Pregnancy, everyone tells you, is a joyous, wonderful time filled with hope and anticipation. The problem is that there are plenty of days that many Mums to be just do not feel that way. Instead they cry for no reason, snap at people, strangers and friends, just for looking at them and just feel down in general even though they are not really sure why.
Experiencing a roller-coaster of different emotions while you are pregnant is, for the most part pretty normal, however strange and disconcerting the feeling of being unable to control your emotions may seem. For the most part hormones really are to blame but it is not the same ones all the time that cause all the havoc. Pregnancy blues actually tend to change from week to week, depending upon what stage of your pregnancy you are in. Here is a trimester by trimester guide to the pre baby blues and just what you can do to try and deal with them:
First Trimester: During the first trimester the levels of a hormone called Human chorionic gonadotropin, or hCG in a pregnant woman’s body skyrocket. In terms of baby’s healthy development this is a very necessary change primarily because it helps to ensure that the developing fetus remains anchored to the lining of the uterus as it grows. The levels of estrogen and progesterone in the body also increase both to help sustain the pregnancy and kick-start the buildup of extra baby nourishing blood vessels.
While all of these extra hormones are great for baby they can play havoc on Mum. Many medical experts believe that hCG is the cause of pregnancy sickness that makes so many Mums to be so miserable and that the increased levels of estrogen and progesterone are to blame for all the unexplained tears and wild mood swings from wildly happy to rather sad and back again.
The best way to try and manage mood swings in the first trimester is to realize that you are not going crazy and try to “go with the flow” as much as you possibly can. rest is important as well but that can be hard if you are one of the many Mums who work and deal with running a home as well. This is where you have start learning to ask for help, something lots of women are not very good at. Even the littlest things – like someone else making dinner for once – can help relieve everyday stress and help restore some calm. Those around you can also help by understanding that you simply are not quite yourself right now and refraining from taking offense at something you said that was very out of character or laughing at you when random television adverts make you cry!
Second Trimester: After the 12 week mark in your pregnancy the levels of hCg are dropping and the nausea should be going away. Progesterone and Estrogen levels are still increasing but most women’s bodies have now begun to adjust to the change and their emotions are – temporarily – a little easier to control. It helps that there is so much to be happy about in the second trimester. baby’s first movements, sharing the happy news with all your family and friends, getting your first glimpse of Baby at your ultrasound appointment. For many women its hard to believe that they could be so happy.
There are plenty of stressors on the horizon though. This is the time when prenatal testing begins and that can be a very scary thing that ruins a happy mood. The second trimester is often very stressful on even the bets of relationships as well. Most women become at least a little unhappy with their growing size and Dads to be are often as stressed and worried about the pregnancy as their partner but hide it by watching TV or indulging in some other distracting activity rather than actually talking about it. Not talking does not help either of you though so its important to try to keep communicating and not make life too hard for each other.
Third Trimester – By the time the third trimester comes around you are at your heaviest, your tiredest and it can seems like those last few weeks awaiting baby’s arrival are never going to end so that many women at this stage are grumpy and down is not too surprising, extra hormones or not. Many women start to get nervous about the birth itself, often not helped by well meaning friends and relatives feeling a constant need to share horror stories about hard labors with you.
Whatever stage of pregnancy you are in there are some very simple, little things you can do to help combat some of the pregnancy blues. Here are a few suggestions:
Make time for Sleep – you need at least seven to eight hours sleep at night but whenever possible if you feel tired and you are in a position to do so go to bed – even if you only sleep in fits it is better than nothing.
Take a Daily Break – Other people – your partner included – can become very overwhelming and hard to deal with when you are pregnant. Often just taking a ten minute break away from cooing coworkers or an anxious hubby can make a big difference. take a leisurely stroll, read a silly magazine, sit in the garden with a cup of tea, just find a way to get a few calming minutes to yourself every day.
Have a Night Out – While clubbing it is out of the question when you are pregnant a nice quiet dinner with your husband or an informal get together with your girlfriends at a local coffee shop is not. But don’t talk to much about the baby. Its easy to begin to feel like you are losing your own identity when all anyone wants to talk about is your pregnancy.
Treat Yourself – Most women don’t always like the way they look when they are pregnant and those feelings play a huge part in the feeling down stakes. Sometimes though the littlest things can help – a new lipstick that is a little pricier than your usual brand, a great new pair of earrings, a trip to the beauty salon can really help you feel better emotionally. Treat yourself to some of these things without feeling guilty – being pregnant is very hard work and you deserve it!