Mood Swings during Pregnancy: Causes & Tips to Cope With Them

Mood Swings While Pregnant: Reasons & What You Need to Do

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Dr. Rashmi Prakash (Psychologist/Psychotherapist)
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Mood swings are a common symptom of pregnancy and can be triggered by a variety of factors such as hormonal changes, stress, and health issues. While pregnant, if you feel utter joy in one moment and feel agitated or upset with just about everyone, the next moment, you know these behavioural changes are due to mood swings. The good news is that mood swings are temporary and you’ll soon be even-tempered again. But if you want to know how you can manage mood swings while pregnant, give this article a read.

Video: Mood Swings During Pregnancy – Causes and How to Deal With It

What Are Mood Swings in Pregnancy?

Mood swings, essentially are abrupt changes in your feelings and behaviour. You may find yourself overjoyed at the idea of becoming a ‘mother’ on some days while on others you may feel overwhelmed by the same thought. Being happy and bursting out in tears within seconds is what mood swings are like. And while they may not make much sense to you, but you will experience them, especially in the first trimester of your pregnancy!

Are Pregnancy Mood Swings Normal?

Pregnancy is a time when drastic changes take place in a woman’s body and hormonal fluctuations are one of them. With hormonal changes, you’re bound to experience a surge in emotions. Mood swings are more common in women who experience PMS often. However, there is no need to worry or panic at all as these mood swings are as normal as your off-beat pregnancy cravings. It’s your body’s way of adjusting to all the internal changes.

What Causes Mood Swings During Pregnancy?

Mood swings are a result of constant hormonal changes in your body and these hormonal mood swings during pregnancy can make your pregnancy an emotional roller-coaster ride. However, contrary to popular belief, hormonal changes alone aren’t the reason why these mood changes occur. Following are some reasons why you may be experiencing mood swings while pregnant.

1. Surge in Hormonal Levels

One of the primary causes of mood swings during pregnancy is a surge in hormones progesterone and oestrogen. These hormonal changes affect the neurotransmitters (the chemicals that carry messages) in your brain. When there is an increase or decrease in the amount of these neurotransmitters, it directly affects how you emote. You may become anxious, grumpy, or irritable or excited and happy, all of a sudden.

2. Stress

Worrying about the future and your growing baby’s well-being or delivery could also cause a fluctuation in your hormones, which could affect your mood.

3. Common Health Changes

There are other common changes that your body may experience during pregnancy as a result of which you could observe changes in your mood. Common issues associated with pregnancy such as heartburn, frequent urination and fatigue can affect your health and mood.

4. Emotional and Physical Stress

Women, during this time, can become particularly sensitive and even the smallest thing may tick them off. Emotional stress is another huge factor responsible for mood swings. Similarly, physical stress and too much activity can also affect your mood. Metabolism, too, can impact your mood. In effect, your emotions can run helter-skelter for a whole lot of reasons.

When Do Mood Swings Occur in Pregnancy?

Women usually experience mood swings in the first and the last trimester of their pregnancy although you could experience them through all stages. Mood swings in the first week of pregnancy set the stage for the first trimester and for the rest of the pregnancy. Let’s see how these mood swings affect a woman in three trimesters:

Pregnancy Mood Swings Explained Trimester-wise

As pregnancy is divided into three trimesters, you may find it meaningful to know what each phase is like in order to be prepared and experience the different stages of pregnancy in a better way:

1. Mood Swings During the First Trimester

The initial phase of pregnancy may be slightly difficult to deal with, especially for women who are going to have a baby for the first time, as they are not accustomed to experiencing such sudden changes. Pregnancy mood swings in the first trimester can seem to be quite prominent in most cases. However, some women may experience them at a later stage as well. Morning sickness to irritability will all come at once and make sure you cut yourself some slack as it is alright to behave the way you do.

Mood Swings During the First Trimester

2. Mood Swings During the Second Trimester

The second trimester seems to be the calmest phase of pregnancy. If you’ve already experienced mood swings in the first phase, it’s time to relax. Pregnancy mood swings in the second trimester are not that prominent as it is quite likely you have come to terms with the hormonal roller coaster your body is going through. This holds true for most women, however, some women may start having mood changes in this phase as well.

3. Mood Swings During the Third Trimester

Mood swings in the third trimester of pregnancy are expected to peak and often worsen. This is especially difficult because women tend to experience heartburn and insomnia and also feel very tired at this stage. As a result, it’s possibly the hardest phase of pregnancy to cope with.

What If Your Pregnancy Moods Swings Don’t Stop?

Mood swings are extremely common during pregnancy. However, if you feel that they seem to overwhelm you beyond your capacity to manage them, you could consider some effective ways to deal with them. Alternatively, you could also consult your doctor.

How to Control Mood Swings During Pregnancy

Controlling mood swings may not be as difficult as it may seem. Each woman can explore different options and choose the one that works best for them. So, how to handle emotions during pregnancy? You could consider any of the following options:

1. Get Adequate Sleep

Being pregnant is not easy and your body needs all the rest it can get. Make sure you are sleeping well and getting adequate rest.

2. Engage in Regular Physical Activity

Mild exercises during pregnancy are usually advised by most doctors. Physical activity releases endorphins, which can make you feel relaxed and happy during pregnancy. If you want to start exercising during pregnancy, check with your doctor to find out which physical exercises you should start with.

3. Spend Some Time With Your Partner

Talking about how and what exactly you feel is all the therapy you need. You must be vocal about your emotions and discussing with your partner always helps. After all, it is a team effort!

Spend Some Time With Your Partner

4. Have Nutritious Meals

You must be very careful about what you eat during pregnancy, as it can also impact your mood. It is observed that high-calorie foods are usually high in the glycemic index, which affects the sugar levels in the body. As a result of this, you may experience sudden mood swings. Therefore having a balanced nutritious diet is highly recommended.

5. Indulge in Fun Activities Like Watching a Movie With Your Friends

Some fun time with your friends and family can relax you as nothing else would. So invite your friends over and watch a nice movie with them. A change in your routine can do good to your health. You can also call up your friend and talk to them, and you will feel much relaxed.

6. Get a Massage

Nothing like a spa treatment. Your body is undergoing physical stress and to help relieve some, a massage can always help.

7. Take a Walk

Some ‘me’ time is essential during pregnancy and after childbirth. Taking a walk can help you calm down and gather your thoughts. Have a walk in your garden to get a breath of fresh air. If you don’t want to go alone, you can always ask your partner to join you.

When to Seek Professional Help

Most of the time you will be able to handle mood swings on your own. But if your mood swings seem to get out of control, you should see your doctor. This is especially true if you’re dealing with anxiety, health problems or any other issues. Also, if depression sets in, it’s very important to let your doctor know right away. Your well-being is critical because it affects the health of your child.

Depression can be very harmful if untreated or talked about and can increase your risk of pre-term labour and postpartum depression – a mood disorder after childbirth. Although every new mother is at risk of depression, look for predictors to identify them. These include anxiety during pregnancy, stressful life events, traumatic childbirth experience, lack of support, and so on. Consider talking to your doctor when your mood swings seem difficult to manage or if the remedies you’ve tried don’t seem to work.

Mood swings are common during pregnancy but don’t let them keep you from enjoying your pregnancy phase. There are different ways to manage pregnancy mood swings, you might have to test a few options to see which one works for you. Stay happy and have a healthy pregnancy!

Also Read: Anger during Pregnancy

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