Pregnancy Mood Swings

image001Mood swings are one of the best known and least liked side effects of pregnancy. The extreme changes in emotion are caused by changes in the body’s hormonal balance, which affects the chemistry of the brain.

Many women, especially those that suffer from premenstrual syndrome, will suffer from mood swings while they are pregnant. Learning about what causes your mood swings during pregnancy and how you can deal with the symptom can help make your pregnancy much easier.

What Causes Pregnancy Mood Swings?

Scientists have determined that the high levels of hormones in a pregnant woman’s body affect the levels of neurotransmitters, the chemicals that carry messages in the brain. When the amount of a particular neurotransmitter increases or falls, it increases and decreases emotions. In other words, you moods change accordingly as your progesterone and estrogen levels rise as your hormones surge during pregnancy, which can make you more irritated.

This is why some women become grumpy or angry during pregnancy and others become anxious or depressed. The increased levels of neurotransmitters also enhance the worries and frustrations associated with pregnancy.

When Do You Experience Pregnancy Mood Swings?

Most women experience mood swings during the first 12 weeks of pregnancy, but some will experience it early or later. The good news is that mood swings should let up in the second trimester. The bad news is that they can come back in the third trimester as the baby approaches and worries increase.

The third trimester mood swings are often worse because of the physical effects of pregnancy, such as heartburn and fatigue. These often make it harder for women to deal with mood swings.

What If Mood Swings Don’t Go Away

Even though mood swings are normal and natural, they can lead to serious mental health problems in some women. Around 10% of expectant mothers develop depression during pregnancy. Women with a history of mental illness seem to be more susceptible to these problems.

You should talk to your doctor if the mood swings last longer than two weeks. The doctor can refer you to another medical professional for help. Another time to consult a doctor is if the mood swings get worse. This can be a sign of bipolar disorder, which can be caused by hormonal imbalances during pregnancy.

Untreated emotional problems can lead to serious health and other problems later on. Some women are not able to resume normal activities, such as work or care for children because of such problems. Fortunately, there are treatments available, including counseling, therapy, and drugs. You can also try the following tips to lift your mood.

How to Deal with Pregnancy Mood Swings

It is possible to live with mood swings if you understand them and know what to do. Here are a few tips that can help you survive pregnancy mood swings:

What You Can Do

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Do something that takes your mind off the swings

Any activity that you enjoy, such as listening to music, going to the movies, watching TV, reading, or doing a hobby, can take your mind off the mood swings. Fun activities seem to work best.

Get some rest

Society puts a lot of pressure on women to be busy. This can lead to overwork, which can make you tired and grumpy and make mood swings worse. Cut back on work and household chores and try to give yourself a few hours of downtime every day. Try to delegate some of the chores such as cooking, laundry, etc., to other members of the household.

Talk about it

Worries and frustrations can build up and make the situation. Try talking about your worries with your husband or boyfriend, friends, mother, sister, or, if necessary, counselor. Simply blowing off steam can make the situation better. Make sure others know what you are going through.

Turn to your man

Many women make the mistake of suffering through pregnancy alone. Tell your husband about your mood swings and turn to him for help. Try spending a lot of time together and doing fun stuff to take your mind off the mood swings.

Don’t let stress take over

Pregnancy can be a very stressful time with flaring emotions and worries about the future. Reducing activities, increasing sleep, listening to soothing music can reduce stress. If these don’t help, yoga and meditation can help you control stress.

Get some exercise

Regular exercise can help you reduce stress, lift your mood, and help you stay in physical health. Walking, swimming, and yoga are three of the best exercises for pregnant women. Make sure you consult your doctor before starting an exercise regimen.

Don’t forget to eat healthy snacks

Many women make mood swings worse by not snacking or, worse, snacking on junk food, candy, or soda pop, which make the situation worse. Keep healthy snacks such as hard cheese, yogurt, nuts, peanuts and trail mix handy. Any snack with a lot of complex carbohydrates and proteins can give your body the extra food it needs.

Watch the following video to learn about yoga to combat pregnancy mood swings: