The changes that take place during your nine-month journey to motherhood don’t just affect your body. The excitement and stress of preparing for your new arrival, fluctuating hormones and the toll of pregnancy-related insomnia, aches, pains and other symptoms can all contribute to changes in mood. Here are a few tips to help you manage the emotional highs and lows:
1. Confide in others.
Yes, pregnancy is a time for joy, but that doesn’t mean you should suppress other emotions and fears. Many moms worry about the health of their baby or how they’ll balance working and caring for a child. Others struggle with financial pressures, have misgivings about their abilities to parent or even have negative feelings about the way their bodies are changing.
Talk with your partner, your mom or sister, or a group of close friends about your anxieties, and sign up for educational classes and other events. Prepping for pregnancy, childbirth and motherhood by listening to moms and experts who’ve been there can ease fears of the unknown.
2. Get as much rest as you need.
Many women experience increases in moodiness during the first and third trimesters, according to the American Pregnancy Association. Not surprisingly, these are also times when many women feel the worst physically. Contending with morning sickness and fatigue during the first trimester and overall discomfort and insomnia during the third trimester are enough to make anyone feel irritable.
If you don’t feel well, it’s important to take it easy. This may mean enlisting the help of your partner or family members to care for other children or run errands. It may also mean taking an occasional sick day. Remember, you’re not being selfish; you’re protecting your health and the health of your baby.
3. Make time for daily exercise.
Staying active can help manage uncomfortable pregnancy symptoms, such as backaches and constipation, according to the American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists. Exercise can also lift your mood and help you sleep better.
As long as you have no restrictions, most activities—with the exception of contact sports and activities that may raise your risk of falling, such as skiing or horseback riding—are safe. Try an indoor prenatal yoga class or go for a relaxing swim to keep moving.