For a lot of women, changing emotions is the most common side effect of pregnancy. It can be really frustrating, exhausting, and even unsettling at times—especially if you haven’t experienced mood swings, or dramatic mood shifts, before pregnancy.
Even if you were a fairly emotional person before pregnancy, these new and changing emotions can be a bit of a shock.
What’s Causing These Emotions?
Before we dive into the reason behind your pregnancy emotions, here’s an important reminder: you should not feel guilty or ashamed of your emotions. Heightened emotions during pregnancy are to be expected, regardless of how your emotional state was before getting pregnant.
There are a lot of factors, both external and internal, that can affect your emotional state. Here are a few possible causes.
One of the most obvious reasons you might feel more emotional during pregnancy is your changing hormones. Depending on where you are in your pregnancy, you’re experiencing an increase in your body’s production of progesterone or estrogen. This can have a direct effect on your emotions—as well as your brain’s ability to monitor those emotions.
This is very common, and shouldn’t be any cause for concern!
For a myriad of different reasons, pregnancy can be very stressful. There’s so much joy and excitement that comes with starting a family, but it also comes with a lot of changes, new things, and some scary things! You’ll no doubt, at some point, find yourself worrying about the future, about money, about medical care, and about plenty of other things. All of this stress can cause your emotions to rise.
Not to mention, you have a lot to do! You might find yourself neglecting self-care that could help you manage your emotions better.
Changes In Your Body
Some women experience more physical discomfort than others while pregnant. Your body changes a lot while you’re pregnant, and the types of physical discomfort you could experience is varied. You might have bad morning sickness or terrible aches.
Body image is a huge factor here as well. You might feel less physically attractive when you look in the mirror and see how your body has changed. Pregnancy brings on a lot of physical changes that all happen very quickly. Any—and all—of these things can impact your mental and physical health, which can add stress and disrupt your “normal” emotions.
We’ve most likely all been here before—even when we aren’t pregnant. Sleep is extremely important in maintaining a healthy mental state, and when we don’t get enough it’s much easier to feel overwhelmed or like we’re not in control of our emotions. While this is a common problem for pretty much everyone, it’s especially a problem for pregnant women, who often have difficulty sleeping and getting comfortable.
How to Cope with Pregnancy Emotions
When you’re pregnant, it’s easy to get overwhelmed. You have a lot to worry about! And when your emotional state seems out of control, it’s hard to get that control back. For starters, you should acknowledge your feelings—they are valid. Then, try some of these methods for coping with your pregnancy emotions.
It’s so important to listen to your body—even if you aren’t sure what it’s telling you! If taking a bubble bath sounds super relaxing to you right now, do it. If you feel like you might need some time alone, ask for that space.
This is easier said than done, but try your best to get eight hours of sleep. Getting enough sleep can do amazing things for your mental health. If you’re having trouble getting comfortable, experiment with different sleeping positions that could be more comfortable. Feel free to ask for help, too! Talk to other women in your life who are pregnant or who have been pregnant.
What you eat is a lot like how much you sleep—it can do wonders for your emotions. Eating healthy and natural foods (instead of processed foods) not only promotes physical health for your and your baby, but it also helps with your emotional stability.
Surrounding yourself with supportive and encouraging people is crucial during pregnancy. You shouldn’t feel ashamed of your emotional state, or try to hide it from people who care about you. Make your close family members or friends aware of how you’re feeling, especially if you’re feeling overwhelmed or like you need help.
Professional counseling is always an option. You’re going through a lot, and there’s absolutely no shame in wanting professional help. Pregnancy is a beautiful time—but it’s also stressful, scary, and overwhelming! And all of that is okay.
Let your doctor know if you feel like your emotions are extremely unstable, you’re experiencing severe depression, or you’re having suicidal thoughts.
Looking for more pregnancy advice? Check out our blog here.