Understanding Mood Swings During Pregnancy

Understanding Mood Swings During Pregnancy

Pregnancy is a time where your body will be releasing a lot of hormones. These hormones can cause some imbalances within your mind and body, which in turn can lead to pretty serious mood swings. Whether you’re experiencing pregnancy mood swings or just doing research in preparation for pregnancy, you’re in the right place.

We’ll be taking a look at some of the most important information surrounding mood swings during pregnancy, and in doing so we hope that we can help demystify the subject.

Some of the biggest questions that we’ll be answering are:

  • When do mood swings tend to start?
  • What causes mood swings during pregnancy?
  • Dealing with depression during pregnancy
  • How can I treat mood swings during pregnancy?
  • When should I call my doctor

When do mood swings tend to start?

There has been extensive research done on the timing of mood swings during pregnancy, so we can actually give you a pretty accurate measurement for when mood swings will occur. In this section, we’ll be breaking down a few of the major triggers that will occur in most pregnancies.

The first trimester

For most people, mood swings will start to flare up during the first trimester. They will usually begin around 6 to 10 weeks, but they’ll usually start to fade away once the second trimester comes around.

Mood swings typically occur in the first trimester because your body is just starting to get used to the hormones released during pregnancy. For this reason there is not much you can do, except take comfort in knowing that the second trimester is normally much easier than the first.

The third trimester

Though the second trimester will see fewer mood swings, prepare to welcome them back during the third trimester. This is due to the fact that your body will begin releasing new hormones to prepare for childbirth, leading to your mood swings making an unfortunate return.

After pregnancy

Once a pregnancy has concluded, there is still a period of time where mood swings can occur. So, if you notice that mood swings continue or even increase after your pregnancy, don’t panic. Once a child is born, in some cases mothers can experience a wave of depression. This is brought on not only by a readjustment to your normal hormonal balance, but is further exacerbated by the fatigue and lack of sleep that tends to come along with the weeks after giving birth.

What causes mood swings during pregnancy?

Mood swings during pregnancy may seem like the end of the world, and they can last for days at a time. This is why it is important to know what actually causes them. If you want to manage these mood swings, your first line of defense is knowing the root cause of the problem.

Hormones

Hormones are responsible for a majority of mood swings during pregnancy. This is something you won’t be able to escape entirely, but knowing what to expect will definitely help to lessen their impact.

During pregnancy, massive amounts of estrogen and progesterone are released in the body. These hormones are notorious for having an impact on neurotransmitters, and can actually reduce their functions. Neurotransmitters are designed to help you manage your mood, which means impaired neurotransmitters will lead to mood swings during pregnancy.

There is nothing you can do to combat the way hormones are released during your pregnancy. Therefore, the best thing you can do is make sure that you manage the symptoms.

Stress

If you’re stressed out and experiencing anxiety about your pregnancy, this can actually be the cause of your mood swings. Stress may cause a chemical imbalance in your brain, and when you’re pregnant this imbalance can grow much worse. So if you’re having frequent mood swings during pregnancy, you’ll want to consider attempting to reduce the levels of stress you’re dealing with. If stress is the problem, once you rid yourself of a few stressors you may see your mood swings begin to fade.

Fatigue

Pregnancy can be extremely daunting on the body. This means that there will be times where your energy levels are low, and you may even feel unable to move. While this is a normal reaction to pregnancy, the fatigue created can actually lead to mood swings. If you’re constantly exhausted, you might be a bit more susceptible to mood swings.

Unfortunately, fatigue is a nearly universal part of pregnancy, so there is not much you can do to completely prevent this. You can, however, attempt to get as much rest and relaxation as possible under the circumstances. And, even when fatigue can’t be totally eliminated, there are some ways to manage your fatigue-caused mood swings that we’ll discuss in the next section.

How can I treat mood swings during pregnancy?

Now that you know a little bit about what causes mood swings during pregnancy, we want to show you how to treat them. Pregnancy-related depression can be difficult to completely resolve, but you can much more easily reduce the severity of its symptoms by following a few simple tips.

Sleeping is key

Sleep is the body’s way of recharging. While you’re sleeping, your body is hard at work making sure that you get everything you need to take on the upcoming day. When it comes to dealing with mood swings during pregnancy, it’s a good idea to try to get adequate levels of sleep. This alone might not be enough, but it’s a necessary first step towards allowing your mind and body to recover. Not only will sleep leave you feeling well-rested, but it will make sure that your mood swings are much more manageable as well.

Manage your diet

The food that we eat is closely related to our overall health. When it comes to pregnancy, you have to remember that you’re now eating for two. This may cause some people to overeat, or eat the wrong things, so be sure that you focus on eating a balanced diet that supports your own needs as well as those of your future child.

Most normal nutritional recommendations apply equally to pregnant women, but you should focus even more than you normally would on consuming natural, nutrient-rich foods like:

  • Dairy products
  • Legumes
  • Sweet potatoes
  • Salmon
  • Avocados
  • Eggs
  • Dark, leafy vegetables
  • Lean meat (white meat chicken, fish, and certain cuts of beef and pork)
  • Berries
  • Whole grains

So as you can see, a well-balanced diet is crucial to maintaining your health during pregnancy. If you’re deficient in any nutrient, this can lead to an uptick in the frequency or severity of mood swings.

Give yoga a try

We know that working out when you’re pregnant can be fairly difficult. While this may be the case, there are a few ways to get some exercise in. Not only do low-impact workouts like pregnancy yoga keep your muscles and joints in good shape, but they also release serotonin—a hormone that directly boosts your mood. It might be difficult to convince yourself to exercise while you’re already dealing with mood swings during pregnancy, but it can actually help out quite a bit.

Try to relax

We know that pregnancy is stressful, and at times it can feel impossible to get some relaxation in. While this may be the case, it doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t try. At the end of the day, a little bit of downtime might be just what you need to manage your mood swings.

There are quite a few good ways to relax a bit while pregnant:

  • Spend some quality time with your significant other
  • Get a massage
  • Take frequent naps when you need to
  • Go out with friends
  • Go for a meditative walk to help clear your head
  • Take breaks throughout the day

So while it may seem impossible to relax while you’re pregnant, setting aside a bit of time for yourself will help more than you might think.

Dealing with depression during pregnancy

Depression can emerge almost any stage of pregnancy, and often occurs as post-partum depression after the pregnancy has concluded. Not only that, but pregnancy can cause existing depression to be exacerbated, or previously well-managed depressive symptoms to reemerge.

What causes depression during pregnancy?

The main cause of depression during pregnancy is the hormonal imbalance that pregnancy creates. In some people, pregnancy can cause levels of serotonin to drop very low, which might lead to depression. If you begin to experience prolonged periods of worse-than-average moods, whether during or after your pregnancy, you should consider speaking to a doctor or other mental health professional.

Does depression cause mood swings during pregnancy?

Becoming depressed during pregnancy will typically not only lower your overall mood, but can also cause several other problems that might make your mood swings even worse.This is due to the fact that depression can cause any or all of the following:

  • Fatigue
  • Insomnia
  • Anxiety
  • Negative thoughts
  • Lack of emotion
  • Lack of appetite

When you add these symptoms on top of the already stressful experience of pregnancy, your mood can get out of hand quickly. Depression during pregnancy should be treated with great care, and all possible steps to eliminate or alleviate it should be taken.

How to manage depression during pregnancy?

While depression may make you feel like the world is coming to an end, it is possible to manage. It will require a lot of effort on your part, but there are a few ways to treat and manage depression, both on your own and with the support of mental health professionals and loved ones.

Let’s take a look:

  • Get a good amount of sleep, and get out of bed once you wake up
  • Try to get some light exercise
  • Socialize with friends and family
  • Eat enough food to support your body, and make healthy eating choices

Doing these things might seem difficult, and they won’t all necessarily work for everyone, but they can help. If your depression persists or you begin to have thoughts of harming yourself or others, it’s important to call your doctor.

When should I call my doctor?

While mood swings and depression during pregnancy do occur often, that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t get assistance dealing with them. If your symptoms are particularly serious, it could even be an indication that something else is wrong.

If your mood swings do not subside within a few weeks

Mood swings during pregnancy normally come and go. However, at times this may not be the case. If you notice that your mood swings are lasting more than 2 or 3 weeks, it might be time to reach out to your doctor. You can also consider speaking to a counselor about ways to manage your mood, either as an alternative or in addition to seeing a medical doctor.

If your mood swings become more intense

Mood swings are going to happen, and they’ll definitely vary in intensity. That being said, if they become too difficult to manage it’s time to seek help. We know that it can be hard to determine when enough is enough, so keep these symptoms in mind as a way to help yourself figure out if its time to take them more seriously:

  • Mood swings are causing you to lose focus
  • You’re losing your capacity for short-term memories
  • You’re unable to eat, starting to eat too much, or have noticed any other sudden change in your eating habits
  • Sleeping is becoming difficult, or you’re experiencing insomnia
  • Your levels of anxiety or depression have increased suddenly or severely

If you leave these symptoms untreated they’ll usually get worse, so it’s important to deal with them as soon as possible. Not only can untreated depression and mood swings harm you and your loved ones, but they might be related to a dangerous underlying problem.

Recap

Mood swings during pregnancy can be either a minor annoyance or a major problem depending on their severity, but there are a lot of things you can do to ensure that their negative effects on your life are minimized. Mood swings during pregnancy can be quite a hassle, but if you learn how to properly manage an episode you’ll be able to reduce their impact as much as possible.

Dealing with mood swings during pregnancy can be difficult, but there are steps that can be taken. At the end of the day, if you take care of your body, it will take care of you. Pregnancy is no exception.