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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.
Factors That May Cause Anger While Pregnant
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.
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.
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.
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.
Can Anger Affect Your Unborn Child?
A pregnant woman experiencing anger 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 affects the baby in the following ways:
- Low birth weight
- Premature delivery
- Unfavourable effect on baby’s temperament (more prone to irritability and depression)
- Higher chances of child being hyperactive
- Restricted cognitive abilities
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:
1. 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 to maintain the energy levels and combat fatigue and tiredness, resulting in a better mood.
2. Regular Exercise
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 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 can help relieve stress and divert one’s attention to more productive and entertaining things.
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. A basic pranayama exercise is to 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.
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.
7. Prioritise 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. 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 the 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.
During pregnancy, it is important to ensure that your physical and mental health is doing well. To experience some sort of stress and 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.
Also Read: Mood Swings During Pregnancy