First time pregnancy: coping with stress, mood swings & my 3 tips to deal with anxiety

Congratulations! If you click into here, it means a high chance that you are also a first time pregnancy mum-to-be. While celebrating in the first joy and excitement, discovering pregnancy is only a starting point. There could be a number of questions cascade into you which you might feel overloaded.

In my case, everything comes in shock, fast but natural, I didn’t have a planned pregnancy and my menstrual cycle is actually quite a mess in previous 2-3 years. Me and my husband are counted as blessed situation because of the support from our friends and family, as well as stable financial source with our full-time jobs. However given to all these prerequisites, it still do not cease my worry or concerns over having a little cute life inside my body.

Pregnancy anxiety is real, especially when you are also a first time mum. I am sure a lot of you would share the same feeling, rest assure, you are not alone.

What would first time pregnancy mums think about during stress and anxiety?

  • Am I capable to be a good mum?
  • Is my husband also willing the share the same responsibility?
  • Am I ready to carry the responsibility on taking care and bringing a new life to Earth?
  • Do we have enough financial coverage?
  • What are the doctor appointments I should book and what are the check ups?
  • When would my body started to have reactions towards pregnancy?
  • How pain would I feel during labour?

I would say all these are valid concerns. Same as myself I would also think about all the above questions. Meanwhile to have a healthy and beautiful pregnancy journey, it is vital to always remember this is a blessing from mother nature! Learning why you would have a mood swing and understanding your hormonal change is the key to accept and understand yourself even more, paving the long way to a healthier pregnancy journey!

Why would I have anxiety, mood swings and constant stress during pregnancy?

Our body would release two typical hormone to high level that causes us stress and anxiety. They are called Estrogen and Progesterone.

Estrogen works throughout your entire body and is active in the region of the brain that regulates mood — so it’s no surprise that this hormone is associated with anxiety, irritability, and depression.

Progesterone, on the other hand, is a hormone that helps to loosen your muscles and joints and prevent early contractions. It is also one of the hormone happening inside your gut to help pregnancy women regulate gut health by soothing your gut muscles and avoid constipation. Consequently, it can cause fatigue, sluggishness, and even sadness.

According to research from Children Health System, women who experienced Premenstrual Syndrome mood swings would have a high chance to have pregnancy mood swing as well. Thus it is very important for you to face this issues and understand it.

What could I do to reduce Pregnancy Stress?

#1 Moderate Exercise Daily

Do you know why you would feel inside out glowing after a 15-30 minutes walk or yoga stretch? In fact sweating a little helps a long way. Science backed evidence shows exercise, or achieving something we believe is hard but eventually completed would release a happy hormone called endorphins and keeps you motivated with dopamines.

Endorphins are neurotransmitters that help you to cope with pain and stress, dopamine is a mood-boosting neurotransmitter that is released after you reach a goal.

Dopamine is involved in the reward circuit in your brain and helps to motivate you toward tasks (in contrast, low dopamine would also be de-motivating). Higher endorphins can actually lead to higher dopamine production; in this way, endorphins and dopamine are not mutually exclusive but are actually connected in the system that promotes action toward rewards and the good feelings that result.

#2 Experience a morning meditation

Meditation is the ultra drastic and epic tool to help feel clear, more focused and positive. Trust me, I am speaking from personal experience. It could be hard to understand why sitting alone for 10 minutes might create such a long lasting effect, while it actually ties with the similar reason on point one, which is Meditation helps releasing dopamine.

With this long-lasting motivation emotion created via meditation, you would feel more intentional on everything you done or perform on the day. For example you would be aware of what you eat, how you talk to others and how you care about your own body. When you are more focus for this moment and awareness of now, you would compose a more desirable present leading to less stress and tension eventually.

#3 Share your feelings openly with your partner over a lunch or dinner, in a calm mood

Relationship support is always the key to hold up yourself. As the old saying goes, if we want to go fast, go alone. If we want to go far, go together. Two people is always better than one, because we can support, nurture and grow together.

When it comes to pregnancy, naturally it is the responsibility of two people together. Hence an open and honest but calm and peace conversation expressing your feelings would let the person next to you feel he could understand more and react with care.

To some of us, especially in the relatively reserved Asian culture or introvert personality, it could be difficult to talk about weakness or ask for help. Try to bring up the topic over a meal casually, speaking with calm and mature tone to communicate your true feeling would be a good start.

Regardless of which stage of pregnancy you are in, pregnancy stress and mood swings are real physically and mentally. Ultimately we all desire a healthy pregnancy journey and a smooth progress to delivery our baby. I hope the about tips would be working for you and do let me know if you have experienced some of the stress and anxiety before!

Together we could create support among this community.

By Courtney

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