Pregnancy can make you feel like you are on an emotional roller coaster with many ups and downs. Know that you are not alone. Mood swings are a completely normal part of pregnancy. In fact, 7 out of 10 moms experience noticeable mood swings during their pregnancy. Whether your pregnancy was very much planned or a complete surprise, preparing for the arrival of a baby can be very overwhelming.

Managing stress & mood changes

You may find yourself questioning many things:  Will I be a good mom? Is my baby going to be healthy? Can I afford the added expenses? In addition to many questions and concerns racing through your mind, your body is experiencing a dramatic change in hormones. The amount of estrogen and progesterone in your body surges. This surge can make you feel more irritable than usual.

The following are ways you can help manage your mood swings:

  • Find a way to relax:
  • Set aside enough time in your day to destress; whether that be by way of coloring, listening to music, knitting, etc. You may feel as if you have a never ending list of chores to do but it is important for you and your baby to be happy and healthy. Don’t try and do everything! Accept help from others.
  • Express your feelings to others:
  • Sometimes all you need is a listening ear.  Talk to your spouse or a trusted family member about how you are feeling. Some moms find comfort talking to other moms in similar situations on online baby boards. If you bottle up your feelings you are more likely to feel irritable.
  • Take care of yourself:
  • Eat well, sleep well, exercise (moderately), and spend time with friends.

    When to consult a doctor

    If you find that your mood swings are lasting more than two weeks talk to your healthcare provider. Approximately 10 percent of pregnant women report mild to moderate depression.

    If your mood swings become more intense and frequent it is important that you seek help. Studies indicate that untreated mental illness in pregnant women increases the chance of pre-term labor and postpartum depression. You can learn more about coping with postpartum depression here.