Many women experience frustrating mood swings while they are pregnant. Despite being a natural result of the hormonal changes that take place during this time, mood swings can feel debilitating and difficult to manage. Read on for more information on overcoming mood swings during pregnancy.
What Causes Mood Swings during Pregnancy?
Mood swings are frequent and abrupt changes in your emotional state that can come on unexpectedly and may be a disproportionate reaction to certain situations. Natural hormonal changes can cause mood swings in pregnant women.
Hormonal and Chemical Changes
Every woman responds differently to the combination of changes the happen during pregnancy. Many expectant mothers experience heightened emotions, both good and bad, in the months before child birth. A majority of women find that moodiness flares up in the first 6 to 10 weeks of their pregnancy, dissipates during the second trimester, and then reappears near the end of their pregnancy when hormone balance is being restored.
Another factor that affects mood swings during pregnancy is the physical changes the body goes through. Some women may feel unattractive or uncomfortable in their bodies while pregnant. Painful physical symptoms such as heartburn, fatigue, and frequent urination can also raise stress levels and provoke mood swings. Anxiety and stress resulting from these physical changes often increase emotional peaks and valleys.
Mood swings are also a natural mental reaction during pregnancy. You may feel exhilarated at the thought of having a baby, and then just as quickly question your decisions or wonder what it will be like when the baby comes. There are a host of fears that may feed into mood swings, such as whether the baby will be healthy, what kind of mother you'll be, and whether finances will be stable. These are all normal feelings and concerns that any expectant mother might face.
What Can I Do to Alleviate Mood Swings?
Mood swings are just another aspect of pregnancy, and knowing what to expect emotionally and physically can help. Here are some tips for managing stress and relieving mood swings:
- Get plenty of sleep
- Take time to rest and relax
- Exercise regularly
- Eat a balanced diet
- Take time for yourself
- Try pregnancy yoga class or meditation
In addition to lifestyle adjustments, there are some alternative remedies that have been shown to lessen negative symptoms of pregnancy. Natural herbs can help stabilize fluctuating hormones and improve symptoms like mood swings.
- 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.