The moment a home pregnancy test signals positive, most moms-to-be will find themselves on a rollercoaster ride of emotions.The good news? It’s normal and it comes with the territory. Here’s what you need to know.
You can thank elevated levels of progesterone and estrogen for those bouts of weeping and laughing (the same hormones that wreak havoc during PMS). “Some women have depressed mood as levels of progesterone increase, but this is very variable from individual to individual,” says Michele Farrugia, an obstetrician and gynecologist at Toronto’s Mount Sinai Hospital. Besides hormones, consider that the responsibility of impending parenthood, morning sickness and other changes can profoundly drain you and contribute to your mood swings.
You may find you’re getting minimal shut-eye while your body’s working overtime to make a baby—and this can contribute to feelings of exhaustion, as well as a shorter fuse. Farrugia says, “Many women are very sleepy and exhausted in the first trimester.” Take heart, your energy levels should start to bounce back by the fourth month. “I suggest women cope with exhaustion by slowing down, reducing obligations, soliciting help for non-essential tasks and sleeping more,” she says.
Don’t forget to ask for help when you need it. “For a woman who is tired, having someone help with chores or provide childcare to other kids is useful,” says Farrugia. “And if you’re still feeling nauseated, it’s great to get someone to take over cooking so you don't have to.” Having friends and family at the ready can make a world of difference and lift your spirits.
Recognize how your mood can be affected by eating, sleeping and physical activity—and try to take good care of yourself. Avoid extra stress as much as you can, says Farrugia. If you’re feeling overwhelmed physically and emotionally, sign up for a prenatal yoga class, or take time out for some pregnancy pampering with a prenatal massage.