Mood Swings During Pregnancy Are Common
One big reason for pregnancy mood swings is a women’s rapidly changing hormones, specifically estrogen and progesterone. Estrogen, associated with serotonin, levels soar during the first trimester and can cause emotional distress. Most commonly resulting in increase in anxiety and irritability.
Second common reason for emotional dysregulation is the obvious physical discomforts such as morning sickness, fatigue and constipation, etc. We can all relate to our mood changing when we feel physically uncomfortable. Because these changes happen in the first trimester, women feel like there isn’t a relief in sight and know that symptoms will only get worse.
The third most common reason for change in mood is directly related to weight gain. Whether the weight gain is drastic or gradual, change in weight can be stressful for some. Feelings of insecurity during pregnancy and fears of loosing wight after pregnancy can trigger obsessive thoughts. Social media portraying high profile individuals dropping weight and being red carpet ready within weeks of delivery, doesn’t help.
One of the most taboo subjects to talk about is the baby’s gender. Many people feel shame in revealing they actually have a preference. Just know that you are not alone, this is very common. Feelings of guilt about disappointment, regretting the pregnancy, and doubt over one’s ability to parent or love this child is common.
There are a few reasons why one might feel disappointment:
- Preference, dream of sharing an experience with a certain gender
- Gender diversity of the family – family full of boys might want a girl etc.
- Intimidation at raising a child of opposite gender – fear of the unknown
- Fear of the child creating a stronger bond with the parent that is the same gender
Coping Strategies During Pregnancy
- This is your time to recommit to the relationship. Prioritize each other by focusing on your partners social, emotional, and physical needs.
- Allow for all feelings to be expressed. If new emotions, such as rage, occur being curious and comforting. Validate and support one another.
- Communication has never been as important as it is now. Validate by acknowledging your loved ones emotions, thoughts, experiences, values, and beliefs. You don’t have to agree, just express understanding and acceptance.
- Stop reading parenting and pregnancy books. Humans have been doing this for 300,000 years. You have instinct, trust it!
- Be patient, allow space for errors.
- The non-pregnant spouse can show true unwavering support by changing behaviors such as substance use, making better eating choices, prioritizing rest etc. It’s hard for the pregnant partner to have their life be completely changed and watch their mate continue to live as if nothing happened.
- Connect with other expecting couples.
- Engage in nesting type of conversations. Register for gifts, identify and design the nursery, find childcare and so on.
- Find a counselor who can the two of you navigate uncharted waters.
Final Words from Marina Edelman, LMFT
Pregnancy is difficult for both partners in different ways. What ever you are feeling I can guarantee someone else out there feels exactly the same. I recently hosted an in person pregnancy support group in my office. It was wonderful! The women were able to openly share all of the emotions they have been to embarrassed to express with their girlfriends for fear of judgment.
Marina Edelman | 818.851.1293 | www.marinaedelman.com | Westlake Village, CA