Mood Swings and Your Pregnancy

One of the most common side effects of being pregnant can be mood swings. The fact of the matter is that, during pregnancy, your hormones are all over the place. They have to be, because that’s what has to happen for everything to work right in the baby-making department. The key is to recognize when they’re happening, understand why they’re happening, and know how to deal with them effectively.

The most common time during pregnancy to have mood swings is during the first trimester, usually between the sixth and tenth week. At that point, your mood is most likely to have the greatest fluctuation. This happens again later on during pregnancy, as you get closer to your delivery date.  For some women, these periods are less defined.  Some women may experience mood swings throughout pregnancy, and some may not experience them at all.

The good news is that you don’t just have to suck it up and accept mood swings during pregnancy. There are actually a number of things you can do to reduce the frequency as well as the severity of mood swings during your pregnancy. For example, just making sure that you are getting enough sleep will help your mood at any time, not just during pregnancy.  Getting regular exercise or other physical activity will help, as well, because this causes your brain to release important chemicals that help to improve your mood.  Nutrition plays an important role in your mood, as well.  Eating a balanced diet, and avoiding sugary foods and caffeine will help to keep you on more of an even keel.

If your mood swings are long-lasting or particularly intense, you should discuss this with your health care provider.  He may be able to help diagnose whether there is another problem, such as depression, that is causing or contributing to your mood swings, and refer you to a therapist or counselor who can help.  You should also watch for other signs of depression, such as sleep disturbances, memory loss, a change in eating habits, and irritability.  While many of these things can be a natural part of pregnancy as well, it is important to keep on top of any risk that you have of depression.

Leila Pereira
Leila Pereira
I work in occupational therapy and occupational science. I specialize in early intervention pediatrics for children from birth to three years old; with an emphasis on children with autism. My goals are to support the achievement of developmental milestones in your child while collaborating with caregivers & parents; including play skill development, education, leisure, rest and sleep, feeding, nutrition and social participation. Licensed by the California Board of Occupational Therapy

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