Managing mood swings and the emotional rollercoaster

Emmy Samtani
Emmy Samtani
Emmy is the founder of Kiindred and mother to 3 little ones. Over the last 4 years, she has worked with some of the most credible experts in the parenting space and is a keen contributor on all things parenthood.
Updated on Jun 14, 2024 · 4 mins read

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Pregnancy is such an exciting time in your life, as your body grows your baby and readies you for motherhood, there is so much positivity that comes with it. But the reality of pregnancy is that it is tough. It isn’t always as glamorous as it’s made out to be, and this can take a lot of mums by surprise.

What causes mood swings in pregnancy?

The hormones that are now coursing through your body on overdrive are causing all kinds of weird and wonderful symptoms that you may not have expected and one of these being mood swings. These are particularly heightened in the first trimester when your oestrogen and progesterone are working double-time to not only prepare your body to play host to your new guest but also develop and grow the baby.

While yes, these are positive and can make you feel happy and excited about your impending arrival and current situation – on the other flip of the coin they can make you feel tired, irritable, angry, sad, upset, anxious and moody.

These emotions can also flip easily from one to the other, often with no rational cause – so one minute you’re thrilled about becoming a mother, the next minute you’re crying for no apparent reason.

That’s why they call it the emotional rollercoaster.

Emotions often tend to settle down as you enter the second trimester as the hormone levels regulate, but don’t be surprised if the mood swings/emotions stick around. They might also amp back up in the third trimester as birth approaches.

Every woman and every pregnancy is different and some women won’t experience much change at all – and that is normal too.

The other thing that causes these mood swings is the fact that you’re going through a monumental life change, so its only natural that you are both excited and scared at the prospect of becoming a mother.

How to manage your moods

Thankfully, you’re not alone and this is totally normal – albeit rather annoying.

There are a number of ways you can help manage your moods during pregnancy, including:

  • Acknowledge that it is your pregnancy/hormones making you feel this way and not blaming yourself or stressing about it.
  • Talk about it with your partner, explain to them that it is your pregnancy making you feel/act differently – they often become the brunt of our moods so helping them understand and not take it personally can help.
  • Maintain intimacy with your partner – this doesn’t have to be sexual, but take plenty of time to focus on your relationship and spending quality time together not talking about the pregnancy or baby. While sex is great for the relationship, it can be difficult during pregnancy so find other ways to stay close, such as cuddles, kisses, massages and even just spooning on the couch.
  • Accept help – you can’t do it all, and you need to know your limits. Sure you’ve undoubtedly got a fair few things on your to-do list before baby arrives, you might be still working and trying to maintain the house, but it’s not all up to you. Enlist help – either partner/friends/family or paid help. Just don’t overdo it because you will only feel worse and even more overwhelmed.
  • Get plenty of rest – take time to look after yourself (and your baby) getting plenty of sleep, rest during the day and relaxation/pampering.
  • Enjoy your pregnancy and do things that make you happy – embrace this special time, mark the occasion and take advantage of the days/moments you feel positive and happy
  • And the days/moments you aren’t feeling so great, try to do things that take your mind off whatever it is that is making you sad/stressed.
  • Exercise – exercise boosts endorphins and helps your overall mental wellbeing. There’s nothing like a walk in the sunshine to rest and restore the mind.
  • Eat healthy – and healthy balanced diet will also help your moods and give you plenty of energy.

If you find the bad moods are outweighing the good and you can’t seem to shake the negative feelings, it might be worth talking to your doctor about it and they may recommend you talk with a professional. While mood swings and emotions are very common and normal during pregnancy – so too is pre-natal depression.

For more information on mental health conditions in pregnancy visit COPE or contact lifeline 24/7 on 131114.

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