Pregnancy and Your Moods: What to Expect

Pregnancy changes your body, your life, and often your emotions. Whether you planned the pregnancy or not, knowing that you’ll soon have a newborn to care for can trigger a number of positive and negative emotions. Just as you’re adjusting to the idea of mothering a new baby — whether it’s for the first time or not — your body’s adjusting, too.

OB/GYN Sharon Smith, MD and her team at OBGYN Care of Houston wants you to be as happy and healthy as possible throughout your pregnancy. She also knows that feeling blue or angry during this time is normal, too. Here she lays out some of the reasons your emotions may take you on a roller-coaster ride during pregnancy, and what you can do to manage them.

Surging hormones

When you become pregnant, your levels of the hormone estrogen increase by about 100 times. Estrogen can make you feel energized, but also angry or irritable. 

Progesterone, which is a relaxing hormone, also increases but may make you feel too relaxed, or even depressed. In fact, your muscles relax so much because of progesterone that you may have trouble defecating and develop constipation.

Your hormones don’t stay the same during your entire pregnancy, either. They fluctuate by trimester. Here are some hormonally related mood changes you might expect during pregnancy: 

First trimester (weeks 1-12):

In addition to the jumps in estrogen and progesterone, your body also makes a new hormone just for pregnancy: human chorionic gonadotropin (hCG). Your hCG triggers your body to produce extra progesterone, which creates a thick uterine lining where the fertilized egg implants and grows. However, hCG may also be the hormone that’s responsible for morning sickness.

If you suffer from morning sickness, try to prepare ahead of time so you won’t be caught with hunger pangs or, if you need to vomit, with no place to “go.” Carry bland crackers around with you for snacks, and empty plastic bags, too,  for emergencies.

Second trimester (weeks 13-28)

By the second trimester, your body’s probably adjusted to the hormonal shifts and you usually stop producing the hCG that causes morning sickness. Although you’re going through other changes — including a growing tummy — that might distress you, your hormones can give you a few perks, including more energy and increased libido. 

However, hormonal changes can also affect your skin at this time. You may develop dark patches on your skin known as melasma.

Third trimester (weeks 29-40)

You may now find it more difficult to sleep, which can influence your mood and also your hormones. Excess progesterone can also lead to feeling like you can’t focus or have “brain fog.” 

Stresses

A new baby brings new stresses, including financial ones. If you’re worried about money, you may have difficulty enjoying your pregnancy. Worrying about whether your baby is healthy or whether you’ll be a good mother can also affect your mood.

If you already had body issues, seeing yourself gain another 30 or so pounds can make you feel depressed and out of control. All of these feelings are a normal part of adjusting to new circumstances.

You also may be having trouble with your partner, or experiencing difficulties with your family. Although mood changes are expected with pregnancy, you shouldn’t ignore them. Talk to Dr. Smith so she can refer you to a counselor or recommend lifestyle changes that ease the pressure. 

Whether you’re already pregnant or just hoping to be, taking good care of yourself and your baby to ease the transition into motherhood. To get a pregnancy test or prenatal care, call us at our Houston, Texas, office today. Dr. Smith also offers virtual visits for current patients.

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