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Coping with Mood Swings and Irritability During Pregnancy

When you found out that you were pregnant, you felt nothing but happiness and joy. Unfortunately, as the months went by, you started to get irritable and moody, constantly snapping at everyone around you. You realized that your mood swings were affecting your relationships and yet, you couldn't seem to get a handle on it. Before you beat yourself up about it, accept that mood swings and irritability during pregnancy is a common problem. The good news is that you don’t have to suffer in silence. 

Here are some tips on how to cope with pregnancy mood swings and irritability:

Be patient with yourself 

You remind yourself to be patient with others umpteen times a day, but how often do you remember to be patient with yourself? Your hormones are all over the place so cut yourself some slack. This will help you calm down and once you stop being irritated with yourself, you will notice that your irritation with other people will subside. 

Talk to your partner 

Your partner is probably the one that bears the brunt of your irritation and mood swings so talk to them about your emotional state. Explain to them that even small annoyances can affect your mood. You can also address issues that are a common trigger for you such as dirty clothes strewn over the room. Open communication will also help to strengthen your relationship and give you a sense of security. This will reduce the severity of your mood swings and help you realize all the things you love about your partner. 

Prioritize Sleep 

It’s not easy to get a good night’s sleep when you’re pregnant, especially during the second and third trimesters. Back pain, discomfort, and even stress about your delivery can keep you up at night.  With all the changes in your life, it’s probably difficult to prioritize your sleep,  but it is important because studies show that sleep deprivation causes increased anxiety and depressive symptoms. Figure out the root cause of your sleep problems and then do what you can to address. For instance, if back pain is the main reason for your sleepless nights, invest in a U-shaped full body pillow that will provide upper and lower back support. 

Snack throughout the day 

‘Hanger’ (the amalgam of hunger and anger, for those not in the know) is very real and you’re more likely to experience it when you’re pregnant. Hanger is caused by a drop in blood glucose levels and it can make you irritable and snappy. Indulge in small healthy snacks throughout the day as this is a simple but effective way to prevent hanger. Homemade trail mix, a couple of fresh fruits, avocado on crackers, and almond or cashew nut butter on toast are nutritious but delicious snacks that you can enjoy throughout the day. 

Exercise Daily 

According to the American College of Obstetrics and Gynecology, pregnant women should get at least 30 minutes of moderate exercise every day. The idea of exercise may be unappealing when your feet are swollen or your back is aching, but daily exercise can help to reduce these symptoms. Exercise is also important because it triggers the release of serotonin, aka the “happy hormone”, which helps to improve mood. Furthermore, preliminary research indicates that prenatal exercise can have long-term positive effects on your child’s physical and mental development. If you have a pregnancy complication that requires you to rest, your doctor might recommend that you avoid exercise at least for a certain amount of time.  

Make time for Meditation 

Meditation is a great way to calm your mind and center yourself. If you have anxiety or a mental health disorder, you will find it tougher to control your emotions during your pregnancy which is where meditation can really help. Spend at least 15 minutes in quiet meditation each day, preferably before you go to bed as this will improve the quality of your sleep. Studies show that mindfulness-based interventions are beneficial for anxiety, depression, and stress during pregnancy.  

Health disorders such as fibromyalgia can exacerbate pregnancy symptoms. Furthermore, fibromyalgia symptoms such as tender joints, fatigue, and memory problems can be much worse during the first and last trimesters. Have a discussion with your doctor about the various fibromyalgia management and treatment options that are safe to use during pregnancy. 

Article written by MomsBeyond guest writer, Anita Fernandes.

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