During pregnancy, women undergo several physical and hormonal changes to adjust to the growing fetus. However, some don’t realize how pregnancy can affect a woman’s mental health. This mental effect is also seen in the partner as he goes through different emotions throughout the woman’s pregnancy. A pregnant woman can experience a range of emotions each trimester. She can be incredibly difficult to deal with, especially if she doesn’t have the necessary support from her partner or loved ones.
Women produce more hormones during pregnancy, such as progesterone and estrogen, depending on how far along they are in their pregnancy. This hormone increase can affect your emotions and your brain’s ability to monitor those emotions. This is very common and should not be a cause for concern unless you are experiencing severe emotional instability and distress.
The common emotional impact pregnancy can have on a woman includes:
- Anxiety: can be caused when the chemicals in your brain are affected by hormonal changes during pregnancy. You cannot control everything that causes you stress, which may worsen. It is natural to be concerned because the entire process may be unfamiliar to you. Anxiety arises when your worries begin to interfere with your daily life.
- Depression: can develop gradually or abruptly throughout the pregnancy. Similar to anxiety, depression can also be caused by hormonal changes during pregnancy. In addition, stress and anxiety can also contribute to depression. If it is not treated and worsens, it can cause severe complications for both mother and child.
- Mood swings: are mainly caused by rapid changes in your hormones. One minute you may be overjoyed, the next you may be concerned. Having frequent emotional ups and downs during this time is entirely normal.
- Forgetfulness: is caused due to changes in a woman’s brain during pregnancy. This causes a temporary loss of focus in easy tasks, such as organizing or multitasking.
- Physical appearance stress: While gaining the appropriate weight is essential for the baby’s health; it also raises concerns about physical appearance for most women. Some concerns may include stretch marks, acne, and not being able to lose all the weight. The social stigma attached to pregnancy weight can cause women to feel unattractive and depressed, which will, in turn, worsen their mental and physical state.
A woman’s psychological state is more dynamic and changes during each trimester of her pregnancy. Each trimester has its emotional challenges, such as:
- First trimester: this time usually causes emotional fluctuations between positive and negative feelings, such as feeling, excitement one day to worrying the next day). In addition, other factors that can cause these mood swings can include sicknesses resulting from pregnancy such as nausea, vomiting, & insomnia, planned/unplanned pregnancy, financial situations, family support, and lifestyle restriction.
- Second trimester: for some women, mood swings continue throughout the second trimester but reduce over time. Factors contributing to this include less pregnancy-related sickness, adaptation to body changes, and more knowledge about your pregnancy.
- Third trimester: some women may experience similar negative emotional feelings as the first trimester. Factors contributing to this include increasing discomfort when nearing the due date, insomnia, and exhaustion. Furthermore, when compared to the first and second trimesters, the following psychological changes become more noticeable during the third trimester:
It is essential to understand that these emotions are common in pregnant women and shouldn’t be too worried or embarrassed. They must have the opportunity to express their feelings. Furthermore, they must feel understood without being judged. As a result, they must have the support of their partner, friends, and other pregnant women.
It is natural for both parents to experience significant psychological change, not just women, during this time. During pregnancy, both parents experience a tangle of emotions. It’s uncommon to hear about what a man goes through, mostly because the main focus is on the woman. Due to societal expectations, men do not express their emotions and what they’re mentally going through.
Men can experience emotions such as:
- Feeling powerless
As a father-to-be, you can relieve your emotional burden by strengthening your beliefs and thinking about the positive and rewarding experiences you will have with your child.
Some factors can increase your chances of having mental and emotional stress, such as:
- Previous issues with mental health
- Not getting the needed support from loved ones or health professionals
- Experiencing sudden loss or hard times
- Issues with alcohol and drugs
It’s a good idea for all expectant parents to monitor their mental health and wellbeing. While pregnancy has its ups and downs, it is time to seek medical advice. Some of the ways to manage your emotional turmoils during pregnancy are:
- Take it easy on yourself and don’t expect too much of yourself
- Avoid majors changes in your life that can cause more stress or negativity
- Take great care of yourself (sleep, relaxing, nutrition, and exercise)
- Have quality time with the people you care about
- If you’re overwhelmed or feel like you need assurance, ask for help