Emotional intensity and frequency can be a common side effect in pregnancy. The emotions a mother may experience during pregnancy is different for everyone and can also differ in every pregnancy. It is important to be able to recognize what emotions during pregnancy are normal and other emotions that you may want to consider receiving medical support.
Common Emotional Changes during Pregnancy
It is common for emotions to feel heightened or more intense in pregnancy. This can be due to the increased amounts of hormones that is accumulating in your body throughout the course of your pregnancy. These can have an impact on your emotions as well as your brain’s ability to control/monitor those emotions. Stress from pregnancy can also cause an increase in your emotions and may distract women from self-care that may help them better manage those emotions.
First Trimester- Women can feel anxious as they wait for pregnancy to become “well established”. They may need additional support from their friends and family as they try to cope with symptoms such as nausea and vomiting and other physical changes. Extreme fatigue is not uncommon in the first trimester.
Second Trimester- Women can feel increasingly inwardly focused and orientated while others may feel forgetful and disorganized. As the babies movements can begin to felt be mother, this can help women to conceptualize her baby as an individual.
Third Trimester- Women can feel more tired and uncomfortable as they near their final weeks of pregnancy which can cause them to be more irritable. As the women prepares for childbirth and parenthood, they may feel a number of fears surfacing. It is normal for a woman to develops fears for labor, birth, unknown, babies wellbeing, and her own ability to handle the pains of labor. Talk to your care provider about your fears or emotions you have in regards to childbirth.
Indicators of Psychosocial Stress
Some women find that previous existing serious anxiety or depression will improve due to pregnancy. Other women find that their pregnancy does not affect their existing anxiety/depression or makes it worse. Signs to watch out for include: getting no joy in daily life, insomnia, sadness, tearfulness, anxiety, hopelessness, feeling of worthlessness, feelings of guilt, irritability, appetite change or poor concentration talk to your healthcare provider. A combination of these can be a sign of mental health problems that can get in the way of a otherwise healthy pregnancy. If you have any concerns or your partner, friends or family member has any concerns about your mental health talk to your health care provider.
The Impact of Pregnancy on the Individual and the Family
Pregnancy can have a huge impact on the partner as well as any siblings of the unborn child. Sibling relationships can strongly affect the family from within, and the arrival of a new baby can lead to regressive behaviors in younger siblings. It is important to let the siblings of the new baby know (especially the youngest) that the parents and mother still love them.
The experience of becoming a parent is an important milestone, and some partners may feel reservations about their parenting ability or other strong emotions about the pregnancy. It is important to talk to one another in open communication about any fears or other strong emotions you have about the pregnancy.
Provide Support for Coping with Emotional Changes
Different things that women have found to be helpful in what can feel like an overwhelming amount of emotions include:
Relaxation & Sleep- during pregnancy it is important to get full nights rest (8 hours). This may not always be possible which is why it is important to listen to your body and take naps and rest when needed.
Self-care- Listening to the needs of your body and mind can help you cope with emotions. Make time to be alone and relax.
Diet- Eating natural foods is a great way to help balance out your mood and emotions. Healthy, natural foods help to promote physical and mental health contributing to your overall emotional stability.
Support- Having the proper support can be the most important part of coping with emotional changes as well as avoiding any unknown psychological problems. Letting close family or friend be aware of your emotions can increase your overall emotional health.
Want More Information?
Books- The Natural Pregnancy Book by Aviva Romm
American Pregnancy Association. (n.d). Retrieved from https://americanpregnancy.org/pregnancy-concerns/pregnancy-emotions/
Health Link BC. (2017, Nov 21). Emotional Changes During Pregnancy. Retrieved from https://www.healthlinkbc.ca/health-topics/tn10071
King, T.L., Brucker, M.C., Kriebs, J.M., Fahey, J.O., Gegor, C.L., & Varney, H. (2013). Varney’s
midwifery (5th ed.). Burlington, MA: Jones & Bartlett Learning.
Jordan, R.G., Engstrom, J.L., Marfell, J.A., Farley, C.L. (2014). Prenatal and postnatal care: A
woman-centered approach. Ames, IA: Wiley Blackwell.