Understanding and Managing Pregnancy Mood Swings

Hold on! It's time to ride the roller coaster of pregnancy.

Why Do I Feel This Way?

Mood swings, insecurities, fears, ambivalence, impatience, and anger are all likely to surface during your pregnancy -- often at unpredictable times. Why do you sometimes feel so out of control while you're expecting?

Hormonal surges can cause your emotions to fluctuate wildly, notes psychologist Fred Cavaiani, MA, a consultant for the Women's Center for Medicine at the Detroit Medical Center. But that may only partly explain the changes in your mood. Let's face it: Having a baby is a momentous life change. It's natural to feel joy over this new addition to your family, fears about your new responsibility, and even pangs of longing for your freer pre-baby days.

"You're a walking receptacle of feelings," he says, "and you don't have the ability to suppress them." So express them instead. "Open up to whatever it is you're experiencing," advises Cavaiani. Discuss your mood swings with the people you are closest to. "Sharing your feelings calms you down, helps you see things more clearly, and gives you the objectivity to find solutions."

It's difficult not knowing what the future holds, and typical to feel apprehensive about labor, delivery, and motherhood. There's also the added worry of how you'll manage to balance both work and your family life once the baby has arrived. All moms-to-be have worries, says Adrienne B. Lieberman, a childbirth educator and the author of Easing Labor Pain (Harvard Common Press, 1992). "There's a real crisis of confidence as you approach this exciting, tumultuous time," she says.

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