Mood Swings During Pregnancy: Causes and Management

Updated on March 26, 2021

Pregnancy, though one of the most beautiful and precious phases of a woman’s life, also comes with a lot of physical and emotional downtimes. A pregnant woman is a person literally growing another person inside her and hence, needless to say, the bodies of pregnant women go through a lot of changes physically as well as mentally. Though the physical changes are something we all understand and empathize with, we often fail to address the mental changes a woman goes through- changes that often manifest themselves in the form of bouts of irritation, erratic unexplained behaviors, and mood swings during pregnancy. 

Mood Swings During Pregnancy- Why Does It Happen and When Does It Start?

During pregnancy, the hormone levels in a woman are all over the place and tend to change massively. The amount of estrogen and progesterone produced in the blood maximizes to whole new levels in order to prepare the body for a hearty pregnancy. What also happens as a cause of increased levels of estrogen and progesterone, however, is a resulting emotional imbalance and instability. While the range and intensity of these mood swings differ from woman to woman, depending on one’s sensitivity to the hormone, all women do get affected by it in their own ways.

The range of emotions pregnant women suffer from as a result of the said emotional balance include bouts of unexplained tears, an unsettling feeling from within, irritation, confusion, fear, anxiety, and even panic attacks in some cases. These feelings caused by the fluctuating hormones may be tough to understand or accept but it is an absolutely normal phenomenon that no pregnant woman should beat herself down for.

Mood swings during pregnancy can start as early as the first trimester and can’t stay even until you’re completely healed from the postpartum period.

What Triggers Mood Swings During Pregnancy?

A couple of factors can trigger mood swings and an unexplained outburst of emotions during pregnancy including-

  • Internal bodily changes: As explained, the fluctuating imbalance in hormones and the overall internal changes in the body of a woman are the primary reason for them to feel triggered and undergo a range of emotions.
  • Physical symptoms of pregnancy: Fatigue, morning sickness, uneasiness, body pain, forgetfulness, prolonged tiredness, and other similar pregnancy symptoms also understandably trigger a range of mood swings and emotions. 
  • Motherhood anxiety: During pregnancy, most women tend to feel anxiety and fear of the unknown with regards to the future child. Questions and doubts like ‘will I be able to take care of the baby,’ or ‘will my baby be born healthy’ tend to bother mothers, creating stress and anxiety, also triggering a range of emotional ups and downs.

What Mood Swings Can I Expect During Pregnancy?

Women typically tend to fluctuate between a range of emotions trimester by trimester, feeling a heightened sense of one emotion in a particular trimester than others.

Trimester 1

Fear is the most commonly felt emotion during the first trimester, especially for first-time mothers. This is because mothers find themselves torn between worries about handling the baby while balancing other aspects of life along with the fear of having a miscarriage. Most women tend to find themselves in a state of confusing fear, always trying to micromanage and trying to make sure they do everything correctly – even the basics like eating and walking! This is also because the first trimester is when the motherhood instinct comes in and women want to make sure their baby is safe and well-taken=care-of.

Trimester 2

Trimester 2 is when women typically tend to start getting used to the idea of having a baby and the physical symptoms of pregnancy also start to diminish. The first baby scan is also done by the time the second-trimester hits and so, a lot of fear and anxiety may alleviate. A general sense of worrying unmaking sure everything is correct, however, would still remain.

Trimester 3

The third trimester, again, may tend to bring in a whole new range of emotions and mood swings because it finally is showtime! The woman is again forced to move out of the comfort zone and have to pop the baby, also then having to care for the baby. A range of questions like ‘what if there’s no one around me when I go into labor’ or ‘will I be able to take care of my baby’ may creep in. It should be understood that childbirth, after all, is a monumental event and these fears are only natural. 

Crying During Pregnancy

Unexpected crying, bouts of tears are some of the most common emotions women suffer during pregnancy through all semesters; and even post-pregnancy. Even the smallest of things like a random video of a cute cat or a misplaced belonging may make the mother cry incessantly. This is absolutely normal given the huge shift and fluctuation of hormones and usually is not something one needs to be worried about. Just make sure you find yourself support to help you get through these phases.

Anxiety During Pregnancy

Anxiety is reported to be experienced by 10% of women during their prenatal stages. The reason for anxiety range from the fear of a miscarriage in the first trimester, all the way to the increasing weight in the second trimester and then the kicks of the baby in the third. Women feel anxious about everything: taking the right care of the baby, eating the right food, sleeping the right way, and even about the way a baby moves in the stomach. When it comes to postpartum anxiety, women usually begin to start feeling worried about how’s life going to change after the baby comes in and a whole new episode of anxiety kicks through the roof!

Anger During Pregnancy

Anger is another all-prevalent emotion women experience during pregnancy. The hormones to be blamed again! A lot of irritability and unexplained fury may kick on for the smallest of things that may seem absolutely normal as a non-pregnant person to the family around. Hang in there mamma, focus on taking a day at a time through these side effects!

Forgetfulness During Pregnancy

Forgetfulness is another common emotion felt during pregnancy by women. Forgetfulness or ‘brain fogging’ as it is referred to, is a scientifically proven phenomenon that is caused due to changes in the brain. The right side of the brain (the side associated with emotional skills) gets aggravated and exhibits increased activity in the brain, while the brain cell volume decreases causing brain forging or forgetfulness. This is again a common emotion felt during pregnancy and nothing women need to be worried about.

Low Self-Esteem And Body Image During Pregnancy

Weight gain and a blown-up body is an inevitable physical symptom of pregnancy, but also a fact, not most women tend to get accustomed to at first. The body image issues usually begin to set in after the second trimester when the woman first starts to ‘show’ and stops fitting in her favorite pair of jeans from pre-pregnancy days. But again through the process, mothers should understand that they are certain about a life inside them, and though it may come at the cost of being so ‘big,’ it is just a part of the bigger scheme of things after all! Never let this negativity set you off!

Final Thoughts: How To Manage Pregnancy Emotions & Mood Swings

Now that you know the whirlwind of emotions that take place during the pregnancy, the next big question that arises is how to manage the emotions and not let them take over the better of you?

  • Take ‘me’ time seriously:

Do not feel afraid to spend time on your own as it is, not just you- it is your baby too! Say no to people and plans you don’t necessarily have the energy to meet and take time on your own to relax and to just chill through your pregnancy. Rejuvenate and relax- you deserve the calm!

  • Seek support when you need it

Do not ever feel like you need to take care of everything on your own and that you will be considered weak if you seek support. Talk to people who are close to you and take off the stress from your chest every time you need to. Those who love you will also love to be with you through all your inhibitions!

  • Do not succumb to negativity

The internet and the world is a huge playground and you will find people talking all sorts of negative things all the time. Choose wisely and be selective of where you want to spend your energy. Steer off of native energies, people and talks. Avoid reading about things that scare you and try to be as positive as possible.

  • Don’t believe too much in everything that Google says

Stop looking up every symptom on Google! It should be understood that most pages on Google are just opinions of people and you do not have to believe in everything you read on the internet. if you really are worried about something, talk to your doctor- they will be your best solution finders!

  • Treat yourself!

As a pregnant woman, cravings will also perhaps be in full swing and if you feel like having that extra black current scoop- by all means, go for it! Just be easy on yourself and live every day during pregnancy on your own terms. Happy mommy, happy baby- here’s nothing to be guilty about!

  • Join a support group

There are multiple mom support groups online as well as offline. At times being around people who are going through the same range of feelings and emotions as you may help you feel better. The reassurance that you are not alone may be all you need!

  • Move a little every day

Though you may want to just snuggle up on your couch and not lift a finger on days, try to engage yourself in some physical activity every day (even if it is bare minimum activity like going for a walk in your backyard). Exercise during pregnancies is regarded as one of the best mood uplifters. 

For the rest, just relax and cut yourself a slack mamma! You and your baby deserve the world and you guys will have it. Focus on the day, exhale the worries of tomorrow, and remember, help is right around the corner. Your loved ones will do everything to see you happy, do not ever feel afraid to reach out for help when you need it. And as you prepare for the arrival of your baby, feel free to reach out to us at Parenthood Bliss for all the information you’ll ever need around pregnancy and childbirth. We are here with you, for you- you got this mamma!


1) How do I know if my pregnancy mood swings are depression?

Depression during pregnancy and postpartum depression is a common scenario, one that you should not run away from and should instead seek professional help for. Depression is not just bad for the mother but also for the baby. Here are some symptoms of depression during pregnancy-

  • A lack of energy or motivation to do anything for a prolonged number of days
  • Not feeling bothered about anything (a sense of wanting to detach from everything)
  • An inability to make decisions for yourself
  • Finding yourself in incessant tears every day, all-day
  • Feeling agitated, angry, furious, irritated every day
  • Losing your self-confidence
  • A heightened feeling of being worthless, guilty, and useless
  • Even the smallest onset of suicidal thoughts

2) What is nesting during pregnancy?

Nesting during pregnancy is when mothers feel an unnerving urge to clean everything in the house, typically around the third semester, in order to get everything ready for the baby. Estrogen, the pregnancy hormone, is usually associated with causing mothers to feel this urge of setting everything in order for the baby.

3) Are you angrier when pregnant with a boy?

An old wive’s tale suggests that mothers feel angry and get more irritated when carrying a baby boy instead of a baby girl. However, it is actually just a myth, not backed by any scientific reasons. pregnancy mood swings are common for mothers, regardless of the gender of the baby in the tummy.

The Editorial Team at Healthcare Business Today is made up of skilled healthcare writers and experts, led by our managing editor, Daniel Casciato, who has over 25 years of experience in healthcare writing. Since 1998, we have produced compelling and informative content for numerous publications, establishing ourselves as a trusted resource for health and wellness information. We offer readers access to fresh health, medicine, science, and technology developments and the latest in patient news, emphasizing how these developments affect our lives.