Your Emotions During Pregnancy
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Being pregnant brings with it a whole host of emotions, ranging from the ecstatically excited to being completely unreasonable or neurotic. You can change from feeling one way to another in quick succession. You can experience huge highs and lows, some of them appear out of the blue, yet all are totally normal.
When you are pregnant, the hormones oestrogen and progesterone whizz around inside your body at fluctuating levels, effecting your brain and emotions. These racing hormones also cause your body to go through huge changes, having an impact on your mood. You may feel exhausted or sick in the first few months of your pregnancy, and you may feel tired with a heavy bump in the last few months. Although you will be looking forward to meeting your baby, you may also feel some very natural anxieties about the future. You might worry about giving birth as the time draws nearer, or about how you are going to cope financially when you give up work, or about the impact having a baby will put on your relationship. So, it is only natural that when you have so much on your mind you may suddenly feel overwhelmed, and you wouldn't be the first pregnant woman to suddenly burst into tears in public for no apparent reason!
Why do I have mood swings?
Although it may not feel like it, your pregnancy emotions are a really good thing. Their purpose is to reduce the rational side of your personality and make the emotional side stronger, which should help prepare you for the emotional rollercoaster of giving birth, becoming a mother and bonding with your new baby.
Some women find that coping with these emotions becomes easier once they know why they are happening and what to expect. This should help to make you feel slightly more in control of your situation and alleviate any guilt you may experience for having these emotions or feelings.
What can I do about my mood swings?
As the saying goes: 'it's good to talk'. Keep talking to the people around you about how you are feeling during your pregnancy. Making, growing and having a baby is one of the most significant and unpredictable events that will happen in your life and many people will want to support you through your pregnancy journey. If you would rather not talk about your emotions, try writing down how you are feeling. Once you have blurted it all out onto paper you may find you feel a lot better about it - you could even keep a diary to look back on and have a giggle at your irrational behaviour once you've given birth.
If you are feeling great, put that energy to good use. You could go shopping for baby clothes or start decorating the nursery.
If you are worrying about things, try to relax and make time for yourself. Have a pampering session - take a bath, paint your nails, read a magazine or even lie down in peace and quiet and focus on taking long, slow deep breaths. Try to keep things in perspective as often we blow our concerns out of proportion. Read a book on pregnancy, go to antenatal classes or speak to your midwife or other mums - finding out more about childbirth and motherhood should increase your confidence and help to relieve your fears.
You may start to feel irritable and resent 'nice' people who give up their seat for you on the train or hold the door open for you. You don't feel any different, and as far as you are concerned you are still the same invincible woman and yet this baby dictates what you can eat, drink, feel and do. Try to remember that this is just for nine months, and your body will thank you for your healthy lifestyle during your pregnancy. Try not to overdo it and be sensible - now is not the time to go climbing ladders or jump-starting cars, make the most of having people around you that are happy to help you out.
What if I start to feel down or depressed?
If you are feeling down confide in your partner, a friend, family member or your midwife for support. Try to do positive things - maybe go for a walk, meet up with a friend for a coffee or watch a film. Listen to your body to work out what it might need, for example, rest if you are tired. If you start to cry but have no idea why, just go with it, let it all out and find someone to give you a big hug!
Around one in ten women develop depression during their pregnancy. If you find that you are feeling down every day, make sure you speak to your midwife or doctor about it.