OB ABCs

Week 17

week_17One minute you feel like the happiest person in the world and the next moment you are crying your eyes out. Just as your body is experiencing big changes, so are your emotions.

From anxiety about your baby’s health to moodiness over lack of sleep, pregnant women experience vast emotional changes. Don’t blame yourself if you feel upset or moody. These feelings are a normal part of pregnancy.

The Culprit Behind Moodiness

According to the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG), moodiness may be linked to pregnancy-related discomforts such as nausea, frequent urination, swelling and backache, all of which can disrupt sleep. Changing sleep patterns along with fatigue and new bodily sensations can all affect your emotions.

Mood swings also may be a result of the release of hormones and changes in your metabolism. Fluctuations in progesterone, estrogen and other hormones are linked to the blues many women feel before their period or after giving birth. But these hormonal changes may also play a role in the mood changes of pregnancy.

Regaining Control of Your Emotions

To help prevent mood swings from occurring, ACOG recommends following these tips:

  • Maintain your health by eating right, getting plenty of sleep, exercising regularly, and avoiding alcohol, cigarettes and drugs.
  • Make time to rest and relax each day. Try soothing your mind and body with relaxation techniques such as meditation.
  • Accept that you may not be able to accomplish everything you could prior to pregnancy.

More Than a Mood Swing

You may be experiencing something more than just fatigue, stress or the blues if your mood interferes with your ability to function. Exaggerated mood swings lasting more than two weeks may be a sign of depression. Although mild depression is common in pregnant women, you should look for signs of something more serious. Common signs of depression include:

  • You consistently feel sad, weepy or worthless.
  • Your work is disrupted from lack of concentration.
  • You no longer take pleasure in the things you enjoy.
  • Your eating habits or sleep are affected by your mood.

If you exhibit any of these signs or feel like you can’t deal with your mood swings on your own, talk with your healthcare provider. There are many treatments for depression, including counseling, group therapy, medications or a combination of these.

TIPS

  • Body image is often related to mood swings in pregnant women. Mixed feelings about your changing body are normal. Eating right and exercising will help you feel better about yourself.
  • Boosting your support network may prevent mood swings from occurring. A good support network—including your partner, family and friends—can provide emotional support and help with daily tasks.