Pregnant mums, if you feel you’re on an emotional rollercoaster ride right now, you’re not alone. Mood swings tend to hit hardest during the first trimester when hormonal changes are at their peak, and can leave you gleeful one minute and miserable the next.
Despite knowing about mood swings, many mums-to-be are ill-prepared for the extent of these ups and downs. The good news: there are various methods to keep the bad emotions in check. Practicing these can not only make you feel better but may also help avert more serious mental issues and fortify your relationship with your partner during this demanding yet fulfilling 9 months.
Method 1: Get More Active
Exercise releases the feel-good hormone endorphin, which can give flagging spirits a lift. Moreover, participating in prenatal fitness lessons or yoga classes specifically designed for mums-to-be can help build up the muscle and ligament strength you need, helping to prevent backache and deal with the demands of labor, and raising a baby later on.
The benefits of exercising don’t stop there: a physical boost may even increase your mental confidence in being a mum and help you avoid post-partum depression. So, get your sports gear on!
Method 2: Be Mindful About Eating
When you’re pregnant, you’re prone to dips in blood sugar levels, which can wreak havoc on your mood. Raise blood sugar levels in a healthy way by eating smaller and more frequent meals instead of the standard 3 meals a day. In the meantime, keep blood sugar levels stable by including plenty of complex carbohydrates (e.g. brown rice) and protein in your meals.
While cravings are part and parcel of pregnancy, understand that overloading on simple sugars (e.g. soft drinks) and caffeine may upset the balance and worsen mood swings — moderation is key!
Method 3: Join a Group for Support
Talking about your mood swings may help you deal with negative emotions head-on. Ask out a friend who’s been in the same situation for a heart-to-heart chat. Besides a listening ear, she may even be able to use her prior experience to mentor you through your pregnancy in an intimate and personal way that an obstetrician might not be able to.
You can also consider joining a support network of mums-to-be. Regular sharing in a group setting — even on an online forum — can dispel negative emotions such as anxiety and may even help you resolve issues about your pregnancy and marriage.
Method 4: Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff
With hormones affecting your memory and ability to concentrate, pregnancy can turn even the slickest mum into a bumbling mess at times. So, if you forget your house keys (or even something more important), accept that these missteps are normal during pregnancy. Make an effort to avoid burying yourself in guilt or mentally bashing yourself up with negative self-talk when these things happen.
The same goes for screw-ups your partner might make from time to time (like forgetting to bring your cardigan on a movie date). No matter how annoyed you might feel at that moment, don’t go into full-on Blame Mode as even the most doting husband — and dad-to-be — can make mistakes sometimes!
Intense mood swings should fade by mid-pregnancy. If you’re still experiencing high levels of moodiness, irritability, and tearfulness around Week 20, this may be a sign of something more severe, such as prenatal depression. Consult your obstetrician, who may refer you to a counselor, as soon as you can to ensure the well-being of you and your baby.