Oh Those Raging Hormones!

by Bridgette R. Odom

emotions during pregnancyJust a few days after I got pregnant with my daughter, I had a meltdown. I was crying like a baby because I wanted a cheese omelet and couldn't find the cheese to save my life. I couldn't find the pan either. I was convinced it was a conspiracy.

Most moms-to-be experience emotional roller coasters that take you from bliss to the depths of depression in the blink of an eye. One minute you're imagining your wee baby snuggled in a teddy bear blanket and the next moment tears are streaming down your face. It's not like you're that emotionally connected to a commercial or product.

The mood swings accompanying your pregnancy might have even you shaking your head or rolling your eyes. Understanding the causes can help you deal with the ups and downs, and taking care of yourself can lessen the "amusement ride" known as pregnancy hormones.

First Trimester Ups and Downs

Even before you took your now positive pregnancy test, you might have noticed you're a bit more emotional. From a TV show or commercial to you not finding what you're looking for, most anything can bring a tear or flood of emotion.

You'll see this especially during weeks six and ten, where your mood fluctuates as hormone levels increase dramatically.

"I keep crying for the strangest things. This is so not like me! I cry because I'm worried something might go wrong then ten minutes later I cry because I'm so incredibly happy that I'm pregnant. I even cried last night because daughter didn't fall right asleep. This may be a very long nine months for my poor husband!" ~Mara, Pregnancy.org member

Second Trimester Elation and Relief

Your emotions tend to be calmer in the second trimester. Morning sickness hopefully is going away. Women typically start feeling the baby move for the first time and begin to look pregnant. Still, those same hormones that prepare your body for birthing and breastfeeding might send you down an unexpected path.

During the second trimester, you'll also get a burst of energy, and emotions can come along for the ride.

"There are times when I feel I have no control over what I say. When I calm down, I realize what I've done and I feel awful. My husband's a trooper and I give him tons of credit, cause he takes it all and looks at me and says I love you...which sometimes makes me so mad." ~Candyce, Pregnancy.org member.

Third Trimester Whirlwind

Uncertainty can hit hard as your birth date approaches. You feel like you're in a whirlwind of emotions and questions like, "Will I be a good mom?" "Will I make it through labor?" Only you have those answers. You might find yourself irritable, cranky and short-tempered with anything and anybody, but it's all part of what you're going through. You're going through a lot, and your loved ones need to be sympathetic.

"When you take into account the raging hormones, the constant discomfort and pain, the fatigue and sleeplessness, the worry about labor, the anxiety over being a good mother, braxton-hicks contractions, people rubbing your huge belly, and every other irritation that pregnancy entails, it is amazing that pregnant women can ever manage to be pleasant to those around them." ~buffy7755, Pregnancy.org member

Adoptive Moms

Moms whose babies arrive through another's generosity aren't immune to pregnancy emotions either. Just because the baby isn't from the womb doesn't make the experience any less dramatic or emotional.

"I am having severe swings of emotion. One minute I am overjoyed at the thought of finally getting the opportunity to be a parent. Then the next moment I am terribly saddened that someone is giving up their child so we can have one." ~Teresa, Pregnancy.org member

Dealing with Raging Hormones

Self-care can reduce the number and intensity of mood swings during each trimesters of pregnancy. Try these helpful tips to cope with your emotions during pregnancy:

  • You're not alone. Find a mom group in our community and get support when you post on your forum. One Pregnancy.org member told our community manager that she needed her time with online friends. Her husband did, too!
  • Get plenty of sleep. Pregnancy symptoms put up a fight and can prevent a good night's sleep. Try going to bed earlier and taking a break during the day.
  • Get active. Regular exercise sends depression for a walk and leaves you feeling better.
  • Eat well. Snacks and meals rich in fresh fruits and vegetables, whole grain products and lean sources of protein keep your blood sugar even and your mood more level.
  • Have fun. Hang out with your partner. Schedule a movie with a friend.
  • Don't be hard on yourself. Crying happens. Outburst erupt. Those around you love you and understand.
  • Pamper yourself. Get a massage or try pregnancy yoga class or meditation.

How have you dealt with your raging hormones? What's been the most helpful advice you've followed?