Mood swings are a common symptom associated with the early stages of pregnancy, along with morning sickness. Being aware of the link between mood swings and pregnancy, as well as other signs, can help women to more easily recognize the situation earlier and handle the symptoms.
Understanding Mood Swings and Early Signs of Pregnancy
Mood swings are drastic changes in emotional state that are often inexplicable. The most common underlying cause of mood swings is hormonal imbalance that results from premenstrual syndrome (PMS), pregnancy, menopause, or thyroid disorders. However, mood swings are also a natural reaction to certain circumstances and emotional upheaval. Due to the link between mood swings and hormonal issues, they are often a symptom evident in newly pregnant women.
Mood swings can often leave a woman feeling anxious and depressed and can have an adverse impact on personal relationships. While mood swings can be one of the most difficult early pregnancy symptoms to deal with, there are certain methods that can successfully diminish the effect of mood swings on a woman's mental health.
Other Early Symptoms of Pregnancy
Symptoms differ for each woman, but several of them are commonly associated with pregnancy. In the early months of pregnancy, the most common symptoms are:
- Nausea and vomiting, often called “morning sickness”
- Enlarged and tender breasts
- Frequent urination
- Fatigue and exhaustion
- A metallic taste in the mouth
These are just a few of the early symptoms of pregnancy. If women suspect that they may be experiencing mood swings for another reason or are having other symptoms not in line with those listed above, they should visit their doctor.
Coping with Mood Swings and Early Signs of Pregnancy
Coping with pregnancy symptoms, including mood swings, can be difficult for many women as they adapt to the changes. However, there are several methods for easing the symptoms and making the process less difficult.
- Resting. Rest as much as you can. Take naps for 20 - 30 minutes per day if you have sleeping problems at night.
- Exercising regularly. Physical activity can help improve the balance of neurotransmitters in a woman's brain and uplift mood.
- Eating healthy. It's also important that women maintain a healthy and well-balanced diet to help lessen the frequency and intensity of their mood swings. While many women are tempted to “eat for two” while pregnant, this is a misconception, as the additional calorie intake required for pregnant women is very small. Increasing calcium, vitamin B9 (folic acid), and iron intake is recommended, though, in order to help supplement the body as it nourishes both the woman and the fetus.
Symptoms will often lessen as a woman progress through pregnancy and will generally disappear after she gives birth. Therefore, learning to deal with mood swings at the start of pregnancy in particular can be helpful for the whole process. If mood swings and other symptoms become too severe, women should consult a doctor. There are ways to balance hormone levels, which can subsequently reduce mood swings. Click on the following link to learn more about those treatments.
- Amin, Zenab, Turhan Canli, and C. Neill Epperson. "Effects of Estrogen-Serotonin Interactions on Mood and Cognition". Behav Cogn Neurosci Rev 2005; 4; 43.
- Dr. Love, Susan, and Karen Lindsey. Dr. Susan Love's Menopause and Hormone Book. New York: Three Rivers Press, 2003.
- Molecular Psychiatry.(n.d)."Estrogen Promotes Gender Difference in Brain's Response to Stress". Retrieved from www.psycheducation.org.
- The Health Center.(n.d)."Adult Mood Swings". Retrieved from www.thehealthcenter.info.