Patience, understanding and communication will help you cope with the emotional highs and lows that can occur during pregnancy.
Pregnancy is a time of change, both physically and emotionally. Even a planned pregnancy can cause emotional highs and lows. Some of these feelings can be caused by the normal physical and hormonal changes during pregnancy.
Sometimes feelings come from having an unrealistic view of how an expectant parent should feel and act during pregnancy. Unfortunately, for some people, feeling low at times is common. HOWEVER, if you and/or your partner experience long periods of sadness, crying or anxiety, tell your caregiver. If you are concerned about your emotional well-being, talk to your caregiver or someone else you trust. Sometimes professional support is needed to help you and your family.
These emotions will not simply disappear after the birth of the baby. If left untreated, these symptoms can become more severe after baby is born.
Here are some suggestions that may help you experience fewer highs and lows:
- Get enough rest and sleep. It’s important not to become overtired
- Eat well
- Stay active and exercise regularly
- Keep your life simple. Try to avoid making major changes such as moving or starting a new job. If you can’t avoid changes, try to find support. Ask for and accept help from others
- Talk about your feelings with someone who understands
- Make time for yourself every day even if it’s just for a few minutes. A short walk, a bubble bath or reading can help you relax
- Listen to your favorite music, meditate or attend a relaxation class
What about my relationships?
When the reality of the pregnancy sets in, you may have many questions about how it will impact your relationships. What about the emotional changes for both you and your partner? What about sexuality during the prenatal period? Where do expectant parents find support? How can partners best support each other?
The discovery of a new pregnancy is a life-changing event. Whether the pregnancy was one which was very much planned, or whether it was quite a surprise, accepting that this pregnancy will bring a new person into the world within a matter of months might be the trigger for a huge range of emotions.
The changes you experience during pregnancy can affect your emotions and your sexuality. You and your partner may both undergo changes in desire for physical intimacy.
What can you expect? You may notice an increased desire, a complete lack of interest in sex or something in between. Lack of interest in sex may be caused by fatigue, nausea, fear of harming the baby or feeling unattractive. An increased interest may result from increased hormones causing sexual desire. These feelings may vary during your pregnancy and the first months after the birth of your baby.
You can express your sexuality in many ways. Intimacy and caring for one another include cuddling, hugging, kissing and showing tenderness towards each other. Talking about your feelings may also help you to understand each other’s needs.
- Sexual intercourse is safe throughout pregnancy unless your caregiver discourages it for medical reasons.
- It is normal to experience Braxton-Hicks contractions (pre-labor pains) during sexual contact (orgasm or nipple stimulation). If you are concerned about this, talk to your caregiver.
- If you are not in a long-term relationship, use condoms to prevent sexually-transmitted infections.
Contact with other expectant parents can also be helpful. No one understands pregnancy like other expectant parents. Childbirth education classes, prenatal exercise courses or similar social activities are good places to meet other expectant parents.