Emotions during pregnancy: why you should track them

Everybody knows about the physical symptoms; the nausea, the fatigue, and so on. However, what’s not talked about as much are the emotional symptoms of pregnancy and how they might affect you. Emotional symptoms are an important part of your pregnancy, and tracking them can tell you more about your wellbeing.

Why can pregnancy be such an emotional roller coaster?

Whether a result of hormone changes, lifestyle changes, or just genetic makeup, expecting parents experience a wide range of emotions for a whole bunch of reasons.

Pregnancy-related hormones

When you’re pregnant, and particularly during the first trimester before your body acclimates, your hormones are raging to prepare your body for delivery. Along with this elevation in hormones may come some fluctuation in your moods, because your body is simply not used to all this activity. Some people report feeling stronger emotions, or feelings of moodiness or anxiety. All are normal, and these deep, hormonal emotions usually go away by the end of the first trimester. New symptoms and body changes may also play into some unpredictable emotions as well.

That said, you know yourself best, and if you’re not feeling like yourself consistently or if your symptoms are severe, reach out to your healthcare provider right away. There are many options available to help you feel more like yourself from lifestyle changes to therapy to pregnancy-safe medication (or even a combination). Help is available.

Environmental factors

In addition to hormonal and bodily changes and everything else going on inside and outside of your body, environmental factors can affect emotions throughout pregnancy. Lots of people feel stressed out when preparing for such a big change, and there’s nothing abnormal about questioning these changes and wondering how they’ll impact your future.

History of mental health struggle

The National Institute of Mental Health reports that nearly one in every eight women will experience clinical depression at some point in life. The statistics are different for other mental illnesses, but the point is the same: many go into pregnancy with a history of depression, anxiety, or another mental health struggle. If this is your experience, you’ll likely need to manage these symptoms during your pregnancy, and a place to start is to track your emotions. 

Emotions and your health

Feeling depressed or anxious while you’re pregnant doesn’t just affect your ability to enjoy the happy moments and manage the more difficult ones, it could also put your health at risk. Those who are under a lot of stress are at higher risk of high blood pressure and preeclampsia, and they’re more inclined to suffer from headaches, insomnia, and fatigue. Some studies have even linked elevated stress in pregnancy to problems for baby. It’s definitely best to try and manage your emotions in the most effective way possible for you. Maybe that means exercising regularly, or getting more relaxation time, or seeing friends more often, or maybe it means seeing a therapist or taking medication. A good way to know that your efforts are succeeding is to track your emotions during pregnancy.

Obviously, you’ll still have negative emotions from time to time, but the most important thing is to be aware of them and what they say about your wellbeing.

The bottom line on tracking

Your emotions are just as much a part of you as your heartbeat or your cervical fluid. It’s normal to have fluctuating emotions in pregnancy, but at the end of the day, you are your own best champion when it comes to your feelings and emotions, and tracking your feelings is one of the best ways to monitor your health throughout your pregnancy. Logging feelings and moods can help you notice patterns between certain feelings you have, and what you eat, how much exercise you get, your sleep, or anything else, to make sure that you’re in charge of your body, and staying as healthy as possible. Tracking your emotions can also help let you know when something is not quite right, and when it might be time to call your healthcare provider.

Reviewed by Dr. Jamie Lo
Read more
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