The last time I spoke with my pregnant sister, she seemed to be feeling rather tormented by the ups and downs of the pregnancy emotional roller coaster. I remember this ride well. Tears of joy, stamping feet in anger and sobbing with sadness all in the same day. A confused partner asking “What’s wrong?”  Me saying, ‘Nothing’s wrong, everything is great’ while sobbing into my pillow.  I really meant it, there was nothing wrong, nothing that I wouldn’t normally just roll my eyes at and forget about.

For many women, pregnancy is a time that brings out intense emotion, and with it an opportunity for personal growth. It can be an emotionally cathartic experience. It can be a time to explore issues that have been tucked away in the back of your mind for many years. It can be really hard for some women to manage the intensity of these emotions, even if there is something useful to gain from the experience.

Here are my tips and tricks for dealing with crazy pregnancy hormones.  If you find that none of this helps and you are feeling down for more than 2 weeks, please talk to your health professional of choice for some support tailored to your unique needs.

1. Eat regularly

Low blood sugar can cause moodiness and is common in early pregnancy.  Just being pregnant means you are using more energy and often eating less due to nausea.  Eating small amounts of high-protein, low-sugar snacks between meals can help to keep your blood sugar levels stable. Follow my guidelines for ‘The Basics of Eating Well During Pregnancy’.

Other signs of low blood sugar levels are dizziness, headaches, trembling, hunger, shakiness, nervousness and funny vision. If you also notice these symptoms, this could be your problem.

2. Drink plenty of water

Anxiety is a sign of dehydration. Many pregnant women suffer from dehydration due to nausea and vomiting. Then there are those that just don’t like to drink water. Drinking an adequate amount of water is vital in pregnancy due to the increase in your body’s blood volume and for the exchange of nutrients and waste products between mother and baby. Keeping properly hydrated can also help prevent other common pregnancy troubles such as urinary tract infections, constipation and haemorrhoids.
If you are dehydrated due to excessive vomiting and can’t stomach the idea of drinking then you need to see your health practitioner ASAP.

3. Get some exercise

Exercise has many benefits during pregnancy. It can help with pregnancy moodiness because it produces the ‘feel good’ hormones- endorphins. Exercise will also help you to avoid stacking on loads of ‘baby fat’ and will help to build up the stamina needed for labour.  To get the endorphins working for you, you really only need to spend 15-20 minutes a day walking at an intensity that makes you feel your body is working but still allows you to breath through your nose. As your fitness improves the speed that you can walk and still breathe through your nose will increase.If you are already quite fit, you can continue doing any exercise you were doing before pregnancy, just be sensible and be careful not to overheat or work your heart too hard.

Yoga is a great exercise for pregnancy moodiness as it provides both physical and mental fitness. We have some great pregnancy yoga routines for each stage of pregnancy available for naturaltransition.com members.

4. Talk it over with someone

Better out than in! Many people find that sharing their thoughts with someone they trust helps to make sense of what is going on and helps to keep things in perspective.

5. Journal

Keeping a pregnancy journal is a lovely way to both document your pregnancy and to get your thoughts and feelings out of your head and into words.  This can help you can make sense of your feelings. Also a good excuse to buy yourself a beautiful note book, shopping can be therapy too…

6. Bach flower essences

These help to reduce the mood swings in a gentle way and can bring about emotional balance so that you no longer feel at the mercy of your emotions. Bach flower essences are readily available world wide from health food stores and many pharmacies. Below are the remedies that I find most useful for pregnancy mood swings. Take a look through the list and see if any of them stand out for you.

Gentian – For discouragement
Gorse – For hopelessness and despair
Impatiens – For impatience
Willow – For resentment
Crab apple – For a sense of physical unhealthiness
Wild oats – For uncertainness you are on the right path
Pine- For self – reproach and guilt
Larch – For lack of self confidence
Oak – For the feeling that you are struggling on
Mimulus – For fear of known things
Walnut – For protection against outside influences
Sweet chestnut – For extreme anguish
Honey suckle –
For living in the past
Heather – For obsession over your own health
Wild rose – For resignation and apathy

If you find yourself overwhelmed by emotion you can use Rescue Remedy which is a combination of remedies for traumatic situations.

7. Herbal teas

There are some herbs that are safe to use in early pregnancy as teas and many that are not. Herbs can be a gentle way to calm and nurture your self through the physical and emotional adjustments.

Here is my list of safe herbs that help calm a hormonal moody mamma to be in her first trimester. Teas are a safer way to take herbs during pregnancy since you are not getting large amounts of the active ingredients.

This list contains herbs that are safe for self prescribing if taken in tea form.

  • Chamomile
  • Lemon balm
  • Lime flowers (Linden)
  • Peppermint

To make a herbal tea, put 1 tablespoon of herbs into a teapot with about 250ml of boiling water. Let it infuse for about 15mintes.

8. Aromatherapy

Aromatherapy oils can be used in a number of ways to help you relax. You can try 20 drops of essential oil in a spritzer bottle and spray around the house or onto your clothes or pillow. You can add about 10 drops to an oil burner or add 10 drops to a nice warm bath. If adding essential oils to a bath, be sure to dissolve the oils in a bit of shampoo or bubble bath before adding to the water or you are likely to end up with irritated, burning skin . You need to be careful about the oils that you choose in early pregnancy so it is best to stick to this short list I have compiled.

Spearmint oil- a good nerve tonic that helps fight off mental fatigue and nervous stress.
Grapefruit oil- a natural anti-depressant as it uplifts and refreshes the mood.
Lemon oil- said to eliminate emotional confusion and improve one’s sense of humour and sense of well-being.
Sweet orange oil- has antidepressant and mild sedative properties.

9. Nutritional supplements

B complex, magnesium and fish oils are the key nutrients for pregnancy mood regulation. Make sure you use good quality supplements; there is a big difference between cheap vitamins and more expensive, good quality ones.

10. Get enough sleep.

Nap if you need it. Enough said.

11. Try our relaxation exercises

In the naturaltransition.com member’s area you will find a progressive relaxation and visualisation exercise for stress management as well as a whole lot of music especially designed for deep relaxation. Now is a great time to learn how to use these relaxation techniques.  You will need these skills for labour and coping with life after baby.

12. Emotional Freedom Technique

‘EFT’ is based on a theory that negative emotions are caused by disturbances in the body’s energy field. Tapping on the meridians while thinking of a negative emotion alters the body’s energy field, restoring it to “balance”.  It’s often described as a type of emotional acupuncture without needles. It is an easy self help technique and can be used by anyone for anything that has an emotional component to it. Take a look at this great free video from www.tapping.com for a through step by step instruction session showing how to use the technique for self help.

If you have any questions or comments I’d love to read them! Maybe you have some more tips or your own experiences to share? Leave me a reply.