Guest Blog by Cheretta A Clerkley, a strategic marketing health care professional for Hormone Health Network. She has worked for over 10 years in direct patient education focusing on hormone health.
Being pregnant affects a lot more than your body. The outward signs of expecting a baby become more apparent over time, but the emotional and psychological ones are easier to hide. As a result, many pregnant women are taken by surprise by how much their emotions change during the course of those nine months. Knowing that you’re about to become a mother is enough to heighten anyone’s emotions, but there’s more to it than that. As soon as you become pregnant, hormones in your body go into overdrive and can dramatically impact how you feel. By keeping a few things in mind, you’ll be able to emerge on the other side with your mental well-being intact.
Common Hormonal Changes During Pregnancy
Sometimes, just knowing which hormones are flaring up and how they’re affecting you can help you deal with them more effectively. Dozens of hormones spring into action when you’re pregnant, but three are of particular interest:
- Progesterone: This hormone helps to ensure that the baby grows normally. However, it is also responsible for making you feel sore and bloated, and it can cause upset stomachs and make your breasts exceedingly tender and painful. Coping with these symptoms is enough to make anyone feel moody.
- HCG: Human chorionic gonadotropin kicks in very early in pregnancy, and it aids in the production of progesterone. It’s also largely responsible for the morning sickness and feelings of fatigue that tend to plague expectant mothers at this stage.
- Estrogen: The primary purpose of this hormone is to prepare the placenta so that the growing baby can stay nourished and healthy. It is believed that estrogen is mostly the cause of heightened emotions and mood swings that many pregnant women experience.
Tips for Dealing with Pregnancy Hormones
As you can see, the hormones that make you feel less-than-great while pregnant all serve important purposes, so suppressing them isn’t an option. There are ways to minimize the impact they have on your state of mind, though:
- Find ways to relieve stress: It’s natural to feel like you’re running out of time and that you need to accomplish as much as possible before the baby arrives. However, that’s also a good way to end up feeling more overwhelmed than ever. Make a point of carving out time to engage in stress-relieving activities. Exercise and meditation are great for this, but simple things like getting enough sleep and eating right help a lot too.
- Take it easy: There’s no such thing as being completely, 100 percent prepared for a baby. Don’t overdo it. Once your bundle of joy arrives, the days of having time for yourself will be gone for the near future. Be kind to yourself, and set aside plenty of time for naps, baths, trips to the spa and other pampering activities.
- Bond with your partner: The more support you get while pregnant, the better you’ll ultimately feel. Don’t be afraid to lean on your partner as you go through the whirlwind of emotions that you’re bound to experience. If you are single, turn to friends, relatives and other loved ones for support.
- Have fun: Hormonal changes can make you feel less than enthusiastic about doing the fun things you usually enjoy. You will probably have to force yourself to go out and have fun, but try to do so at least a few times per month. Once you’re out there doing fun things, you’ll be glad you made yourself go.
- Talk it out: Now is not the time to try to be the strong, silent type. Most people are perfectly understanding about the emotional toll that pregnancy takes, so use that to your advantage by talking about how you feel as often as possible. After all, a problem shared is a problem halved!
Know when to Get Help
Pregnancy hormones can make you feel like a completely different person, and they’re never much fun to endure. With that being said, some women experience more severe symptoms. It’s important to know when to get help. If you feel excessively anxious or depressed, talk to your doctor. Similarly, let your doctor know if you experience mild to moderate depression or anxiety that lasts longer than two weeks. About 10 percent of pregnant women experience depression, and there are ways to treat it.
The vast majority of pregnant women get through their pregnancies without going through too much turmoil. As stressful as dealing with pregnancy hormones may be, it’s a fact of life. It may seem like you’ll be pregnant and feel this way forever, but the baby will arrive before you know it. In the meantime, go easy on yourself and seek help if your symptoms become too overwhelming.