Updated: Apr 20, 2021
There is no doubt that pregnancy brings along many challenges and changes, both physical and emotional. Although the last ones are a bit more difficult to perceive, many pregnant women agree that their emotions and mood undergo changes that can be as challenging as the physical symptoms.
But what causes those mood swings? Why are pregnant women often so emotional? Keep reading this post and find it out!
The mood swings that pregnant women experience can be caused by different factors, including alterations in hormonal levels, physical discomfort, and concerns associated with the baby's arrival.
Increase in estrogen levels
Rapid changes in hormones, specifically estrogen and progesterone, are among the main causes behind mood swings. During the first trimester of pregnancy, estrogen levels multiply, increasing by more than 100 times.
Estrogen participates in the brain chemical serotonin process. This hormone is often associated with happiness. However, studies have shown that its imbalances can take women to the opposite extreme, causing emotional dysregulation.
How estrogen and serotonin interact with each other has not yet been defined. But changes in estrogen levels have been linked to mood imbalances for years, especially when there are anxiety and irritability.
Increase in progesterone levels
And we also have progesterone. As mentioned, estrogen is not the only hormone that increases during pregnancy. In the first 12 weeks, there is also a significant increase in progesterone levels, a hormone associated with relaxation.
Progesterone is responsible for telling the body muscles when to relax, but this does not only include the uterine muscles. Many women experience abrupt hormonal changes, and the progesterone makes them feel so "relaxed" that the effect results in fatigue, tiredness, or sadness.
So, yes, the pictures of pregnant women crying in front of the television while eating a huge jar of ice cream are not that far from reality. Many moms-to-be experience constant variations in their emotions during all stages of pregnancy.
Mood swings in pregnancy are multi-causal. Pregnant women face drastic and abrupt changes in their lifestyle, routine, projects, and even in their bodies. Besides, they experience symptoms that can be very bothersome.
Tips and recommendations: What to do to deal with mood swings?
If you are pregnant and mood swings are part of your day, the first thing to do is understand that it is entirely normal - and unavoidable, in many cases. However, there are some tips that you can consider to cope with them.
Be patient: give yourself the time you need to rest and recover. It's okay not to be okay sometimes.
Talk to your partner and other family members: getting support is essential throughout your pregnancy, especially during difficult times.
Rest: sleep the necessary hours and prioritize sleep.
Avoid anxiety triggers: some books or TV shows about pregnancy are quite interesting, but they can cause anxiety and stress. Avoid them to control your emotions better and feel calmer.
Pregnancy is one of the most beautiful experiences that women can live. It can be difficult at times, but it is all worth it when you see your beautiful and beloved baby for the first time.
Relax, take a breath and talk to your loved ones! Those mood swings will be easier to deal with afterwards. Keep it up!