To say that pregnancy is a rollercoaster of emotions would be a gross understatement. You’ll find yourself experiencing many moods all at once–from joy to anxiety, from excitement to nervousness, from discomfort to love. While all these dispositions begin to show from the moment you uncover you are pregnant, you’ll notice that mood swings get worse in second trimester.
At this stage in your pregnancy, pretty much everything and anything can irk you. From the colour of your curtains, to the fact that you are now getting bigger, everything under the sun can make you irritable.
The good news is that this is normal for most women. What you need to understand is why it happens and the ways to manage them.
What Causes These Mood Swings?
Image source: iStock
Several factors like physical discomforts, ever-changing hormones, and everyday worries of the changes (physical and emotional) lead to mood swings in pregnancy. Out of these, the most significant factor causing mood swings is the ever-changing levels of pregnancy hormones.
Pregnancy Hormones and Mood Swings
Pregnancy hormones, estrogen, and progesterone are specifically responsible for mood swings.
Estrogen is associated with the ‘happy hormone’ serotonin, which is a neurotransmitter. Although, serotonin does not directly affect your happiness, any imbalance in estrogen levels affects this neurotransmitter.
This imbalance results in its dysfunction and causes mood swings, especially during gestation and early pregnancy. You may also experience anxiety and irritability due to the same reason.
Another hormone that affects your moods is progesterone.
During this stage, along with estrogen, pregnancy hormone progesterone also rapidly increases. It is associated with relaxation, and is secreted more during the first trimester of pregnancy. During pregnancy, this hormone relaxes the muscles, sometimes to prevent premature contractions.
As good as this sounds, sometimes it can make a woman a little too relaxed, which means the usual adrenaline rush is absent. They are conscious of everything leading them to feel fatigued and sad.
Now let’s take you through each trimester and the mood swings you can expect to experience.
First Trimester: Changes and Effects
Image source: iStock
Hormones do play a significant role in mood swings, but it’s not just them. There are other factors that’ll lead to mood swings, especially during the first trimester.
Physical discomforts like morning sickness can also cause emotional distress.
The stress of thinking about morning sickness can also lead to anxiety.
Fatigue is another reason for mood swings. Nobody can function properly if they are physically or emotionally tired. And extreme tiredness is what you may feel during the first month.
Second Trimester: Changes And Effects
The second trimester is also known as the ‘honeymoon’ phase. During the second trimester of pregnancy, hormonal imbalance slows down. You feel more energetic as the morning sickness almost subsides after the first 13 weeks. But mood swings get worse during the second trimester. Here are a few reasons that may not have occurred to you.
Body changes. This is a phase when you notice changes in your body shape, and maternity clothing come into the picture. You may have mixed emotions about it. You may feel excited to finally see your baby growing and feel anxious and insecure about the weight gain.
Ultrasound scan anxiety. Many things like amniocentesis which is the prenatal test is undertaken during the second trimester. Often times the expectation of results can cause anxiety, leading to emotional stress. It is also when your baby has almost developed, and you learn and gather as much information as you can.
Unsolicited advice or information. Reading about all the things that could do wrong during pregnancy and labour can make you anxious.
Labour anxiety. Many women also experience labour anxiety at this stage. Knowing about ways of giving birth to your child and all the pros and cons of it contribute to it, which in turn causes mood swings to become worse during the second trimester.
But, know that not all these mood swings are negative. You may experience increased libido and sexual desire during the second trimester. And things may start to feel better for you due to the increased blood flow to your pelvic region. S
Third Trimester: Changes And Effects
In your third trimester, you may face a different set of challenges that can lead you to experience various mood swings.
Fatigue. You may experience difficulty in feeling comfortable and/or sleeping that results in fatigue. This fatigue due to sleep deprivation also is a reason for mood swings.
Labour anxiety. There is constant fear and many worries as you near birth. You may have a birth plan already, but chances are you are going over them again and again and stressing over something that hasn’t happened yet.
Nesting anxiety. Some women also go through the nesting phase where you feel an urge to clean and organise items and prepare for the arrival of your baby. It can be both a positive and negative experience. While it may make you feel happy to welcome your bub into this new world, it may also give you anxiety from unreal expectations.
Coping With These Mood Swings
Image source: iStock
While mood swings can be a bummer, they are not in your control. You do not wish for anxiety or fear to appear out of nowhere, and still, they do. But there is nothing to worry. This is all part of the process of carrying your little one into this world. If you often feel a surge of varied emotions, here are a few things you can try:
Talk to your partner
When you have the outbursts, talk to them and let them know how you are feeling. This will not only make them feel included but also allow them to know how they can help. It can make your pregnancy journey a lot easier for both of you.
Experiencing fatigue and feeling uncomfortable is common in pregnancy. Make sure to take as many naps as you can so you can ease out a bit of the fatigue.
Try yoga or Meditation
Yoga or meditation can relieve you from anxiety and make you feel good. You can start with doing prenatal yoga twice a week and take it up a notch based on your doctor’s recommendations. As for meditation, ideally you should meditate every day, as it helps calm the nerves and makes you feel more energised.
Keep eating regular snacks
Eat regular snacks in between your meals, particularly the ones that are high in proteins and complex carbs, as it will help you steady your emotions.
Connect with other expecting moms
If you have friends who are also in the same phase as you, speak to them regularly. Talking to someone going through the same experience can lessen your fears and worries.
At the end, remember that mood swings are a part and parcel of pregnancy. Don’t think too much of them, they’ll ease as you get closer to your due date and you’ll experience a whole new positivity as soon as you hold your little one in your arms.