On top of dealing with an unplanned pregnancy, your emotions may be all over the place. If you’re experiencing mood swings, you’re not alone. Many women struggle with how to cope with mood swings during pregnancy.
You may get teary easily or feel you can’t control your emotions. Added to this is the anxiety and stress of what you should do. All these things together make you feel out of control.
Mood swings are normal during pregnancy as your estrogen and progesterone levels change. As a result, pregnant women experience a variety of emotions and moods. What can you do? Here are seven simple tips to help you figure out how to cope with mood swings during pregnancy.
1. Eat several small meals a day
When you eat a few small meals a day, it levels out your blood sugar. Eating several small meals prevents blood sugar spikes or crashes, which affect your mood swings during pregnancy.
Be sure to eat a combination of proteins and carbohydrates during your small meals. Eating healthy snacks will help stabilize your hormone levels and blood sugar during pregnancy. Choose snacks such as:
- Cheese sticks with whole wheat crackers
- Hummus and whole wheat pita bread
- Black beans and brown rice
- Apple slices with peanut butter
2. Cut down on sugar & caffeine
Pregnancy can cause a lot of anxiety, and too much sugar and caffeine will only make these feelings worse. They make your blood sugar levels go up quickly, then take a nose dive (and your mood will take a nose dive too).
Researchers have found that people who eat a lot of sugar are more prone to depression. So especially if you’re depressed during pregnancy, try to avoid foods that are loaded with sugar. Limit how much caffeine you drink by skipping that second cup of coffee in the morning. Or you can switch to decaffeinated coffee.
Lowering your sugar and caffeine intake can also have positive side effects: it may help reduce your morning sickness. Find creative ways to make healthy food exchanges so you don’t feel deprived. Try:
- Eating a couple of pieces of fruit instead of a cookie
- Drinking herbal tea with lemon instead of coffee in the morning
- Adding honey to your tea if you like it sweet
- Swapping soda for carbonated water.
3. Get outside
Sunlight is a natural remedy to boost your mental health. Try to get outside in the sunshine for a walk or do a little gardening. Sunlight provides your body with Vitamin D, a helpful vitamin to fight depression and anxiety during pregnancy and after to help with postpartum depression.
It’s harder to get outside in the winter, but there are still many things you can do. Try these outside activities:
- Walk around your neighborhood
- Ride your bike
- Walk to a coffee shop
- Plan a picnic with a friend
- Have a garage sale
- Visit an outdoor market
- Try miniature golf with a friend
- Walk around a park
4. Get some exercise
Exercise is a great way to improve your mood. It releases your tension and stress and helps you feel better about yourself.
Be sure to get medical advice before doing any strenuous exercises during pregnancy. Specific activities aren’t safe for you or the baby, such as contact sports and hot yoga. Your obstetrician can give you a list of safe exercises during pregnancy. If you’re wondering how to cope with your mood swings during pregnancy, getting exercise could be the best tip.
5. Practice relaxation techniques
Another way to cope with your mood swings during pregnancy is through relaxation techniques. Prenatal yoga is one helpful technique that helps reduce your stress.
If you can’t afford yoga classes, there are some excellent yoga videos on YouTube. Yoga improves your strength and helps you relax.
6. Take naps and rest
One help for coping with your mood swings is getting enough rest. Lack of rest increases the stress on your body, so you’re more prone to mood swings. In addition, some women experience more morning sickness when they’re tired.
Of course, you may still be working full time during your pregnancy, making it difficult to get enough rest. Try to find times during your day to give yourself a little break. During your lunch hour, find a quiet place to rest or read a book. After you get home from work, make it a priority to lay down to relax your body and mind.
7. Talk it out
If you’re thinking about adoption for your baby, this could weigh on your mind. Perhaps you’ve talked with family members who haven’t been very helpful to you. Sometimes it helps to just talk to someone who isn’t part of your family or a friend. They can give you information without judgment, so you feel more in control.
Lifetime is Here for You
At Lifetime Adoption, we have adoption coordinators available if you would like to talk. We can also arrange for a licensed counselor or peer support help for you. Our peer counselors are women who have gone through what you’re experiencing. They chose adoption for their children and know what it’s like to go through the process. They understand your moods, so they can provide you with feedback on what to do, similar to support groups.
If you’re wondering how to cope with your mood swings during pregnancy, please call or text us at 1-800-923-6784. Even if you’re not ready to reach out to anyone right now, here are some women who have experience with adoption that may be helpful. These other women talk about what they went through and what it was like to be in an open adoption was like for them.
Editor’s Note: This article was originally published on January 12, 2016, and has since been updated.
Mardie Caldwell, C.O.A.P., is nationally recognized as an expert on open adoption. A Certiﬁed Open Adoption Practitioner (C.O.A.P.), Caldwell is the founder of Lifetime Adoption Center, established in 1986. She has assisted in over 2,000 successful adoptions and was one of the ﬁrst adoption professionals on the Internet.
Caldwell’s life work is dedicated to educating and helping birth parents find the right adoptive parents for their child. She spreads the word about modern adoption through speaking appearances, webinars, online resources, and as a podcast show host.
She has written several award-winning books, including So I Was Thinking About Adoption, the first book of its kind. There are many reasons women choose adoption, and this short book is a comprehensive resource to make the best plan for you and your baby. Caldwell wrote So I Was Thinking About Adoption as a handy guide to the details of the adoption process.
Caldwell has made over 150 media appearances, including ABC News, CBS News, Larry King Live, CNN Headline News, NBC’s The Today Show, CNN’s The Campbell Brown Show, NBC News, KGO Newstalk Radio, CNN’s Black in America II, MSNBC, Fox, PBS, BBC, and Dr. Laura.