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Mood Swings During Pregnancy

During pregnancy you may encounter mood swings.  Most women that are going through the birthing process have them to some degree at one point or another.  This is totally natural due to hormones,  stress, fatigue, and changes in your metabolism. Your mood swings can be beautiful as the morning sun, but  grey skies could roll in by noon.

You could be ecstatic picturing your newborn in the clothes you just got from the baby shower and the next moment you could yelling at your significant other to go get your bagels with cream cheese before the grocery store closes in ten minutes and your twenty minutes away. It is important to inform people around you about mood swings and its equally important to know how to deal with these mood swings.

What happens when there are extreme changes in your hormones, estrogen and progesterone?  These affect your neurotransmitters.  Neurotransmitters are chemicals that send messages back and forth between a neuron and another cell.  Levels of serotonin  and dopamine among other neurotransmitters affect mood swings.  Serotonin affects anger, aggression, appetite, metabolism, and most importantly in this case, mood. 

Its also known to cause vomiting; whereas dopamine is associated with the feeling of love and pleasure.   You can expect to experience mood swings in your first trimester between 6-10 weeks, but your not out of the woods quite yet.  You can experience them again right before birth in your third trimester as your body readies itself for the big event.

Keep in mind that  almost every pregnant woman has experienced these mood swings from mild to severe.  So trust me when I say this, you are definitely not alone.  This is just another natural part of being pregnant.  Here are some things to help you with the stress that you are dealing with:

  • Get plenty of sleep
  • Get regular physical activity
  • Eat well
  • Spend  time with your partner     
  • Take a nap
  • Go for a walk
  • See a movie with a friend
  • Don’t be so hard on yourself
  • Try a pregnancy yoga class or meditation
  • Get a massage

These are some suggestions among many that you could try.  Remember not to over exert yourself when doing any physical activities.

Eleven million  American women  suffer from depression  each year.  Depression is most noticeable in women during puberty till menopause but depression can  rear its ugly  head at  any age.  If you have mood swings that last more than two weeks and you don’t see any improvements it would be best for you to  consult your health care provider. 

Some signs to look for:

  • Recurrent anxiety and increased irritability
  • Sleep disturbances
  • Change in eating habits
  • Inability to concentrate on anything for very long
  • Short term memory loss

If you notice that your mood swings happen more often and are more severe, it is essential for your’s and your child’s well being  that you consult your health care provider to discuss your options.   Remember that you are not alone and that this completely normal during pregnancy.

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