Pregnancy And Emotions
Then buckle up. Your emotions are about to take you for a wild ride. The wildly emotional pregnant woman is a stereotype, but it has a grain of truth like many generalizations. Pregnant women go through a wide variety of ups and downs throughout their pregnancies. Hormones cause some. Living conditions cause others.
This emotional roller coaster can be challenging for an expectant mother and equally, if not more challenging for her partner, who must endure the erratic mood swings and outbursts while managing his or her own emotions concerning the pregnancy.
Pregnancy can leave you feeling excited, euphoric, depressed, worried, anxious, angry, proud, upbeat all at once or one after another. These feelings are perfectly normal as you get caught up in the excitement of bringing a new life into the world, and the practical matters like; money, work, and lifestyle issues must be addressed when the child is born.
A significant factor contributing to the wide range of emotions expectant mothers feel during their pregnancies is hormones. It’s a scientific fact that the chemicals in our bodies influence our emotions. During pregnancy, an incredible amount of chemical processes are taking place in the expectant mother’s body. Two major contributors to emotional instability during pregnancy are the increased production of the hormones progesterone and estrogen.
Progesterone plays a significant role during pregnancy, and levels of this hormone rise dramatically during pregnancy. This hormone helps prevent the uterus from contracting improperly, allowing the unborn child to grow and develop properly.
Estrogen helps build tissue and directs increased blood flow to the fetus, and helps the mother develop milk for her soon-to-be-born child.
Production of these two hormones can increase more than a hundredfold during pregnancy, so it’s no surprise that this has an impact beyond just physical changes to the expectant mother’s body.
The increase in these hormones is in large part responsible for amping up women’s’ emotions during pregnancy. While doctors aren’t quite sure how estrogen and progesterone influence emotion, they theorize that the two hormones can impact the brain’s serotonin production, endorphins, and other chemicals that regulate mood emotion. An increase or sudden decrease in these chemicals can result in women’s wildly varying emotions during pregnancy.
During the first trimester of pregnancy, it’s common for pregnant women to feel cranky and irritable as their bodies begin to change. The fatigue associated with the early stages of pregnancy sets in. While the expectant mother may also feel highs of excitement and elation, she most likely will feel some anxieties regarding the stability of her finances and her relationship and possible ambivalence regarding parenthood.
During the second trimester, these negative emotions generally level out as the woman adjusts to her pregnancy, and some of the early bodily changes involved in pregnancy are completed. Most women feel an energy bounce as their fatigue subsides, and most start getting excited about the impending birth of their child.
In the third trimester of pregnancy, the good feelings continue, but anxieties about the future may increase. Many pregnant women are incredibly body conscious during this time, feeling unattractive and undesirable to their partners. They also may worry about the stability of their relationships, their future earning power, and how the new baby may interact with his or her siblings.
Partners of pregnant women can feel overwhelmed by the wide range of emotions their partner is displaying. They may feel like they’re constantly walking on eggshells if their partner is prone to angry outbursts, while others may feel constantly guilty if their partner is prone to frequent crying spells. Dealing with their partner’s emotions can be a draining and nerve-wracking experience for them, especially if they feel ambivalent about the pregnancy or relationship. Even the most supportive partners can feel alienated and frustrated by an overly needy partner with constant demands.
Perhaps the best advice partners of pregnant women can provide to remain patient. Remember, your partner is experiencing intense physical changes, and these changes may make her cranky, irritable, and plain mean. These changes are not her fault, and she does not tell many of the hurtful things she says during this time. Try to listen and show support. Sometimes the best way to amend the after-effects of an angry or weepy outburst is to comfort her by offering love and support.
Perhaps the best way pregnant women and their partners can deal with their emotions during pregnancy is by keeping an open and honest dialogue about how they feel. By talking about how she feels, a pregnant woman may be able to head off outbursts or get to the root of problems before they blow up into an argument or fight. By expressing his or her emotions, the partner can vent out some of the frustrations he may feel and reassure the pregnant partner of his love and support. Communication is vital in a relationship and especially to couples embarking on the journey of parenthood together.