Then buckle up. Your emotions are about to take you for a wild ride. The wildly emotional pregnant woman is a stereotype but like many generalizations, it does have a grain of truth to it. Pregnant women go through a wide variety of ups and downs throughout their pregnancies. Some caused by hormones, others caused by living conditions.
This emotional roller coaster can be tough for an expectant mother and equally, if not more tough for her partner who must endure the erratic mood swings and outbursts while managing his or her own emotions concerning the pregnancy.
Pregnancy can leave you feeling excited, euphoric, depressed, worried, anxious, angry, proud, upbeat all at once or one after another. These feelings are perfectly normal as you get caught up in the excitement of bringing a new life into the world and the practical matters such as money, work and lifestyle issues that must be addressed when a baby is born. A major factor that contributes to the wide range of emotions expectant mothers feel during their pregnancies is hormones. It’s a scientific fact that the chemicals in our bodies influence our emotions and during pregnancy an incredible amount of chemical processes are taking place in the body of the expectant mother. Two major contributors to emotional instability during pregnancy are the increased production of the hormones, progesterone and estrogen.
Progesterone plays a big role in pregnancy and levels of this hormone rise dramatically during pregnancy. This hormone helps prevent the uterus from contracting improperly, thus giving the unborn child the opportunity to grow and develop properly.
Estrogen helps build tissue and directs increased blood flow to the fetus as well as helping the mother develop milk for her soon-to-be born child.
Production of these two hormones can increase more than a hundred fold during pregnancy so it’s no surprise that this has an impact beyond just physical changes to the expectant mother’s body.
The increase in these hormones are in large part responsible for amping up women’s’ emotions during pregnancy. While doctors aren’t quite sure how estrogen and progesterone influence emotion, they do theorize that the two hormones can have an impact on the brain’s production of serotonin, endorphins and other chemicals in the brain that regulate mood and emotion. An increase or sudden decrease in these chemicals can result in the wildly varying emotions women can feel during pregnancy.
During the first trimester of pregnancy , it’s common for pregnant women to feel cranky and irritable as their bodies begin to change and the fatigue associated with the early stages of pregnancy sets in. While the expectant mother may also feel highs of excitement and elation, she most likely is going to feel some anxieties regarding the stability of her finances and her relationship and possible ambivalence regarding parenthood.
During the second trimester, these negative emotions generally level out as the woman adjusts to her pregnancy and some of the early bodily changes involved in pregnancy are completed. Most women feel an energy bounce as their fatigue subsides and most start getting excited about the impending birth of their child.
In the third trimester of pregnancy, the good feelings continue but anxieties about the future may increase. Many pregnant women are extremely body conscious during this time, feeling unattractive and undesirable to their partners. They also may worry about the stability of their relationships, their future earning power and how the new baby may interact with his or her siblings.
Partners of pregnant women can feel overwhelmed by the wide range of emotions their partner is displaying. They may feel like they’re constantly walking on egg shells if their partner is prone to angry outbursts while others may feel constantly guilty if their partner is prone to frequent crying spells. Dealing with their partner’s emotions can be a draining and nerve-wracking experience for them, especially if they feel ambivalent about the pregnancy or relationship. Even the most supportive of partners can feel alienated and frustrated by an overly needy partner with constant demands.
Perhaps the best advice partners of pregnant women can be given is this: be patient. Remember that your partner is experiencing intense physical changes and that these changes may make her cranky, irritable and just plain mean. These changes are not her fault and she does not mean many of the hurtful things she says during this time. Try to listen and show support. Sometimes the best way to head off an angry or weepy outburst is just to embrace her and tell her that you love her.
Perhaps the best way pregnant women and their partners can deal with her emotions during pregnancy is by keeping an open and honest dialogue about how they feel. By talking about how she feels, a pregnant woman may be able to head off outbursts or get to the root of problems before they blow up into an argument or fight. By being able to express his or her emotions, the partner can vent out some of the frustrations he may feel and reassure the pregnant partner of his love and support. Communication is vital to any relationship and especially to couples embarking on the journey of parenthood together.