Q: I've been having really bad mood swings now that I'm pregnant. What can I do?
A: Finding yourself snappish or suddenly on the verge of tears for no good reason is a totally normal part of pregnancy, especially early on. In addition to fear, anxiety, and body morphing, you're also experiencing constant complex biochemical changes: sharp dips in blood sugar, hormonal fluctuations, and water retention. All of these things can cause your mood to shift in a nanosecond. Unfortunately you -- and your husband -- have to live with your moodiness, at least for a while, but most women find that their moods level out toward the middle of their pregnancies. Others (around 15 percent) continue to struggle until after delivery, when hormones finally start settle down. If it seems like your mood swings are really bad, though, and interfere with your work or daily activities, you should let your doctor know. Some women do experience depression and anxiety disorders during pregnancy, and it's important to get proper diagnosis and treatment.
In the meantime, lean on your partner and ask him to help with whatever tends to stress you out -- whether it's taking on the bill-paying or working with older children on their homework -- he'll probably relish the chance to contribute and feel helpful. Be sure to eat small, frequent meals and get plenty of rest, since being tired or hungry can send anyone over the edge. And above all, cut yourself some slack when you act a little nutty (and ask others to give you a break as well) since some of it is just beyond your control. --Holly Robinson