Mood swings during pregnancy are caused by hormones and, to some extent, worries about what kind of a parent you'll be and how your new baby will fit into your life.
Mood swings when will they start?
Many women have monthly mood swings that coincide with peaks in the hormone progesterone. Pre-menstrual mood swings are very common, but some women also notice emotional changes around the time of their ovulation. Newly pregnant women might start noticing mood swings a while before their positive pregnancy test but can easily confuse this pregnancy symptom with normal PMS. Once you know you're pregnant, you know that your mood swings aren't caused by menstruation but by pregnancy hormones.
You'll also start to experience many other pregnancy symptoms that can add to your crankiness constant vomiting, bloating and extreme fatigue don't exactly make you feel great about yourself! Mood swings, like many other typical pregnancy symptoms, tend to be at their worst during the first trimester. Most women start feeling better once they get to the second trimester. You might feel more stable emotionally, and you'll also have more energy.
Your growing baby bump makes your pregnancy more obvious to others, and you'll also start feeling your baby move. Towards the end of your pregnancy, you might experience more mood swings again. These could be related to fears and anxiety about your new baby. Are you prepared for motherhood, or to add another baby to the family? Will you manage financially? Will labor and delivery go smoothly, and will your baby be healthy? Those are a lot of things to worry about, and stress and mood swings are normal during that time.
What will you feel?
Mood swings manifest differently in every individual. I'm a thinker rather than a feeler, but I feel all emotional when I am pregnant. I cry when I see a "cute" commercial, take little criticisms (hello, mother in law!) very personally, and want to rescue stray kittens. I'm more patient than normal, but also more needy I want my husband to take care of me! That sounds a little sick when I write it down, actually, but that's pregnancy. Some moms become more irritated, impatient, and generally moody.
The "swings" part of mood swings means you might feel euphoric one moment and really angry or sad the next. Want some advice? I know "they" say you should wait until you reach the 12 week mark before announcing your pregnancy due to the risk of miscarriage but if your mood swings are affecting others around you, you'll make them feel better and also gain more understanding if you say you're pregnant.
So, what do mood swings not explain? If you have persistent feelings of sadness and unhappiness, don't enjoy life any more, and are not looking forward to your baby's birth at all, you might be dealing with more than mood swings. Pregnant women get depressed too even if they were actively trying to conceive and are theoretically thrilled to have a baby. You might even feel like engaging in self-harm, harming others, or be suicidal.
Prenatal depression is a medical condition that requires professional help, just like clinical depression and the more well-known postpartum depression. It's not your fault if you are depressed and it doesn't mean you will be a bad mom. It does mean you need some help to feel like yourself again. If you think you might be depressed, please don't suffer alone and tell your family doctor or OBGYN how you are feeling.
Coping with mood swings
Mood swings take a little getting used to for you and those around you. Humor is one of the best ways to deal with them, and being open about your emotions with family, friends and coworkers helps them understand what you are going through. If you're cranky and snap at people, do apologize and blame the pregnancy hormones. Most likely, they will understand.