The dominant reason for stress, anxiety and mood swings during pregnancy is hormones. The distress is maximum during the first pregnancy as both the body and the mind of a pregnant woman are unprepared to deal with the changes. There is a significant change in the level of estrogen and progesterone in the body. The change in the level of these hormones affects the neurotransmitters or the chemical messengers of the brain. This in turn affects the way you feel and you often lose control of your feelings.
It is not necessary that all women will respond in the same way to these biological and hormonal changes. Some pregnant women will experience excessive negative and positive feelings in an alternating way. Some other pregnant women tend to feel more anxious and depressed. The pattern is different for different women and it is okay for these feelings to occur. For most women the moody tendency starts mostly around the 6th week of pregnancy onwards and then reduces to a certain extent in the second trimester. The mood swings again flares up in the final few weeks prior to delivery.
Conflicting Emotions at Play
Pregnancy is an emotionally stressful time and even the best and the most responsible of mothers admit to this fact. It is okay to be thrilled at the prospect of having a baby one day and then to worry about losing your figure the next. It is also okay to worry about the condition of your baby’s health, the rise in expense due to arrival of baby, additional responsibilities of looking after baby etc.
Most women also secretly fear whether they will be able to become a good mother and this fear causes anxiety, stress and mood swings. Pregnancy changes the equation between husband and wife too and this is another cause of concern and a potential stimulator of mood swings. Experts in pregnancy care and child care specialists say that these fears are normal and can recede with emotional support of partner, parents or friends, yoga and meditation under expert’s guidance and counseling.
When to Get Help?
If your mood swing patterns are intense and recurring and show no signs of receding then it is time to get professional help. You can ask your doctor to refer you to a counselor who can help you get relief from your mood swings. Medical research says that about 10% of pregnant women experience mild to moderate depression during pregnancy.
In case of nervous attacks and mood swings that make you jittery and anxious it is advisable to get medical help. Escalating mood swings can point towards bipolar disorder which can lead to severe depression and mania attacks. If these emotional issues are left untreated then they can affect the health of both mother and baby. The solution is psychotherapy administered by trained psychiatrist. These conditions are entirely curable and support of the partner is crucial during such experiences.
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- The Indiaparenting Team