Mood swing, a common phenomenon when pregnant, is characterized by a sudden and unaccountable change in your mood, making you laugh at one moment and cry unnecessarily at the next. It is important for you, as well as your kith and kin, to handle such unpredictable fluctuation of the mind patiently to ensure a smooth sailing pregnancy.
Are mood swings an early sign of pregnancy?
The change in mood patterns is counted among the early symptom of pregnancy.
When do mood swings start?
Though the span and intensity of mood swings vary, it usually starts during the first trimester, stabilizes in the second trimester, and again flare up in the third.
What causes mood swings?
1. Hormonal changes
First trimester: The estrogen and progesterone levels that work upon the fetal development and uterus, respectively, are high in the initial 6 to 10 weeks. They affect the neurotransmitters or chemical messengers of the brain that control your mood, directly impacting your state of mind.
Second trimester: As you step into the second trimester, the intensity of the hormones mellow down, thus making you feel a little relaxed.
Third trimester: The nesting hormone, oxytocin, and the mothering hormone, prolactin, is released at an increased level in the third trimester as your body prepares for childbirth, affecting your emotional state of being, heightening your urge to be more orderly or finicky about everything around you.
2. Physical stress
As the body is undergoing many changes, common symptoms like heartburn, fatigue, and frequent urination may make you feel overburdened and irritable.
3. Feeling of insecurity
Several thoughts like managing finances, the well-being of your to-be-born baby, doubts about your parenting ability, and the changing relationship with your partner may keep you worried and make you feel upset and jittery.
As some old wives’ tales suggest, mood swings indicate a girl-in-waiting. However, it is just a myth, as these stories usually are.
How to deal with mood swings when pregnant?
Sleep well: Sleeping properly, particularly during the first and third trimester, is challenging. Still, try getting as much rest as possible, as sleep is essential to feel relaxed and energized.
Be happy: Pamper yourself to the utmost by going out on a movie date with friends, shopping, or doing something creative that makes you happy.
Exercise regularly: Since a fit body leads to a happy mind, follow an exercise regime like a short walk or even light workouts that suit your body.
Enjoy a treat: Nibble on lip-smacking yet healthy mood boosters, like cheese sticks, soy milkshakes, and homemade trail mix, in between your meals to satisfy your food cravings and get emotionally charged. However, overeating may adversely affect your health.
Speak your mind: Share your inhibitions and fear with someone close to you. Keep your partner in the loop of all you are thinking, and listen patiently to his viewpoints. You can even join online forums to share your crazy pregnancy stories and dilemma with like-minded women who are on the same page.
Stress management techniques: Join yoga or meditation classes to keep your mind calm. And if all of this fails, seek a professional’s advice.
When to see a doctor?
Though it is normal to feel low or down when pregnant. If you have severe mood swings that last for over two weeks at a stretch, consult your doctor immediately, as it might indicate depression. Other symptoms along with mental unrest include endless bouts of anxiety, irregular food and sleeping habits, inability to concentrate, and an inclination to self-harm. Refrain from taking mood stabilizers unless your doctor suggests it.
If a woman already has an underlying psychological condition, like bipolar disorder and schizophrenia, at the time of conception, special supervision is needed to prevent unpleasant occurrences.
What can husbands do to help?
- Be patient rather than refuting and taking her angry outbursts personally, as the changing hormones make her act differently.
- If she is upset, depressed, or resorts to crying inconsolably, comfort her and do something special to help her feel better, like playing her favorite song or entertaining her with any amusing story.
- Take small initiatives like making a delicious snack, helping with her daily chores, taking a walk together post-dinner, or even planning a short vacation if she can travel.
Dr. Mashiach has completed his MD at the Sackler School of Medicine, TAU; specialization in gynecology at the Lis Maternity and Women’s Hospital, Tel Aviv Sourasky Medical Center; fellowship in Endoscopy at the Polyclinique de I’Hotel-Dieu, Universite d’Auvergne, Clermont, France.
He is a Senior Physician, Director of the Department of Gynecology, which provides routine and preventative care services to its patients and a full range of gynecological surgical procedures for adequately managing its patients with benign gynecologic disorders.
He offers advanced care in all gynecological subspecialties such as Urogynecology, Colposcopy, Fetal Loss Clinic, and Post Menopausal Clinic.