications.

Tips to Deal With Anger

No one knows you better than yourself, so you can take appropriate steps to relax and manage your anger. Here are a few ways you can manage your anger during pregnancy if you are an angry pregnant woman:

1. Follow a Healthy Diet

During pregnancy, care should be taken to eat healthy and nutritious meals. A balanced diet with lots of proteins and carbohydrates, green leafy vegetables, and fruits will help you maintain the energy levels and combat fatigue and tiredness, which will improve your mood.

2. Exercise Regularly

Maintain an active routine during pregnancy by indulging in light exercises or regular walks. Staying active and fit during pregnancy may take care of mood swings and anger by releasing endorphins, keeping you in a happy and positive state of mind.

3. Indulge in Your Favourite Activities

It is beneficial for pregnant women to indulge in hobbies they enjoy – relaxing or spending time with their friends, going out for movies, painting, listening to music, or gardening. These activities can help relieve stress and divert one’s attention to more productive and entertaining things.

4. Meditate

Pregnant women may take up meditation or yoga to deal with stress and anger. It is advisable to learn deep breathing exercises that will help in releasing tension and calming the self.

Deep breathing can be a great stress-buster when done right. Here are a few breathing exercises you can do during pregnancy:

  • Pranayama: This is a breathing exercise that has several benefits, including having a calming effect on the mind. Here’s a basic pranayama exercise that you can do: take a deep breath, hold, and breathe out from your nose. Do this in 5-second intervals, for 10 minutes.
  • Deep and Shallow Breathing: Breathe in from your nose and hold for a few seconds. Then, breathe out from your mouth. Keep doing this in 5-second intervals for 10 minutes every day.
  • Stomach Breathing: Sit straight with your legs crossed, or on a comfortable chair. Take a deep breath in and expand your diaphragm when you do – the stomach should bulge out as you breathe in. Hold that for 5 seconds and breathe out, and watch your stomach go back in. Keep doing this for 10 minutes every day to attain calmness.

5. Get Massages

Gentle massages can help pregnant women relax, both physically and mentally. Pampering oneself with spa treatments can also ease aching muscles aside from calming the mind.

6. Walk Away From Arguments

Sometimes it is beneficial to simply avoid a difficult and tense situation. If you feel you are on the verge of losing your cool or the situation is becoming too much to handle, it is best to simply walk away.

Occasionally, taking a break from a situation or finding an alternative approach to a task can assist in regaining composure and managing anger more effectively.

7. Prioritise Your Work

With the progression of pregnancy, it may be very taxing to manage both your job and your household. In such a case, prioritise the things you really want and ask for help. Involve family members, hire help, or accept the help of your colleagues in order to avoid straining yourself unnecessarily.

8. Take Adequate Rest

Proper rest and a good night’s sleep are essential during pregnancy. If you are sleep deprived, it will only lead to heightened irritability and may result in angry outbursts. Setting up rest milestones like taking frequent naps, putting your feet up and resting often may prove helpful in ensuring that you get sufficient rest every day.

9. Release the Feelings

Venting your feelings – whether it is the excitement of welcoming your baby or the annoyance with a family member or colleague – is important. Keeping your feelings bottled up inside will only add to your irritability. Confide in a good friend or your partner and release your pent-up feelings. Alternately, you can try expressing your emotions through a journal or diary.

10. Make Yourself a Priority

Your happiness and health are of the utmost importance during pregnancy because the well-being of your baby is directly linked to it. Take steps to ensure you are physically and emotionally healthy and comfortable; wear comfortable clothes and footwear, have heart-to-heart conversations with your partner, and share your apprehensions with your family, friends, or doctor.

11. Seek Professional Help

It is best to seek the help of a counsellor or therapist if you are experiencing frequent bouts of extreme anger during pregnancy.

Woman taking session with therapist

When to Call the Doctor?

It’s normal to experience occasional stress or hormone-related bouts of anger during pregnancy, as they are part of human existence. Differentiating between typical hormonal mood swings and a potentially serious situation is crucial. Your own emotional baseline, along with input from loved ones, helps gauge what’s normal and when it’s advisable to seek professional assistance.

If you notice a consistent escalation in the frequency, intensity, or duration of your pregnancy-related anger and mood swings lasting beyond two weeks, it’s important to consult your healthcare provider. If your anger begins to disrupt your relationships or daily functioning, it could be indicative of a more serious condition like antenatal depression or anxiety, warranting a referral to a counsellor.

FAQs

1. Can Anger Cause Miscarriage?

Though excessive anger can negatively impact your overall well-being, there is no evidence to suggest that pregnancy and anger directly leads to miscarriage.

2. When Does Anger Start in Pregnancy?

Many mothers notice increased irritability due to hormonal shifts around week 6 of pregnancy. Mood swings are characteristic, spanning from week 6 through the first trimester. The second trimester often offers some relief. However, expect a return of irritability in the third trimester, mirroring early pregnancy.

3. Can Traumatic Experiences in the Past Contribute to Anger During Pregnancy?

Research shows that previous traumatic events, such as accidents, interpersonal violence, or disasters, can lead to post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) in pregnant women. This can manifest as anger, which is one of the symptoms of PTSD.

During pregnancy, it is important to ensure that your physical and mental health is doing well. To experience some sort of stress and uncontrollable anger during pregnancy is not only common but also expected. However, efforts should be made to enjoy this thrilling phase of life as much as possible and focus on the happiness of welcoming a beautiful baby.

References/Resources:

1. Control anger before it controls you; apa.org; https://www.apa.org/topics/anger/control

2. Stress and pregnancy; marchofdimes.org; https://www.marchofdimes.org/find-support/topics/pregnancy/stress-and-pregnancy

3. Can stress cause miscarriage?; tommys.org; https://www.tommys.org/baby-loss-support/miscarriage-information-and-support/frequently-asked-questions-about-miscarriage/can-stress-cause-miscarriage

4. Anger Management; hhma.org; https://hhma.org/healthadvisor/aha-anger-bha/

5. Mood Swings During Pregnancy; americanpregnancy.org; https://americanpregnancy.org/healthy-pregnancy/pregnancy-health-wellness/mood-swings-during-pregnancy/

6. Pregnancy stages and changes; betterhealth.vic.gov.au; https://www.betterhealth.vic.gov.au/health/healthyliving/pregnancy-stages-and-changes

7. Emotions during pregnancy; nct.org.uk; https://www.nct.org.uk/pregnancy/how-you-might-be-feeling/emotions-during-pregnancy

8. Stress and pregnancy; pregnancybirthbaby.org.au; https://www.pregnancybirthbaby.org.au/stress-and-pregnancy

Also Read:

Bad Dreams when Pregnant
Anxiety Attacks in Pregnancy
How to Deal with Depression during Pregnancy
Fighting While Pregnant & Its Effects On You & Your Baby

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