Coping with Mood Swings during Your Pregnancy

By Joanne Stone, Keith Eddleman, Mary Duenwald

Hormonal shifts affect mood, as most women, especially those who suffer from premenstrual syndrome (PMS), already know. The hormonal fluctuations that support pregnancy are perhaps the most dramatic a woman experiences in her lifetime, so it’s hardly surprising that emotional ups and downs are commonplace.

And the fatigue that goes along with pregnancy can easily make these ups and downs more severe. Add to this biochemical mix the normal anxieties that the average expectant mother has about whether the baby will be healthy and whether she’ll be a good mother, and you have plenty of fuel to produce good old-fashioned mood swings.

You’re not alone. Moodiness is a normal part of pregnancy, and you’re not the first or only woman to experience it. So don’t blame yourself. Your family and friends will understand.

Your moodiness may be especially pronounced during the first trimester because your body is adjusting to its new condition. You may find yourself overreacting to little things. A silly, mushy television commercial, for example, may leave you in tears. Misplacing your appointment book may send you into a panic. A grocery store clerk who accidentally smashes your loaf of bread may draw you into a teeth-clenching rage.

Don’t worry — you’re just pregnant. Take a few deep breaths, go out for a walk, or just close your eyes and take a short break. These feelings often pass as quickly as they arise.