Super emotional early pregnancy: Signs, Symptoms, and Ectopic Pregnancy
Mood Swings & Mommy Brain: The Emotional Challenges of Pregnancy
The physical changes in a woman’s body during pregnancy receive plenty of attention, but less consideration is given to the emotional changes she could be experiencing.
In addition to her physical health, a woman’s emotional well being and her mental outlook can also play important roles in pregnancy.
During the nine months, a woman’s moods and emotions can range from the highs of feeling overjoyed and excited about having a baby to the lows of feeling impatient and scared as the delivery and motherhood approaches.
Pregnancy can also bring up other emotionally charged issues, such as difficult family relationships, insecurities and unrealistic expectations, which may have previously been suppressed or ignored. In many ways it’s helpful that a woman and her partner have almost a year to adjust to the realities of becoming parents.
“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.
Pregnancy is a unique time period for a number of reasons, she explained.
“At a biological level, the hormones estrogen and progesterone are ramping up,” Kimmel said. Some women are more sensitive to changes in progesterone, and this may make them more irritable, she noted.
Kimmel, who specializes in women’s mood disorders, said there are a lot of issues a mothers-to-be must work through both psychologically and socially. These issues may include: What will a baby mean for my life going forward? How will a child affect my relationships, and will I have support from my partner and family members once the baby arrives? Will I be a good mother, and how will I handle my new responsibilities?
There are also practical concerns associated with bringing a new life into this world, such as being prepared financially for an addition to the family or living on one income, if a woman decides not to work outside the home.
Pregnancy can be an exciting time but it’s also very stressful, which can cause emotions to run high, Kimmel said. She advised women to be aware of their thoughts and feelings, and to find a place to talk about these feelings and work through them.
Here are eight common emotions a woman may experience before and after her baby is born. To learn more about the emotional impact of pregnancy, see the book “Understanding Your Moods When You’re Expecting” (Mariner, 2008), by Dr. Lucy Puryear, a psychiatrist specializing in women’s reproductive mental health at Baylor College of Medicine.
Whether it’s described as moodiness, irritability or crabbiness, pregnancy can bring a roller coaster of emotions.
“Pregnancy is a transition point in a woman’s life and during any transition, a person’s emotions can be up and down,” Kimmel told Live Science. She said that some women’s emotions don’t change that much when they are expecting, but it’s not unusual for women to have mood swings, especially during the early and late stages of pregnancy.
It’s not entirely clear why these mood fluctuations occur, Kimmel said, because a number of changes are happening in a woman’s body, and they are all tied to her emotions.
One key reason may be a flood of hormones. “Some women are sensitive to changes in estrogen, while others are affected by rising levels of progesterone or stress hormones,” Kimmel said.
Fear is another common emotion during pregnancy. In the first trimester, a woman may be afraid of having a miscarriage or doing something that will affect her baby’s health; in her second trimester, she may start to question whether she will be a good mother and be frightened by the enormous responsibilities of caring for a newborn.
By the end of her pregnancy, a woman may be scared of being in pain during labor or concerned that something could go wrong during delivery.
“There is a lot a woman does not have control over during pregnancy,” Kimmel said. And this uncertainty can fuel fearful thoughts. Having some fear is normal, but a woman needs to recognize when a fear is getting stuck in her head or whether she can cope with it, Kimmel noted.
Often anxiety and fear can go hand in hand, Kimmel said, adding that the fear of uncertainty that often comes with pregnancy can lead to anxious thoughts.
Anxiety is a normal emotion and people have it for a reason, Kimmel pointed out. She explained that on a biological level, both the anxiety and fear systems in the brain ramp up during pregnancy. These changes help ensure that a woman keeps her baby safe, cared for and protected after she gives birth.
If a woman has had anxiety in the past, she is more at risk of having it during her pregnancy because of the increased stress she may experience, Kimmel said.
But research has shown that a mother’s anxiety during pregnancy might affect her baby: One 2013 study found that infants born to mothers who had high levels of anxiety during pregnancy had a weakened immune response to vaccines by 6 months of age, compared to babies with more relaxed moms.
The mental fogginess and occasional memory lapses that could cause a woman’s keys to be misplaced and her cell phone to go missing has sometimes been described as “pregnancy brain” or “baby brain.” (These same symptoms are referred to as “mommy brain” or “momnesia” after giving birth.)
Although a common complaint, studies of memory and other cognitive changes in pregnancy and early motherhood have shown mixed results. Some research has suggested that fuzzy thinking and forgetfulness before and after birth may be a result of hormonal fluctuations, especially higher levels of progesterone. Sleep deprivation or the stress of adjusting to a major life transition may also be to blame.
In addition, there’s some evidence that the hippocampus, the part of the brain involved in memory, may change during pregnancy, Kimmel said. With all that’s going on in a pregnant woman’s body and all the thoughts running through her mind, it makes sense that a woman may not be remembering some things, she said. But other reasons for forgetfulness could be that a woman is prioritizing things differently and doing more multitasking, Kimmel suggested.
Some pregnant women may find themselves unexpectedly crying at a sappy pet commercial or bursting into tears after throwing up in early pregnancy.
Women may cry more easily and frequently when they’re expecting and in the early stages of new motherhood because these experiences involve a complex mix of emotions, Kimmel said. Sometimes tearfulness is how our emotions come out, she explained. Fluctuating hormone levels may also contribute to crying spells.
If a woman has been crying a lot and it doesn’t seem to be letting up, it may be a symptom of depression, which can affect about 10 percent of women during and after pregnancy.
Body image issues
During the second and third trimesters, as a woman’s baby bump becomes more visible and she gains more weight, she may feel dissatisfied with her body and its appearance, and this may affect her self-esteem.
Some pregnant women marvel at their rapidly changing bodies and feel radiant, while others worry about the weight gain and regaining their figures after delivering.
These changes to a woman’s looks, shape and perceived attractiveness may bring up a complicated mix of feelings, Kimmel said. Some of these body-image concerns may mean accepting the fact that a woman is pregnant and her body is changing as a result, she said.
The evidence is mixed about whether a “nesting instinct” is a real occurrence during pregnancy, Kimmel said.
Research has shown there are changes in the brains of pregnant women, she explained. Toward the end of pregnancy, the brain’s reward system ramps up in preparation for the baby’s arrival, and this helps make parenting a rewarding experience, Kimmel said.
There are also social activities and preparations for motherhood, such as attending a baby shower, baby-proofing the house and decorating the nursery, which can all lead to a nesting instinct. Some women may feel a strong urge to cook, clean and organize during the third trimester as a way to mentally prepare for the changes a new baby will bring and to feel more in control of the situation.
It was once thought that being pregnant was protective against depression as well as other psychiatric illnesses because of high levels of estrogen, but now its known that this is not the case. A pregnant woman has a similar risk of becoming depressed as a woman who is not having a baby.
The postpartum period is a particularly vulnerable time for women, especially for depression, Kimmel said. The risk for postpartum depression may increase due to a sharp drop in estrogen and progesterone after giving birth and because a new mother may not be sleeping or eating well.
In the first few days after giving birth, up to 80 percent of women may experience the “baby blues.” They may have symptoms ranging from feeling sad and overwhelmed to problems sleeping and frequent crying. Symptoms of the baby blues usually go away two weeks after delivering.
But if a woman has more severe symptoms that last more than two weeks, such as feeling numb or lacking interest in her baby, or she is having thoughts that life is not worth living or of hurting her baby, she needs to reach out and seek help, Kimmel advised. These are all signs of postpartum depression, a condition that may affect about 10 to 20 percent of women who give birth each year, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
It turns out that the brains of women experiencing postpartum depression are different from those who are well, according to research published in 2010 in the American Journal of Psychiatry.
Researchers found that regions of the brain linked with processing emotions were less active in women with postpartum depression than they were in mothers who did not have the condition. This may explain why these mothers typically have trouble bonding with their newborns, the researchers said.
Kimmel reminds mothers who have just had a baby that they need to make time for self-care, whether that means taking a shower or going for a walk.
“What’s really important when taking care of others is to make sure a woman builds in some time to take care of herself,” Kimmel said.
For women who are experiencing depression or anxiety before or after their baby is born, there are a mix of effective treatments, including talk therapy, safe medications and support groups that can reduce or eliminate symptoms, Kimmel said.
Emotions and Mood Swings During Pregnancy
Everyone says it, and it’s true: Being pregnant is a dang roller coaster of emotions if there ever was one. One minute you’re on top of the world, a gestating goddess incarnate. The next, you simultaneously feel like crying and slapping everyone you know in the face. A rational time pregnancy is not.
Feel like every day you’re in a new emotional and physical place with your pregnancy? You’re so not alone. Here are 11 stages pregnant women go through. Hey, at least you get a baby in the end!
1. Yay, I’m pregnant! “Yee haw, I’m having a baby!” you may think after seeing that blessed double line on your pregnancy test. In that moment you’re still basically feeling like yourself (Read: Morning sickness hasn’t kicked in yet), so it’s likely your head is quickly filled with visions of your baby and the type of pregnant woman you’re going to be. “I’m totally going to be one of those glowing earth mamas, who takes nude maternity photos in the forest,” you may think. Yeah, okay.
2. Sweet Georgia asphalt, I’m pregnant! Quickly following the excitement of a positive pregnancy test is often the anxiety of a pregnancy test. “A baby?!” you may think as you envision yourself rocking and burping a small crying human at 4 a.m. Your heart is suddenly pounding and your mouth feels dry. Um, yay?
3. No joke, I literally might be dying (*googles “has anyone ever died from morning sickness?”*). Your plans of being a super healthy, all-natural earth mama may be dashed in the first trimester if and when morning sickness hits. Didn’t think it was possible to sustain on Saltines, ginger ale and peppermints for 12 weeks? Surprise! Welcome to pregnancy.
4. My hottest sexual fantasy right now? Going back to sleep three minutes after opening my eyes in the morning. The exhaustion, ohhhhh, the exhaustion. How are you supposed to live this way? Go to work? Hold a conversation? How have pregnant women of the past gone on walking around and doing normal things when they’re this tired? How?!
5. This (sniff) Kia (sniff) commercial is so beautiful (sob). Making the exhaustion and morning sickness all the more fun is the fact that mood swings have made you super emotional at the same time. There comes a point in pregnancy when you can barely turn on the TV because everything — literally everything — makes you want to cry your little pregnant eyes out. Thanks a bunch, hormones.
6. Have I always wanted to punch everyone this much? Who knew you could feel so sentimental and ragey all at once? Why do the sight of your husband’s dirty clothes on the floor and the snippy woman in the grocery store aisle make you seethe this way?
7. What is this? Is my energy actually returning? It’s a miracle! Now we’re talking. Most women report feeling less tired and more like “themselves” at some point in the second trimester. See ya, Saltines and afternoon naps on the couch. Pass the extra salty French fries and my day planner!
8. I finally get what people mean when they say “glowing”! My hair! My skin! My boobs! I’m a freaking baby-creating goddess! While you may have been feeling more “feeble chic” during the first trimester, the second trimester is when you may really come alive. Long, silky hair; glowing, Instagram-filtered-looking skin; Katy Perry-esque boobs. All that along with an adorable baby bump. It’s happening. And it’s glorious.
9. Annnnd now I’m uncomfortable again. Where did my inner pregnancy goddess go? Sometime in the third trimester (often in that last month or two), things can get real uncomfy. Your tummy has gotten pretty darn big, for one thing. Also? Your organs feel squished, you’re frequently short of breath doing simple things like walking up the stairs, and you have to pee roughly 2,654 a day. Baby, you coming out soon?
10. If alphabetizing my spice rack and washing all the cushion covers to my couch fall under the category of “nesting,” then yeah, I’m nesting. Organizing (and reorganizing and re-reorganizing) is insanely satisfying while you’re waiting for your baby’s arrival. As is cleaning everything in sight. Hurrah for nesting!
11. Welp, this is it! No looking back now. Sometime towards the end of your pregnancy, you just surrender. Surrender to the idea that the discomfort you’re feeling isn’t permanent, and surrender to the idea that your life is about to be forever changed (for the better). And once you do, it’s a beautiful thing. Hey, why didn’t you do this all along?
Weirdest Pregnancy Symptoms
MORE ON HAVING A BABY
10 Things That Might Surprise You About Being Pregnant (for Parents)
Pregnancy info is everywhere. At your first prenatal visit, your doctor will likely give you armfuls of
pamphlets that cover every test and trimester.
Despite all this information, here are 10 common surprises that pregnancy can bring.
1. The Nesting Instinct
Many pregnant women feel the nesting instinct, a powerful urge to prepare their
home for the baby by cleaning and decorating.
As your due date draws closer, you may find yourself cleaning cupboards or washing
walls — things you never would have imagined doing in your ninth month of pregnancy!
This desire to prepare your home can be useful — you’ll have fewer to-do items after
the birth. But be careful not to overdo it.
2. Problems With Concentration
In the first trimester,
tiredness and morning sickness can make many women feel worn out and mentally fuzzy.
But even well-rested pregnant women may have trouble concentrating and periods of
Thinking about the baby plays a role, as do hormonal changes. Everything — including
work, bills, and doctor appointments — may seem less important than the baby and the
coming birth. Making lists can help you remember dates and appointments.
3. Mood Swings
Premenstrual syndrome and pregnancy are alike in many ways. Your breasts swell
and become tender, your hormones go up and down, and you may feel moody. If you have
PMS, you’re likely to have more severe mood swings during pregnancy. They can make
you go from being happy one minute to feeling like crying the next.
Mood swings are very common during pregnancy. They tend to happen more in the first
trimester and toward the end of the third trimester.
Many pregnant women have depression
during pregnancy. If you have symptoms such as sleep problems, changes in eating habits,
and mood swings for longer than 2 weeks, talk to your health care provider.
4. Bra Size
An increase in breast size is one of the first signs of pregnancy. Breast growth
in the first trimester is due to higher levels of the hormones
. That growth in the first trimester might not be the end, either — your
breasts can continue to grow throughout your pregnancy!
Your bra size also can be affected by your ribcage. When you’re pregnant, your
lung capacity increases so you can take in extra oxygen, which may lead to a bigger
chest size. You may need to replace your bras several times during your pregnancy.
5. Skin Changes
Do your friends say you have that pregnancy glow? It’s one of many effects that
can come from hormonal changes and your skin stretching.
Pregnant women have increased blood volume to provide extra blood flow to the uterus
and other organs, especially the kidneys. The greater volume brings more blood
to the vessels and increases oil gland secretion.
Some women develop brownish or yellowish patches called chloasma, or the “mask
of pregnancy,” on their faces. And some will notice a dark line on the midline
of the lower abdomen, known as the linea nigra (or linea negra). They can also have
hyperpigmentation (darkening of the skin) of the nipples, external genitalia, and
anal region. That’s because pregnancy hormones cause the body to make more pigment.
This increased pigment might not be even, so the darkened skin may appear as splotches
of color. Chloasma can’t be prevented, but wearing sunscreen and avoiding UV light
can minimize its effects.
Acne is common during pregnancy because the skin’s sebaceous glands make more oil.
And moles or freckles that you had before pregnancy may get bigger and darker. Most
of these skin changes should go away after you give birth.
Many pregnant women also get heat rash, caused by dampness and sweating. In general,
pregnancy can be an itchy time for a woman. Skin stretching over the abdomen may cause
itchiness and flaking. Your doctor can recommend creams to soothe dry or itchy skin.
6. Hair and Nails
Many women have changes in hair texture and growth during pregnancy. Hormones can
make your hair grow faster and fall out less. But these hair changes usually aren’t
permanent. Many women lose some hair in the postpartum period or after they stop breastfeeding.
Some women find that they grow hair in unwanted places, such as on the face or
belly or around the nipples. Changes in hair texture can make hair drier or oilier.
Some women even find their hair changing color.
Nails, like hair, can change during pregnancy. Extra hormones can make them grow
faster and become stronger. Some women, though, find that their nails split and break
more easily during pregnancy. Like the changes in hair, nail changes aren’t permanent.
If your nails split and tear more easily when you’re pregnant, keep them trimmed and
avoid the chemicals in nail polish and nail polish remover.
7. Shoe Size
Even though you can’t fit into any of your pre-pregnancy clothes, you still have
your shoes, right? Maybe — but maybe not. Extra fluid in their pregnant bodies mean
that many women have swollen feet and need to wear a larger shoe size. Wearing slip-on
shoes in a larger size can be more comfortable, especially in the summer months.
During pregnancy, your body makes the hormone relaxin, which is believed to help
prepare the pubic area and the cervix for the birth. Relaxin loosens the ligaments
in your body, making you less stable and more at risk for injury. It’s easy to overstretch
or strain yourself, especially the joints in your pelvis, lower back, and knees. When
exercising or lifting
objects, go slowly and avoid sudden, jerking movements.
9. Varicose Veins, Hemorrhoids, and Constipation
Varicose veins, usually found in the legs and genital area, happen when blood pools
in veins enlarged by pregnancy hormones. Varicose veins often go away after pregnancy.
To help prevent them:
- avoid standing or sitting for long periods
- wear loose-fitting clothing
- wear support hose
- raise your feet when you sit
Hemorrhoids — varicose veins in the rectum — are common during pregnancy as
well. Your blood volume has increased and your uterus puts pressure on your pelvis.
So the veins in your rectum may enlarge into grape-like clusters. Hemorrhoids can
be very painful, and can bleed, itch, or sting, especially during or after a bowel
Constipation is another common pregnancy woe. It happens because pregnancy hormones
slow the passing of food through the gastrointestinal tract. During the later stages
of pregnancy, your uterus may push against your large intestine, making it hard for
you to have a BM. And constipation can contribute to hemorrhoids because straining
to go may enlarge the veins of the rectum.
The best way to deal with constipation and hemorrhoids is to prevent them. Eating
a fiber-rich diet, drinking plenty of liquids daily, and exercising regularly can
help keep BMs regular. Stool softeners (not laxatives) may also help. If you do have
hemorrhoids, talk to your health care provider about a cream or ointment that can
10. Things That Come Out of Your Body During Labor
So you’ve survived the mood swings and the hemorrhoids, and you think your surprises
are over. But the day you give birth will probably hold the biggest surprises of all.
During pregnancy, fluid surrounds your baby in the amniotic sac. This sac breaks
(or “ruptures”) at the start of or during labor — a moment usually referred
to as your water breaking. For most women in labor, contractions start before their
water breaks. Sometimes the doctor has to rupture the amniotic sac (if the cervix
is already dilated).
How much water can you expect? For a full-term baby, there are about 2 to 3 cups
of amniotic fluid. Some women may feel an intense urge to pee that leads to a gush
of fluid when their water breaks. Others may only feel a trickling down their leg
because the baby’s head acts like a stopper to prevent most of the fluid from leaking
Amniotic fluid is generally sweet-smelling and pale or colorless. It’s replaced
by your body every 3 hours, so don’t be surprised if you continue to leak fluid, about
a cup an hour, until delivery.
Other, unexpected things may come out of your body during labor. Some women have
nausea and vomiting. Others have diarrhea before or during labor, and passing gas
is also common. During the pushing phase of labor, you may lose control of your bladder
A birth plan can help communicate
your wishes to your health care providers about how to handle these and other aspects
of labor and delivery.
Lots of surprises are in store for you when you’re pregnant — but none sweeter
than the way you’ll feel once your newborn is in your arms!
7 Very Early Pregnancy Symptoms That Aren’t Just Your Imagination
Written by Mary Fischer for CafeMom’s blog, The Stir.
One of the toughest parts of trying to get pregnant has to be playing the waiting game each month to see whether or not you get your period and, of course, whether or not you wind up with a positive home pregnancy test.
But even though you can’t confirm things until you get two pink lines or a plus sign on a test stick, there are some really early pregnancy symptoms that might be an indication that you have a baby on board even if it’s way too early to officially detect things yet.
When I got pregnant with my son, I swear I “felt” pregnant a few days after he was conceived. And believe it or not, my mother even looked at me at one point and thought to herself, “Oh my God, she’s pregnant.” I guess I had a glow about me or something like that.
Obviously both of our intuitions turned out to be spot on, so there really must be some truth to the idea that some women “just know” they’re pregnant right from the get-go.
Here are seven very early signs of pregnancy to look out for. (No, you’re not crazy for noticing them.)
Breast tenderness — This is a tricky one, because your boobs could also be hurting due to where you are in your cycle. But having sore tatas could very well mean you’ve got a bun in the oven too.
Unexplained mood swings — And when I say mood swings, I mean mood swings. About two weeks after my son was conceived, my husband picked up barbecue takeout on his way home from work, and he forgot the potato salad. (How DARE he?) And normally I wouldn’t have cared about it at all, but for some reason, I threw a full-blown temper tantrum about that potato salad, to the point where he finally broke down and went and got it for me. (Two weeks later, I had a very good excuse for my little fit.)
Feeling “funny” — I know this one sounds pretty general, but that’s because the definition of “feeling funny” varies from woman to woman. Immediately after I got pregnant, I just felt “off” — and not like myself at all. If something doesn’t feel quite right to you, it’s not your imagination — you might be pregnant.
Weird abdominal pain — This is likely due to implantation, and I know I experienced it for sure. For me, it felt different than menstrual cramps — almost like really, really bad gas. I couldn’t explain it at the time, but obviously there were changes happening in my belly.
Vaginal discharge — Again, this happens to a lot of women anyway during their menstrual cycles, but a white, milky discharge could be a result of your vagina’s walls thickening due to conception.
Extreme fatigue — Feeling tired all of a sudden even though you got plenty of sleep? Well, your body is going through a lot of hormone changes right after you conceive, and it’s forming all those new cells, so feeling tired makes total sense.
Food aversions or cravings — Back to the potato salad incident — I HAD to have that potato salad, so I’m guessing this was my earliest pregnancy craving. Also, the smell of certain foods, like eggs, made me gag, when they hadn’t ever before.
Did you have any super early signs of pregnancy?
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First, Second, and Third Trimester
Being pregnant comes with many changes as your body is growing to make room for your new womb-mate (your boobs, your hair, that giant belly). But one thing that also changes during pregnancy is your mood.
Pregnancy mood swings can happen during all the trimesters (postpartum, too!). Who can you thank for this early shower gift? Fluctuating hormones are happening in your body as it prepares for the miracle of life.
They can be scary, confusing, and unsettling. But mood swings during pregnancy are also totally normal. Here’s what you need to know and how to get through them.
Your hormone levels change big-time during pregnancy. When you get pregnant, the amount of estrogen and progesterone in your blood increases. While these hormones help prepare your body for pregnancy, it can also affect you emotionally.
Some women are especially sensitive to changes in progesterone, which can cause an increase in emotional instability. Your moods can change all throughout pregnancy and may find yourself becoming irritable, moody, and tearful.
Mood swings can start to happen pretty early in pregnancy, but they can also be a normal part of non-pregnant life as a response to stress, lack of sleep, or a mood disorder.
Here’s what might be triggering your pregnancy mood swings (with those pesky hormones in tow).
- Ch-ch-ch-ch-changes. In pregnancy, women can become more sensitive to changes around them. This can cause them to react more suddenly (even unnecessarily) to things that aren’t such a big deal to other people, simply because of those revamped hormones.
- Pregnancy symptoms. Pregnancy can be hard work, especially if you experience side effects such as forgetfulness, morning sickness, and fatigue. It can be hard not to get upset or feel irritated when you’re constantly throwing up or feel super tired.
- Delivery and motherhood worries. Worrying about whether you will be a good parent, your baby will be born healthy, and how you will cope with the birth? Yeah, that stress and anxiety can affect your mood.
At each chapter of the baby’s development, your moods can totally vary. Here’s what you might be feeling during each trimester.
First trimester: During the first 12 to 13 weeks, it’s common to be worried about having a miscarriage. You may find that you panic more about what you’re eating, and what you may be doing right or wrong.
You develop this immediate instinct to protect your baby, and could panic about seeing blood or having cramps in your stomach, constantly fearing the worst.
Second trimester: It can be a relief when you get through the first trimester. After having that first scan and knowing your baby is OK can also alleviate a lot of fears. But, moms can still be afraid of late miscarriages and health problems in general.
Third trimester: The third trimester brings lots of new fears mainly around the birth. How painful it is going to be? Will it result in an emergency C-Section? These are all very common, valid worries. And, it’s important to have support for these fears before the birth.
All trimesters: Found yourself crying over a cute dog in the park, or literally over spilled milk? Yes, that’s totally normal.
First trimester crying is common as your hormones change. Hormonal shifts continue into the second and third trimesters, so randomly crying is a common occurrence throughout pregnancy.
First trimester: Anxiety is common throughout all the trimesters of pregnancy. In fact, 8 to 10 percent of women experience perinatal anxiety.
In the first trimester, anxiety about miscarriage and bodily sensations from your growing uterus may happen. Anxiety over whether you’re eating right, drinking enough water, and exercising enough are also common.
Second trimester: Pregnant women may find themselves getting anxious about how much their bodies are growing. Are you too big or too small? Does that indicate a problem?
You may also experience their first kicks during the later stage of the second trimester, but these can be affected by whether you have a posterior or anterior placenta. The latter makes it harder to feel the baby’s movements. This can be anxiety-provoking to new moms.
Third trimester: At 28 weeks, women are asked to monitor their babies movements. It’s easy to become obsessive over this, and panic over whether they’re feeling their baby enough. Plus wondering whether the movements are normal and when to seek advice.
Other common worries near the end of pregnancy center around the birth, and the fact life is going to be very different with a new baby.
All trimesters: Anger can happen throughout each trimester. Women may find themselves especially angry during the first trimester, as their hormones first start to rise.
Pregnancy can also be frustrating since it comes with many unpleasant side effects (and can be hella uncomfortable). This can cause a lot of irritability and anger over things that don’t seem such a big deal to non-pregnant people.
What’s the deal with forgetfulness and pregnancy brain?
Believe it or not pregnancy-induced brain fog (aka pregnancy brain or baby brain) is a real thing.
Studies have found your brain actually changes during pregnancy. While preggo, your noggin increases activity in the side of the brain associated with emotional skills, and your brain-cell volume decreases during the third trimester.
It may cause you to forget appointments, remember where you left your phone, or what you opened the fridge to look for (pickles?).
A lack of sleep may also make you feel zapped of energy, which your brain needs to stay more focused.
Low self-esteem and body image struggles
First trimester: During the first trimester you’re getting used to the fact you’re creating a life inside of you. Your body doesn’t typically physically change much during the first 12 weeks. However, you may experience some bloat and get upset when you can no longer button up your jeans.
Second trimester: Many women start to “show” when they’re around 14 weeks pregnant. This can be a very exciting or difficult time, especially if body image issues were present before pregnancy.
You may also struggle with seeing other pregnant women who are bigger or smaller than you, and may find yourself comparing yourself to them.
Third trimester: The third trimester is generally when you’re at your biggest, and it can become super uncomfortable. Some women may start to feel self-conscious, which can affect intimacy.
You may also struggle with comments such as “You’re so big!” and “Wow! Are you expecting twins?” These can have a negative effect on confidence and make you wonder whether you’re actually “too big.” The change in weight can also be upsetting for some women even though it’s completely normal.
Nesting… it’s a thing!
Woke up with the sudden urge to clean and get everything ready for your baby? You’re in nesting mode.
Results from a 2013 analysis of two studies found that women’s nesting behaviors peaked in the third trimester.
The pregnancy hormone estrogen could be a factor in the sudden urge to prepare everything for your new arrival, but it doesn’t necessarily mean labor is near.
Pregnancy can be emotionally and physically draining so it’s important to take care of yourself. Here are some tips to combat your mood swings and make you feel more like yourself.
- Have some “me” time. Take naps when you need to, say no to plans you don’t have the energy for, and make the most of things like (not too hot) baths.
- Talk it out. Allow others to give you support, and talk about your worries with people you love and trust.
- Avoid scary pregnancy books and blogs. There are always going to be horror stories out there. Avoid things that scare you into thinking something bad is going to happen.
- Don’t Google every single symptom. The internet is full of misinformation that can make you panic. If you experience anything that doesn’t seem normal, call your midwife or doctor.
- Join some online moms groups for support. Talking to people who are going through exactly what you are can be helpful during challenging times of pregnancy.
- Allow yourself treats without feeling guilty. Don’t feel guilty for giving into your cravings (within reason). Sometimes it’s what your body needs.
- Eat healthy when the hunger strikes. Sugary foods can make you crash and generally make you feel not-so-great. Try snacking on nutritious foods that will make you feel good.
- Take a birth course to help ward off labor scaries. This can help you feel more confident about labor and help you prepare for what’s to come.
- Relax and get moving. Try some meditation or yoga to keep your mind at peace. Exercise is good for you during pregnancy and can help your mood.
- See a mental health professional. If you find yourself struggling with your emotions, there are professionals who can help you manage your emotions and anxieties about pregnancy, birth, and motherhood.
You’ve most likely heard of postpartum depression (aka depression after childbirth), but you can also have depression during pregnancy. One study found almost 20 percent of postpartum depression actually starts during pregnancy.
Undiagnosed and untreated depression during pregnancy isn’t good for mom or baby, and isn’t the same as your hormonal mood swings.
Symptoms of depression during pregnancy include:
- feeling down most of the time
- not being bothered with anything
- being unable to concentrate or make decisions
- feeling tearful a lot of the time
- feeling restless and agitated
- losing your self-confidence
- feeling worthless or guilty
- having suicidal thoughts
If you’re feeling distressed or depressed, it’s important that you contact your midwife or doctor as soon as possible so that they can refer you to a mental health professional.
You’ll likely be referred to a perinatal mental health specialist, and will be monitored more closely during and after your pregnancy.
Keep in mind that mood swings are a totally normal part of pregnancy (even though they can be annoying AF).
Make sure your partner and family are aware of your feelings so they can help. But, if you feel like your mood swings are getting worse, or you think you may be experiencing symptoms of depression or anxiety, talk to your health provider ASAP.
Don’t suffer in silence just because mood swings are “normal.” Seeking help can help get you through it. Finding ways to help your mood swings sooner rather than later, will also help you have the best experience becoming a new mom.
Coping With Mood Swings During Pregnancy
Mood swings during pregnancy are caused by a variety of factors, including your rapidly changing hormones, the physical discomforts of pregnancy, and the very-normal worries of upcoming life change. If you find yourself feeling excited one moment and in tears the next, you’re far from alone.
There’s a reason for the clichéd image of a crying pregnant woman eating pickles and ice cream. It’s based on real life. Here’s why you may experience emotional ups and downs during pregnancy and how to cope.
Pregnancy Hormones and Mood Swings
One big reason for pregnancy mood swings is your rapidly changing hormones—specifically estrogen and progesterone. Estrogen levels soar during the first 12 weeks of pregnancy, increasing by more than 100 times.
Estrogen is associated with the brain chemical serotonin. You may know serotonin as the “happy” hormone, one that many anti-depressant medications attempt to boost. But serotonin isn’t a straightforward connection to happiness. Imbalances and fluctuations in this neurotransmitter can cause emotional dysregulation.
How exactly estrogen and serotonin interact with each other isn’t fully understood. What does seem to be apparent is that changes in estrogen levels—and not a particular level of estrogen—are what cause mood imbalances. Anxiety and irritability, in particular, are associated with estrogen changes.
But it’s not just estrogen that’s increasing. The hormone progesterone also rapidly increases during pregnancy, especially during the first three months. While estrogen is usually associated with energy (and too much of it associated with nervous energy), progesterone is associated with relaxation.
In fact, that’s just what progesterone does in the body during pregnancy. It tells the muscles to relax, partially to prevent premature contractions of the uterus. This muscle relaxation is also a factor in why women experience constipation during pregnancy. Progesterone doesn’t only act on the uterine muscles but also affects the intestinal tract. When your bowels slow down, constipation can be a result.
Relaxation hormones sound nice. But, for some women, progesterone makes them “too” relaxed. This can mean fatigue and even sadness. Progesterone is the hormone that has you crying at all the Hallmark commercials. Taken together—the anxiety and irritability from estrogen and the fatigue and tearfulness from the progesterone—is it any wonder pregnancy triggers mood swings?
Early Pregnancy Mood Swing Triggers
Hormones trigger mood swings during pregnancy, but it’s not only the hormones. The discomforts of pregnancy can cause emotional distress as well. For example, morning sickness, which can really hit you at any time of day, affects up to 70% of pregnant women.
Feelings of nausea and sometimes vomiting can be triggered by the slightest hunger pangs or even the smell of your neighbor’s cooking. For those that experience more severe morning sickness than others, anxiety may arise over whether they will suddenly feel the urge to throw-up during a business meeting. Or they may worry that they will suddenly smell something “off” as they walk down the street.
The stress of not knowing when they might feel sick, and the stress of possibly throwing up unprepared or in public, can be intense. Fatigue is another common early pregnancy symptom and one that can contribute to mood swings. No one feels well emotionally when they are tired, and you may feel really tired during those first months of pregnancy.
Lastly, women who have experienced miscarriage or infertility may be anxious about losing the pregnancy. This fear may be worse during the first trimester when the majority of pregnancy losses occur.
Second Trimester Mood Swings
The second trimester of pregnancy is often called the “honeymoon” phase. Hormones are still changing but much less so than during the first three months. Most women feel more energy and don’t have morning sickness any more—or at least, it’s not as bad.
Still, there are potential emotional triggers. For one, during the second trimester, the body shape changes really kick in. Some women can avoid maternity clothing during the first trimester, but by the second, the need for extra room is unavoidable.
Some women feel excited about their body changes. Finally, they don’t have to pull their stomach in! But others can feel anxious. This is especially true for women who have a history of body image struggles.
Prenatal testing during the second trimester also can cause emotional distress. Amniocentesis, when recommended, is usually done during the early second trimester. Deciding whether or not to have prenatal testing, and anxiety about the results, can cause emotional distress.
Another thing that can lead to mood swings is reading about everything that can possibly go wrong during pregnancy and childbirth. Some pregnancy books are more like long lists of every possible complication. This can occur during any trimester of pregnancy, of course.
Not all of the “mood swings” of pregnancy are negative, however. Some women experience an increase in libido and sexual desire during the second trimester. This is possibly because they are starting to feel physically better, and because of the increased blood flow to the pelvic region.
Third Trimester Mood Swings
During the third trimester, getting comfortable at night can be a problem. Fatigue and difficulty with sleep can lead to mood swings. Fears and worries about the upcoming birth can get intense during the last trimester, along with worries about becoming a mother or worries about mothering another child.
A “new” mood swing you may find yourself experiencing during the third trimester is “nesting.” Nesting is when you are suddenly overcome with a desire to clean, organize, and physically prepare for the baby. Not everyone experiences nesting, and for most, it can be a positive mood experience. For others, especially if there are fears about not having enough to provide for the new child, nesting may lead to anxiety.
Is It Normal to Feel Angry During Pregnancy?
Some women experience irritability and even anger during pregnancy. Hormone changes are one reason for these mood swings. Just like some women experience irritability just before their period arrives every month, these same women may struggle with feelings of frustration and anger during pregnancy.
Additionally, when you aren’t feeling well, your ability to stay calm and collected is lower. As a result, pregnancy fatigue and physical discomfort is a big contributor to pregnancy anger. Keeping your temper under control when you feel constantly tired is challenging.
Then, there are some women who may have feelings of resentment during pregnancy because of their life situation. Maybe their finances aren’t where they want them to be, maybe they are facing stress on the job, or maybe they didn’t truly want to be pregnant. Perhaps their partner pressured them into having another baby when they weren’t ready, or maybe the pregnancy wasn’t planned.
While occasional feelings of frustration are normal, it’s important not to ignore anger if it’s frequent or interfering with your ability to cope with daily life. Some research has found that anger during pregnancy may impact the unborn child. One study found that prenatal anger was associated with reduced fetal growth rate.
Also, if your anger is rooted in not wanting the pregnancy, getting therapy before the baby arrives is essential. Otherwise, early bonding between you and your infant may be negatively impacted. Bonding between a mother and child isn’t just about emotional health, but also affects the child’s physical well-being.
Coping With Pregnancy Mood Swings
Mood swings are pretty much an inevitable part of pregnancy. But that doesn’t mean there aren’t things you can do to make it a little easier. Here are some things you can do to cope.
Be Patient With Yourself
This is a big one. The only thing worse than feeling bad is feeling bad about the fact that you’re feeling bad. Remember that you’re not alone in your experience, that hormones are to blame for much of what you feel, and that this will all pass with time.
Talk to Your Partner and Kids
You might lose your temper, or start to cry unexpectedly. Let your partner—and your kids—know it’s not them. Apologize in advance for those momentary periods of irritability. When talking to your kids, however, be careful not to blame the baby for your moods.
They are likely already nervous that they’ll need to share you with another child. Keeping that in mind, you don’t want to give them additional reasons to be unhappy about the upcoming family change. Instead, just explain that mommy isn’t feeling well lately, but everything is OK and will get better.
Put Down the Fear-Based Pregnancy Books
Of course, you want to have a healthy pregnancy. And of course, you want to be informed so you can make educated choices about your prenatal care, diet, and upcoming birth. However, if those pregnancy books are making you anxious, don’t read them. Find something more positive to read or ask your doctor directly during your prenatal checks.
Prepare for Waves of Morning Sickness
Emotionally, one of the worst parts about morning sickness is that it can strike without warning. This can make you feel out of control, and that can lead to mood swings and worry. To lessen the fears, try to be prepared.
Carry around snacks for sudden hunger pangs. Bring plastic bags such as sandwich baggies in your pockets or in your purse for when you feel like you’re going to vomit and there’s no bathroom available.
If your morning sickness is triggered by unpleasant or strong odors, try carrying something that smells good, to quickly grab and block the unwanted scents. A container of cloves or cinnamon might work or a small bottle of a hand lotion you love.
In the first trimester, you’re likely to be tired no matter how much you sleep. During the third trimester, you may struggle to get comfortable, and that leads to a lack of sleep. But you need sleep. Fatigue is a one-way road to more severe mood swings.
If you can take a nap during the day, take one. Even if it means napping at your desk at work. At home, do whatever you can to make bedtime a calm, quiet period, so you are more likely to get the sleep you need.
Find a Supportive Friend
Feeling fat and “ugly” when you’re looking for pregnancy clothes? Take someone with you who will stand outside the dressing room and tell you how beautiful you are.
You can also take a friend to prenatal appointments. This can be your partner, your friend, or a relative. But having someone with you, especially for ultrasounds or procedures like amniocentesis, can help with nervousness.
Take a Childbirth Course and Hire a Doula
Being fearful of delivery day is common. The more you know, and the more supported you feel, the less anxious you’ll be. Taking childbirth education classes and hiring a doula or a labor support person can help reduce that anxiety.
Connect With Other Expecting Moms
Talking to others about your mood swings and worries can help you feel normal. There are forums and social media groups just for expecting mothers. You can likely find local support groups as well on sites like Meetup, or you may meet other women through a childbirth education class.
Try Yoga or Meditation
Yoga and meditation can help reduce anxiety and increase feelings of well-being. There are many free meditation apps online to try. If you decide to take a yoga class, make sure it’s for pregnant women. Or, if you can’t find a prenatal yoga class, take a gentle or restorative yoga class, and talk to the yoga instructor before class begins about possible adjustments in positions.
See a Counselor
Sometimes, you need a professional to help you cope. That’s OK. You don’t have to be “clinically depressed” to see a therapist. Counselors are there to help people cope with major life changes, and pregnancy and childbirth—whether it’s your first or fifth child—is always a major life change.
Also, a counselor can help you determine if your mood swings are something more than the “typical” experience. And if you’re worried you might actually be depressed or have an anxiety disorder, a therapist can help with this. Your doctor also can help. So, be sure to mention your concerns.
A Word From Verywell
Mood swings are a normal experience during pregnancy. Your body is going through physical and hormonal changes, and your day-to-day life is about to change. Of course, you’re having emotional ups and downs.
While mood swings are common, depression is a different matter. There is also a difference between feeling nervous and having anxiety that interferes with your ability to get through the day. Depression and anxiety aren’t the same as “mood swings.”
Depression or anxiety during pregnancy can increase the risk of experiencing postpartum depression or anxiety. Both depression and anxiety can have adverse health effects on your newborn baby and yourself.
It’s important that you talk to your doctor about your emotional struggles if you think you may be depressed or dealing with an anxiety disorder. According to one study, less than 20% of women who experienced postpartum depression ever mentioned it to their healthcare provider. But your doctor can help, so please, speak up. You don’t need to suffer silently.
Mood Swings During Pregnancy | American Pregnancy Association
Causes and Treatment
If you are pregnant or are supporting someone through pregnancy, you probably have some experience with mood swings. You are not alone; mood swings during pregnancy are common. You may be excited about being pregnant, but you can also be stressed or overwhelmed. You may have constant worries that contribute to your mood swings.
Questions such as:
- Will I be a good parent?
- How am I going to manage financially?
- Will my baby be healthy?
- Am I doing the right things to prepare for my baby?
Pregnancy is a life-changing event full of physical and emotional changes. Understanding these changes will help you have a positive experience. It may prove helpful to talk through these changes and worries with a professional.
What causes pregnancy mood swings?
Mood changes during pregnancy can be caused by physical stresses, fatigue, changes in your metabolism, or by the hormones estrogen and progesterone. Significant changes in your hormone levels can affect your level of neurotransmitters, which are brain chemicals that regulate mood. Mood swings are mostly experienced during the first trimester between 6 to 10 weeks and then again in the third trimester as your body prepares for birth.
Check out this book for ideas on how to keep your mood steady during pregnancy:
- The Pregnant Woman’s Companion: Nine Strategies That Work to Keep Your Peace of Mind Through Pregnancy and Into Parenthood
- Christine D’Amico
What should I do to treat my mood swings?
It is important to understand you are not alone; mood swings are just another aspect of the pregnancy experience. Knowing that what you are experiencing is normal and somewhat expected may help you cope.
The following list includes ways to manage your stress level:
- Get plenty of sleep
- Take a break during the day to relax
- Get regular physical activity
- Eat well
- Spend time with your partner
- Take a nap.
- Go for a walk
- See a movie with a friend
- Don’t be so hard on yourself
- Try pregnancy yoga class or meditation
- Get a massage
When should I seek professional help?
If your mood swings last more than two weeks and do not seem to get better, you may want to ask your health care provider for a referral to a counselor. More than 11 million American women are affected by depression each year. Depression is most prevalent in women during childbearing years but can occur at any age.
Some symptoms of depression include:
- Recurrent anxiety and increased irritability
- Sleep disturbances
- Change in eating habits
- Inability to concentrate on anything for very long
- Short-term memory loss
If your mood swings become more frequent and intense, it is crucial that you speak with your health care provider about options for dealing with severe mood swings, anxiety or depression.
Want to Know More?
Compiled using information from the following sources:
Mayo Clinic Guide To A Healthy Pregnancy, Harms, Roger W., M.D., et al, Part 3.
March of Dimes, https://www.marchofdimes.com
News: Pregnancy as doping – Expert
First there was sex
For the sake of records, coaches are ready to go to great lengths. In the 60s of the XX century, experts noticed that during puberty, athletes are literally overwhelmed with energy and emotions. It turned out that falling in love allows an athlete to significantly increase her performance. And in the USSR, and then in the GDR, they decided to put this feeling at the service of great sport. The girls, who were previously closely watched, got a little more freedom and began to run on dates more than once a month.The results exceeded all expectations! After a while, the presence of novels among young athletes became literally mandatory. To do this, they resorted to a variety of means: for example, they were engaged in individual pandering or held joint gatherings of gymnasts and football players.
But couples were not left unattended – very soon experts discovered that love is love, but sex stimulates even better, since it has a positive effect on the work of the pituitary gland, increases testosterone levels, relaxes tense muscles … Swimmers and runners after a night of love covered the distance much faster, and synchronized swimmers, figure skaters and gymnasts performed exercises more expressively.
When this fact was established, the coaches began to literally put out the lights and put pressure on their players in every possible way.
It happened, of course, that it was impossible to choose a pair for a swimmer or a gymnast: it was not the season for young people, or the schedules did not coincide … But the coaches did not care either: there were practically no laws protecting the rights of women in general and athletes in particular. Therefore, “favoritism” became extremely popular, when the coach, on his own, formed the same “emotional charge” in the ward.Interestingly, the girls themselves did not regard such behavior as obscene or, God forbid, illegal – the mentor with whom they spent all their time was a close person to them.
And although the GDR and the USSR are long gone, their “formula for success” has not been forgotten: in 1997, the head coach of the England Olympic swimming team, Paul Hickson, was accused of corrupting 11 minor athletes – his pupils. When Hickson was given the floor at the trial, he said that he only wished victories for his girls.Strange, but for some reason the judges did not get it.
Germ as a nuclear bomb
Falling in love, of course, is a good thing, but the coaches wanted to find some means that would serve not only as a stimulus, but also as a powerful natural doping.
And it was found. It turned out that in the early stages of pregnancy, a substance called human chorionic gonadotropin is produced in the female body, which acts as a growth hormone, that is, significantly improves the physical condition of a woman.
Moreover, during pregnancy, blood circulation increases, the level of androgens and hormones increases, tidal volume and pulmonary ventilation increase, and protein accumulates. All this surprisingly meets the needs of those sports, the achievements in which depend primarily on aerobic endurance – that is, running, swimming, flat skiing, rowing. However, experts in other sports disciplines were quick to use the new method.
Gymnast Olga Karaseva, who won the gold medal in the team championship at the 1968 Olympics, admitted later that before the tournament, under pressure from the coach, she first got pregnant from her lover, and then had an abortion.
Abortion is an important part of the well-oiled mechanism of “legal doping”. You can, of course, not terminate the pregnancy, but then on the career you can immediately put, if not a cross, then a blot. After all, after childbirth, you will have to recover, and competitors will not waste time. Therefore, compassionate coaches and government officials have always left their wards a choice. What are they – what kind of animals?
If an athlete decided to give birth, then she could easily do it after the tournament. The main thing was to get pregnant three months before it began.Just by this time, a large supply of energy accumulates in the body – a woman becomes twice as hardy and stronger. And you don’t have to worry about the load: you just need to remove the exercises for the press and add to the legs.
An ordinary woman is unlikely to endure something like that, but for a professional athlete, daily training, strict adherence to the regime, diet are commonplace. Their pregnancy is even easier than that of untrained women. In general, it is a paradise for expectant mothers, and you can even get a gold medal.
Many girls put their unborn children on the altar of sporting victories. It seemed to them a natural coaching attitude: “pregnancy or expulsion from the team”
That is why, even now, at almost every major competition in the lists of participants, you can find girls in an interesting position. German skeleton athlete Diana Sartor and Russian skier Larisa Kurkina participated in the Olympic Games in Turin as pregnant women, and Swede Anna-Karin Olofsson in the 2008 Biathlon World Championships.Gymnast Larisa Latynina did not win the Olympic Games alone, and the Finnish woman Liisa Vejalainen won the gold medal at the World Orienteering Championships just at the end of that very third month. But luck does not smile at everyone. For example, at the 1988 Olympics in Seoul, the favorite of the competition, two-time Olympic champion in shooting Marina Logvinenko, took only third place in one of the pistol exercises: due to terrible toxicosis, she was endlessly turned inside out.
Usually athletes refuse to talk about their situation.Out of superstition, many think. But is it only? It is worth asking one of them a question about pregnancy as doping, they immediately have other topics of conversation, important meetings and scheduled interviews.
Many girls put their unborn children on the altar of sports victories. According to the same Karaseva, there were dozens of people like her. It seemed to them a natural coaching attitude: “pregnancy or expulsion from the team.” Among those who devote their whole life to sports, there are always many who want to risk not only themselves.
Photo: Rex / Fotobank
90,000 Adolescent pregnancy
Magnitude of the problem
There are approximately 21 million pregnancies in developing countries each year among girls aged 15-19, of which approximately 12 million result in childbirth 1 .At least 777,000 births in developing
countries are registered among adolescent girls under 15 years of age 2 .
The global adolescent fertility rate is estimated to have declined by 11.6% over the past 20 years. 5 . At the same time, there are large differences between regions in this indicator. For example, the adolescent fertility rate
is 7.1 in the countries of East Asia, and in the countries of Central Africa it reaches 129.5 5 .
There are also huge differences within regions. In 2018, the total adolescent fertility rate in Southeast Asia was 33 90,045 69,046. At the same time, the value of this indicator ranged from 0.3 in the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea
Republic of up to 83 in Bangladesh 5 .
There are huge differences even within countries. For example, in Ethiopia, the total fertility rate ranges from 1.8 in Addis Ababa to 7.2 in the Somalia region, with the proportion of women aged 15-19 who have their first births ranging from 3%
in Addis Ababa up to 23% in the Afar region 7 .
While it is estimated that the adolescent fertility rate is declining globally, the actual number of adolescent births is not declining due to the high – and in some parts of the world, the increase
– the number of young women aged 15-19 years 8 . The largest number of births occurs in East Asia (95,153) and West Africa (70,423) 9
Teenage pregnancy is a global problem affecting high, middle and low income countries.However, globally, teenage pregnancies are higher in marginalized populations and are often due to
poverty, lack of education and employment opportunities 10 .
Several factors contribute to the occurrence of adolescent pregnancy and childbirth. In many societies, girls are forced to marry early and have children 90,045 11,12,13 . In least developed countries, at least 39% of girls leave
married before the age of 18, and 12% – before the age of 15 14 .In many places, girls choose pregnancy due to limited educational or employment opportunities. In such societies, motherhood
emphasizes that marriage or marriage and childbirth may be the best disability available 12 .
Adolescents who wish to avoid pregnancy may be unable to do so due to lack of knowledge and misconceptions about where they can get contraception and how to use it15.Teens face barriers
in access to contraception, including restrictive laws and policies regarding the provision of contraception based on age or marital status, bias from health workers and / or reluctance to admit
the sexual health needs of adolescents; and adolescents’ own inability to access contraception as a result of lack of knowledge, lack of transportation and financial constraints.Also, teenagers
may not have the capacity or discretion to ensure correct and consistent use of contraceptive methods. There are at least 10 million unwanted pregnancies among adolescent girls every year in developing countries
15-19 years old 1 .
Sexual violence is another cause of unwanted pregnancies, which is widespread among more than a third of girls in some countries, reporting coerced first sexual intercourse 16 .
Early adolescent pregnancy has serious health consequences for adolescent mothers and their children. Complications of pregnancy and childbirth are the leading cause of death among girls aged 15-19 years globally, with low- and middle-income countries accounting for 99% of the world’s maternal deaths among women aged 15-49 years 90,045 39,046 … Adolescent mothers (aged 10-19) are at higher risk of eclampsia, postpartum endometritis and systemic infections than women aged 20-24 4 . In addition, approximately 3.9 million unsafe abortions occur annually among adolescent girls aged 15-19, contributing to an increase in maternal mortality, morbidity and long-term disability 1 .
Early childbirth increases the risk for both mothers and their newborns. Children born before age 20 have a higher risk of low birth weight, prematurity and severe neonatal illness 4 .In some countries, frequent pregnancy at a young age is a serious concern as it poses additional health risks to both mother and child 17 .
Social impact on unmarried pregnant adolescents may include stigma, social rejection or violence from partners, parents and peers. Girls who become pregnant before the age of 18 are more likely to experience violence in their marriage or partners 16 .Pregnancy and adolescent childbirth often force girls to drop out of school. While efforts are being made in a number of countries to allow them to return to work after childbirth, this could seriously limit their future education and employment opportunities 90,045 19 90,046.
Prevention of adolescent pregnancy and associated mortality and morbidity, and prevention of HIV infection and HIV-related deaths among adolescents and young people, was neglected in the early achievement of the Millennium Development Goals due to having competing priorities 20 .During this period, WHO collaborated with partners to raise awareness of adolescents, expand evidence and an epidemiological basis for action, including preparing WHO guidelines on preventing early pregnancy and adverse outcomes in adolescents in developing countries 21 , developing and testing support tools programs, capacity building and pilot initiatives in a small but growing number of countries that have recognized the need to tackle adolescent health issues.With the world moving towards the Sustainable Development Goals, adolescents are at the center of the global health and development agenda 21 .
While WHO continues to work on advocacy, evidence collection, tool development and capacity building, the focus is now on revitalizing action at the country level. WHO is working closely with partners within and outside the United Nations system to contribute to efforts around the world to prevent children from becoming wives and mothers.WHO’s work is aimed at expanding the evidence base for action and supporting the use of evidence in well-designed and effective programs at the national and subnational levels. For example, WHO is working closely with UNICEF, UNFPA and UN-Women in the global revitalization program against child marriage 22 . WHO is also collaborating with the Planned Family 2020 Global Partnership, which aims to provide an additional 120 million women and girls with access to contraception by 2020.
NGOs play a leading role in the prevention of teenage pregnancy in many countries with bold and innovative projects. The number of national programs successfully implemented under government leadership, for example in Chile, Ethiopia and the United Kingdom, is currently small but growing 23 . These countries show what can be achieved by using sound scientific knowledge combined with strong leadership, management and perseverance.They set an example and inspire other countries to urgently take realizable targets and take action.
(1) Darroch J, Woog V, Bankole A, Ashford LS. Adding it up: Costs and benefits of meeting the contraceptive needs of adolescents. New York: Guttmacher Institute; 2016.
(2) UNFPA. Girlhood, not motherhood: Preventing adolescent pregnancy. New York: UNFPA; 2015.
(3) Neal S, Matthews Z, Frost M, et al.Childbearing in adolescents aged 12-15 years in low resource countries: a neglected issue. New estimates from demographic and household surveys in 42 countries. Acta Obstet Gynecol Scand 2012; 91: 1114-18. Every Woman Every Child. The Global Strategy for Women`s, Children`s and Adolescents` Health (2016-2030). Geneva: Every Woman Every Child, 2015.
(4) WHO. Global health estimates 2015: deaths by cause, age, sex, by country and by region, 2000–2015. Geneva: WHO; 2016.
(5) Ganchimeg T, et al.Pregnancy and childbirth outcomes among adolescent mothers: a World Health Organization multicountry study. Bjog. 2014; 121 (S Suppl 1): 40-8.
(6) UN DESA, Population Division. World Population Prospects: The 2017 Revision, DVD Edition. New York: UN DESA; 2017.UNDESA, Population Division. World Population Prospects, the 2015 Revision (DVD edition). New York: UNDESA, Population Division, 2015.
(7) UNFPA. Adolescent pregnancy: A review of the evidence.New York: UNFPA, 2013.
(8) UN DESA, Statistics Division. SDG Indicators: Global Database. New York: UN DESA: 2017.
(9) Every Woman Every Child. The Global Strategy for Women`s, Children`s and Adolescents` Health (2016-2030). Geneva: Every Woman Every Child; 2015.
(10) UNICEF. Ending child marriage: Progress and prospects. New York: UNICEF, 2013
(11) WHO. Global and regional estimates on violence against women: Prevalence and health effects of intimate partner violence and non-partner sexual violence.Geneva: WHO; 2013.
(12) WHO, UNICEF, UNFPA, World Bank Group and the United Nations Population Division. Trends in maternal mortality: 1990 to 2015: Estimates by WHO, UNICEF, UNFPA, World Bank Group and the United Nations Population Division. Geneva: WHO; 2015. Filippi V, Chou D, Ronsmans C, et al. Levels and Causes of Maternal Mortality and Morbidity. In: Black RE, Laxminarayan R, Temmerman M, et al., Editors. Reproductive, Maternal, Newborn, and Child Health: Disease Control Priorities, Third Edition (Volume 2).Washington (DC): The International Bank for Reconstruction and Development / The World Bank; 2016 Apr 5. Chapter 3.
(13) Kozuki N, Lee A, Silveira M, et al. The associations of birth intervals with small-for-gestational-age, preterm, and neonatal and infant mortality: A meta-analysis. BMC Public Health 2013; 13 (Suppl. 3): S3.
(14) World Bank. Economic impacts of child marriage: Global synthesis report. Washington, DC: World Bank; 2017.
(15) WHO.Preventing early pregnancy and poor reproductive outcomes among adolescents in developing countries. Geneva: WHO; 2011.
(16) Raj A, Boehmer U. Girl child marriage and its association with national rates of HIV, maternal health, and infant mortality across 97 countries. Violence Against Women 2013; 19 (4).
(17) WHO. Making health services adolescent friendly: Developing national quality standards for adolescent friendly health services. Geneva: WHO; 2012.
(18) WHO. Global Accelerated Action for the Health of Adolescents (AA-HA!): Guidance to support country implementation. Geneva: WHO; 2017.
(19) WHO. Global standards for quality health care services for adolescents. Geneva: WHO; 2015.
(20) WHO. Core competencies in adolescent health and development for primary care providers: including a tool to assess the adolescent health and development component in pre-service education of health-care providers.Geneva: WHO; 2015.
(21) UNESCO. International Technical Guidance on Sexuality Education: An evidence-informed approach for schools, teachers and health educators. Paris: UNESCO; 2009.
(22) UNESCO. Early and Unintended Pregnancy & the Education Sector: Evidence Review and Recommendations. Paris: UNESCO; 2017.
(23) United Nations General Assembly. Resolution adopted by the General Assembly on 25 September 2015: Transforming our world: the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.New York: United Nations; 2015.
Ten phrases that parents should forget about forever (if you wish the child well)
In our childhood, parents could not always devote enough time to upbringing and used the formulaic phrases “Don’t cry!”, “Don’t shout!”, “To whom did I tell!” And it seems that the time is different now, but such formulations are still in use. Emotional intelligence trainer, founder of the UpGrade School of Conscious Growing up for Children, Alisa Pleganskaya, has compiled a list of 10 common phrases that should not be said to a child if you wish him well.The expert suggested alternative communication options.
Photo source: Unsplash.com
1. “Don’t cry, you’re a boy” / “Girls don’t behave like that” / “Found something to be upset about”
The first thing we teach children in our school is that any emotions are normal and you have the right to them. Boys and girls feel sadness, anger, or fear in the same way. Because of the gender attitudes that their parents put into children, it becomes more difficult for boys to feel love or to admit that they are afraid of something as they get older.Thus, we form the skill of suppressing emotions – in the future this may result in increased aggression or, conversely, passivity.
Girls don’t have to be happy and sweet all the time, either. They have the right to be dissatisfied, express their opinions and defend their interests. In the future, a girl who was forced to hide emotions seeks to please everyone around her, suppresses her true desires.
Our option: Do not use the gender reference “you are a boy”, “you are a girl.”If the child has done something wrong, it is important to explain that this behavior is incorrect, without reference to gender. When a child is upset about something or has other strong emotions, the first thing to ask is, “How are you feeling?” Share the importance of the problem with your child: “I understand that this is important to you.” And offer your help: “How can I help you to cope with this feeling?”, “How can I help you to make it easier for you?” In most cases, your child will give you specific answers.
Sometimes children ask not to be touched – and this is also normal.Only in cases where the child does not know at all how to help him, gently and carefully offer options. Through such communication, the child will understand that his feelings are important to those close to him. This will allow him to develop harmoniously, to accept himself and other people.
2. “Don’t bother, don’t go, don’t touch” / “Let me do it myself. Let me do it instead of you “
Recently I watched a video where a mother prepared a present for her child and packed it in a large number of boxes.The child’s task was to unpack about 5-7 boxes. Great idea, I thought! This is a good technique that builds exploration skill and practices patience. But at some point my eyes began to twitch, because my mother kept repeating: “Let me open it myself. Oh, let me help you. You can’t, better me. ” The child receives a message that he himself cannot do anything, they will do everything for him, and if there is something dangerous nearby, it is better to stay away.
“Good now – bad later.”Now your child is safe and comfortable, but then, when he needs to “open the box” himself at the age of 30, he will wait for someone to do it for him.
Our option: Explain to your child what the consequences are and how you can achieve the result differently. “This box is probably difficult to open. Which side do you think it would be easier to do? ” This does not mean that the child should not be prohibited from doing anything. It is possible, but at the same time it is important to explain the reasons for the prohibition and the motives by which you are guided.
3. “Because I said so” / “I said: eat is good”
Such phrases help to raise a comfortable child, but it does not teach him to think, ask questions and make informed decisions. Critical thinking is not formed – a very important skill for a child and an adult. It is it that allows you to find the truth and make competent, balanced decisions instead of taking people at their word.
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Our version: “These vegetables are healthy because they contain a lot of vitamins and minerals that will help you complete games faster.You will become more attentive, your reaction will improve. This is what you need in a competition to win. ” Or: “It is important to put toys in a box, because I can step on them and break them, or maybe I will fall and get hurt myself.”
4. “Could have tried better” / “Why not 10?”
When at school my children and I go through the topic of fear and shame, every second person has a fear of grades. And not low grades, but grades 7, 8 and even 9, because parents expect 10 points from them. Often we give it with the best of intentions so that the child is motivated to study “excellently”.But instead, children get the conviction: “I am loved and respected only when I am ideal and the best.” The child is driven not by the desire to learn, but by fear.
Think about how often you do something 10 points in your life? Children, from whom they have always demanded excellent grades, experience wild stress in adulthood when they do not succeed in everything perfect. If there is a choice: to do something new or not to do it, we often choose inaction, because we understand that it will not work out perfectly the first time.
Our version: “Super! You tried and got 8! I’m happy about that. What do you think you can do better next time to make it 9? ” In this way, you show the child that he tried, instead of devaluing his work. He sees that you are happy and support him. At the same time, you start in it an independent search for solutions to how you could improve the result. The child is motivated not by fear, but by the desire to learn.
5. “Beauty / money / relationships are not the main thing in life”
Let your child shape their experiences and decide for themselves what matters to them and what is not.Despite the fact that these are your children, it is important to accept that they are different from you: in interests and values. We can impose our views on them, with which they will live for a while, but then they will face a lack of understanding of what is important to them. It will be difficult for such an adult to make his own decisions.
Our version: “For me, money is not the main thing in life. But this is my life and my experience – your right to accept it or not. Perhaps other things will be important to you. It’s up to you to decide and choose. “This approach will help your child grow up faster and learn to take responsibility for their decisions on their own.
6. “There is such a word”
One of the fundamental rules that we rely on in our school: never force a child to do what he does not want. Through an interesting form, value explanation and conversation, we involve the child in various activities. It is important for us that the child himself wants to take part in this or that exercise.
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It happens that a child is embarrassed or in a bad mood. In this case, we come up with something else or just give time to rest and come to our senses.
Why is this important? When we act “through I don’t want to,” we form neural connections, due to which the next time this activity will cause resistance, anger, apathy or disgust. Therefore, if you want your child to do something or form a good habit, without experiencing negative emotions, it is better to try to arouse interest in him.
Our version: “Let’s figure out how fun and interesting vacuuming can be! What if we play music? And let’s play with you the game “who will clean the room faster”. I propose to arrange a competition who will dust the best: you or me. ” Adults also like to turn an unpleasant process into a game, let alone children. In this case, completely different connections are formed: “Vacuuming is fun!”, “Cleaning is nice and interesting.”
7. “Go play with him”
Imagine: you did not get enough sleep, came to work and want to spend this day in silence, alone with yourself.But your manager rushes in to you and says that you need to drop everything and go to work in tandem with your colleague, who you don’t really like. What will you feel? A child feels the same when he is forcibly forced to communicate and play with those who do not arouse his sympathy. Several things matter here: the importance of the child’s emotions and respect for their boundaries and desires.
A child who is forced to communicate with those who are unpleasant to him, in adulthood, ignores his emotional state in favor of other people, and also tolerates inappropriate treatment without trying to change anything.
Our version: “Do you want to play with him? Why not? Don’t you like him or are you just tired? ” With this approach, the child will understand that his opinion is appreciated and respected and that he takes care of his emotional state. When an adult knows how to choose his environment, this is a good quality, you must agree.
8. “You are still small. You will be as much as I am – let’s talk ”
At this point, we put the child’s opinion and other people’s experience on the scales.And someone else’s experience, especially if the person is older, outweighs. This is convenient for the parent, but in the future, the child will take a very long time to believe in himself and learn to rely on his opinion. In his perception, he will always be “small”, even if he receives three higher educations.
Our option: “Tell us why you think so. I am glad that you share your opinion, but you do not take into account some points … ”There are times when during the discussion the parent realizes that the child, it turns out, is right, but continues to insist on his own, fearing to lose his authority.The child will learn the lesson that truth is not so important, more important is authority and status. If you’re wrong, admit it. You will not lose credibility, and the child will benefit from it.
9. “What are you lying for? Do nothing? I’ll find something to do! ”
Everyone needs rest. And the older we get, the more we realize that our resources are not endless. Children in this sense are no exception, despite the fact that they have more energy.
Because our parents taught us from different textbooks, it is hard for us to allow ourselves to rest without guilt.How does it feel to “just lie down” and not do anything useful? As a result, the body does not rest, but is even more depleted. So that your child does not have this problem, respect his right to rest.
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Our option: If a situation arises when a child has decided to take a rest, and you want him to do something, it is better to ask: “How much time do you need to rest?”, “Can you help me later?” “You can help me now, and then I will not touch you until the end of the day.”
10. “I’ll take your phone” / “I’ll use your notebook” / “I took your charger”
Only a child has the right to dispose of his personal belongings. You can use something only with his permission. This rule forms a basic understanding of boundaries from childhood. If parents use the child’s belongings without permission, in adulthood such a person will allow other people to do the same. This may not be limited to things only, but will affect psychological and bodily boundaries.
Our option: “Can I take your phone?”, “Sorry, I broke your charger. I’ll buy you a new one ”,“ Can I borrow your notebook for a while? ”.