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Managing the emotional challenges of pregnancy

Take comfort in the fact that there likely isn’t a mother anywhere — including yours — who didn’t have some emotional ups and downs during pregnancy.
It’s a time of tremendous changes, and many questions can creep in. What if my baby isn’t healthy? What if I lose my baby? What if I’m not as good a parent as I want to be? What if delivery is more painful than I can stand? What if I don’t recuperate quickly and have to go back to work before I’m ready? What if I end up responsible for raising this child alone?
And so those worrisome thoughts go, creeping in at inopportune moments and taking you down with them.
You may be surprised to hear this, but many people cite changing emotions as one of the most common side effects during pregnancy. It’s frustrating, even exhausting, to hit so many highs and lows, sometimes all in the same day. You maybe don’t even know which emotion you feel or why you are feeling it.
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Additionally, hormonal shifts, interrupted sleep and other pregnancy related factors can make you emotional, forgetful and sluggish.
Trying to identify the emotion and understand the reason may help. For instance, starting a family is a joyous occasion, but it brings both positive and negative stress. You may find yourself more worried about your future, finances, employment, medical care and other things important to your family stability. The resulting stress contributes to emotional outbreaks.
Fear is another common feeling. In the first trimester, every unpredictable body change may make you worry something is negatively affecting your baby’s health or can cause a miscarriage. As the pregnancy progresses, fear changes: you start to question other things like whether you can take care of a baby or whether something disastrous might happen during the baby’s delivery. The many things you lack control of during a pregnancy contribute to fearful thoughts that can become overwhelming.
Unless you are one of those rare people who doesn’t experience a lot of emotional swings during pregnancy, you are probably on the roller coaster until your baby is born. But there are things you can do to make the ride more enjoyable and less bumpy.
For more resources, read books that can help you through this journey. A couple with information on pregnancy’s emotional side include: “Excited, Exhausted, Expecting: The Emotional Life of Mothers-to-Be” by Arlene Modica Matthews and “Understanding Your Moods When You’re Expecting: Emotions, Mental Health and Happiness” by Dr. Lucy Puryear. Your local library and bookstore are good places to check.

Posted In Behavioral Health, Health Information, Pregnancy, Women’s

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