First Trimester

Q&A: Mood Swings During Pregnancy?

I’m definitely noticing the mood swing thing. Why does this happen, and is there anything I can do to balance myself out?

The easy answer is hormones. They get blamed — and rightfully so — for many of pregnancy's discomforts. Especially in the first trimester, hormones like progesterone are rapidly increasing, causing numerous physical and psychological changes. But, hormones aren’t the only culprit. Whether the pregnancy was planned or not, whether it’s your first child or your fifth, having a baby is a life changing experience. People have normal anxieties and worries about the health of their unborn child, the pregnancy, finances and their ability to parent... to name a few. With all this to think about, it’s no wonder you're experience mood swings. 

So how can you balance yourself out? The answer depends on the degree of the mood swings. It’s important to let your provider know if you have a history of anxiety, depression or other mental health problems and if you are or have been on any medications to treat these issues. Women with a history of depression or mood disorders are at higher risk for depression both during pregnancy and postpartum. 

If it’s mood swings and not depression, I highly recommend taking stress reduction classes and/or couples counseling.  You can also try prenatal yoga, meditation and exercise. Add to these a healthy diet consisting of whole foods and small, frequent meals. Drops in blood sugar levels can increase mood swings. It is very important to get your partner involved. The more your partner knows about the normalcy of your mood swings and techniques for reducing their severity and frequency, the better for both of you. This is also a good time to call upon your friends, family and online community for support and understanding. Remember you’re not going through this alone, and the tools and relationships you develop now will benefit you after the baby comes.

By Maria Kammerer