Many would-be moms might think that the crying pregnant woman is just a stereotype and not a reality. However, nothing could be further from the truth. Crying a lot while pregnant is perfectly normal and very common.
Your emotional ups and downs during pregnancy are more than likely caused by the bevy of hormones coursing through your system. Elevated levels of estrogen, progesterone, and human chorionic gonadotropin (hCG) all cause emotional crying outbursts and pregnant women to feel weepy.
The three main hormones that women contend with while pregnant:
- Estrogen: Estrogen is produced in a woman’s ovaries. It is the dominant female hormone that a woman produces throughout her childbearing years but during pregnancy it spikes.
- Progesterone: During pregnancy, the lining of the uterus must be maintained in order for the fetus to successfully grow and develop. Progesterone plays a key role in creating an ideal womb environment for your baby. The hormone is produced by the corpus gonadotropin during the early part of a pregnancy and then by the placenta after the pregnancy advances.
- Human Chorionic Gonadotropin (hCG): HCG is often referred to as the ‘pregnancy hormone’. The hormone is produced during the early weeks of pregnancy and it is used what most pregnancy tests detect. It is made by the placenta throughout pregnancy and helps to nurture the corpus luteum.
Hormones and Moods
As the hormone levels rise in the body they directly affect the neurotransmitters. The chief job of neurotransmitters is to relay signals to the brain. The hormones cause changes to occur which are believed to bring about mood swings and crying during pregnancy.
Other Causes of Pregnancy Mood Swings
Pregnancy is a life-altering change and is sure to cause varying degrees of stress and worry. Many new moms become concerned about being a good mother or how they will handle their newborn. There are a large array of worries that plague new moms. Changes in metabolism, fatigue, and stress all lead to moodiness, according to the American Pregnancy Association.
The First Trimester Causes Crying
During the first trimester, as your body adjusts to the changes of pregnancy you will probably feel moody and on the verge of crying. The worse time is between 6 weeks to 8 weeks as your body adjusts to its surging hormones.
Second Trimester Gets Better
When the second trimester arrives your body will have adjusted better to your changing hormones. You will feel more confident and in control. This is often the best time during pregnancy for many women. Their emotions are more under control, they feel energized, and morning sickness is gone.
Last Trimester Crying
Many women also start to cry and feel emotional swings during the last trimester of pregnancy. The moodiness is usually worse right before childbirth as your body prepares for labor and delivery.
After Your Baby is Born
You might think that your crying will cease when you give birth but that is often not the case. After birth, a woman’s hormones are in even more turmoil as her body adjusts to a non-pregnancy state.
Tips on How to Stop Crying a Lot During Pregnancy
There are several ways that you can combat mood swings and crying a lot while pregnant.
- Indulge in Frequent Breaks: Take breaks throughout the day to rejuvenate. When you are pregnant it is okay to give yourself more time to complete daily tasks.
- Get regular exercise: Sometimes a refreshing walk is all you need to feel rejuvenated.
- Stress: Avoid stress during your pregnancy. It is not good for you or your baby.
- Help: Accept the offers of help from friends and family so you don’t feel overwhelmed
- Outside: Head outside to bask in the sunshine. The sun’s Vitamin D is a natural mood lifter.
- Foods: Eat a well-balanced diet that contains nutritious foods such as fruits and vegetables.
- Sleep: Get plenty of sleep. If you feel like taking a nap then go for it.
- Pampering: Pamper yourself with whatever you like such as going to see a movie, getting a massage, or receiving a pedicure
- Quality Time: Spend some quality time with your partner because soon you will have a new member of the family who is going to need all of your attention
When to Seek Help
Yes, crying and mood swings are normal during pregnancy but if they persist for more than two weeks then you should discuss how you feel with your obstetrician. Many people refer to feeling depressed during pregnancy as the ‘baby blues’. Depression can occur and become serious if proper help is not received. According to a report done by LiveScience as many as 10 percent of women suffer from depression during pregnancy.
What the Experts Say
“Pregnancy is a huge transition in a woman’s life, and it involves a complex mix of emotions, both good and bad,” said Dr. Mary Kimmel, medical director of the Perinatal Psychiatry Inpatient Unit and an assistant professor of psychiatry at the University of North Carolina School of Medicine in Chapel Hill. “At a biological level, the hormones estrogen and progesterone are ramping up.”
“Estrogen and progesterone are skyrocketing at the beginning of your pregnancy,” according to Lucy Puryear, M.D., psychiatrist, and author of Understanding Your Moods When You’re Expecting.
“You’re wearing your emotions on your fingertips, so you’re much more reactive to everything,” states Jennifer L. Hartstein, Ph.D., a family therapist in New York City. “After your meltdown, you can get freaked out, thinking, What is wrong with me? This will get you upset all over again. Just remember that it’s normal, and try to laugh it off and move on.”
“They were happy and excited,” says Dr. Leslie Hartley Gise, a psychiatrist, and professor at the John A. Burns School of Medicine at the University of Hawaii. “But pregnancy can be a very stressful time from a psychosocial point of view. We don’t completely understand why some women are susceptible to hormone changes and some aren’t.”
Crying during pregnancy is a natural part of the entire process. You should not stress over getting weepy during such an emotional time. Your body is adjusting to some big changes so it’s only natural that you will find yourself crying over things that probably never bothered you before.