Taking Care of Your Mental Health During Pregnancy
The following article was contributed by Rachel Burns.
Pregnancy is a miraculous period of significant physical and emotional challenges, particularly for women. From conception to delivery, pregnancy is an emotional rollercoaster with several unexpected leaps and turns. Women get very emotional during pregnancy because of the prenatal stress. Prenatal stress can be due to environmental, situational, hormonal, physical, and individual problems.
This article aims to discuss major reasons for being emotional during pregnancy with their coping strategies.
1. Blissfully Happy
Blissful happiness is the emotion that is felt by almost every woman unless they were not ready for the pregnancy. The hormones like estrogen released after conception create a feeling of euphoric happiness in women and makes them very emotional during pregnancy. They get excited about shopping for stuff for the baby and daydream about their beautiful life with the baby. They usually make plans and gender guesses with their partners and other family members and prepare for the arrival of the baby.
In our opinion, this emotional period requires only going with the flow. Enjoy this feeling to the fullest till it lasts.
2. Fear and anxiety
Fear is part and parcel of the whole pregnancy. Fear triggers anxiety in pregnant women, uncertainty and emotional stress fuels it further.
The initial trimester of pregnancy is overshadowed by the fear of miscarriage or unexpected pregnancy chaos. Most mothers are afraid to be happy, despite a very wanted pregnancy. Researches show this fear is more profound in women with PCOS or chronic anemia.
Later on the fear shifts towards the responsibilities that come with being a parent. How good a mother will be? How will they manage their work and baby both? These questions and fear induce emotional stress during pregnancy. By the end of the third trimester, the fear of labor pain and things going wrong during delivery scares a pregnant lady.
Fear cannot be eliminated but it can be reduced by collective efforts in the same direction. The miscarriage fear can be healed with proper counseling and social support. As far as parental responsibilities are concerned, there are smart gadgets that can help a new mother i.e.,best baby breathing monitor, smart thermometer, and bottle sterilizer. Shopping for such smart gadgets can help abate these fears.
3. Fogginess and Forgetfulness
Researchers have suggested a very apparent cognitive decline during pregnancy. Overthinking, anxiety and stress develop a state of confusion, vagueness, and absent-mindedness. As a consequence, women tend to forget things and get heavily frustrated and emotional during pregnancy. Reduced motor coordination is also very evident in pregnant women.
New researches in neurosciences have also supported cognitive decline. They provided evidence of grey matter reduction in the brain of pregnant women from the first trimester of pregnancy onwards.
To avoid the emotional stress due to memory during pregnancy, women can note things down. We suggest maintaining a journal or diary and jotting down important events and daily routine chores on it. This activity will keep her busy as well as organized. She will get things done in time and avoid frustration buildup or emotional upheaval due to cognitive decline during pregnancy.
4. Mood Swings
Pregnancy involves major hormonal changes in the body. These hormonal changes and sleep deprivation play an important role in emotional fluctuations during pregnancy. Estrogen and progesterone are two hormones that are released in floods during the initial and late stages of pregnancy. These hormones are responsible for emotional regulation in the brain.
All pregnancies are unique and mood swings are also unique in timings and intensity. One moment, there will be an intense craving for vanilla ice crème. The other moment, the anger of finding the smell of vanilla in your room will become inevitable. Irritability, anger, uncertainty, frustration, excitement, happiness, all at once are knocking at the door of an emotional pregnant woman. And this imbalance of emotions is very well depicted in their actions and behaviors.
There is nothing that a good sleeping pattern can't heal. Moreover, for hormonal imbalance during pregnancy a healthy meal, fruits and exercise can help. An emotional pregnant woman can also keep her spirits up by simply accepting the mood swings. The acceptance can prevent extra guilt that comes after mood swings.
5. Crying Spells and Sadness
Most women have crying spells in emotional outbursts during pregnancy. When they don’t know how to express their variety of emotions, they cry instead. For some women, the whole pregnancy is the season to have crying spells but for most, peak duration is the first trimester of pregnancy. They cry for having a reason to cry, they cry for having a reason to smile and they cry for having no reason to cry.
Emotional ups and downs are natural throughout pregnancy. Sadness is one such emotion that can be overbearing. Some women, however, feel persistent sadness with depressed thoughts. Depression makes things a bit difficult to handle.
Researches show that a serotonin and endorphin rich diet can be beneficial for depressed thoughts. These are the hormones for happiness. Moreover, socializing more with family and friends, walks in the serene parks and positive thoughts can also help the women who are emotional during pregnancy.
6. Body Image Issues
Females are generally more conscious about their figure. Body image issues generally strike during the second trimester of pregnancy. The second trimester with less hormonal fluctuations and less morning sickness is a period of high energy for pregnant women. But this is the duration where the baby wants extra room for development and growth. The amniotic sac starts expanding and so does the abdomen and the stretch marks appear.
This particular detail does not go well with most women no matter how enthusiastic they are for the baby. They become very stressed and emotional. A slight comment about their figure can throw them into a cycle of worries and they seek reassurances from the loved ones.
A change in mindset, emotional support from friends and family members, and self-acceptance are vital techniques to survive this emotional onslaught during pregnancy.
Being emotional during pregnancy is a natural occurrence. Most pregnant women don’t prioritize their mental wellbeing along with physical health. It is important to discuss these emotions with your family and your doctor to find coping strategies. What do you all think about this article? Was this article helpful for you? Kindly leave your suggestions and experiences in the comment section. We would love to hear about your emotional struggle during pregnancy.
Rachel Burns is an experienced copywriter and photographer with a design diploma. She works with startups, entrepreneurs, bloggers and companies from around the world. In addition to writing articles and promotional materials, she enjoys hiking, reading, cooking and spending time with her family.