How to protect your relationship from pregnancy mood swings


Your husband or your hormones?

Back in the day, you were able to tolerate coming home to dirty dishes piled sky-high in the sink, even though your husband swore he would do them. You could overlook how he forgot to pick up the dry cleaning – for the umpteenth time this month. Now that you’re pregnant, his actions have gone way past mildly annoying to totally irritating, and you’re about ready to explode.

Unfortunately, as tempting as it is to blame your partner for your bad mood, your fluctuating hormones are the most likely culprit. “Many hormones change in pregnancy,” says Jessica Artluck, M.D., instructor of gynecology and obstetrics at the Emory Clinic in Atlanta. “They also change throughout the pregnancy and postpartum. We recommend that patients, both mother and partner, be aware of the potential changes.”

It’s okay to admit that what’s going on inside your body gets a little overwhelming at times. Think about it – for these nine months, the thought of motherhood controls what you do, how you feel, and how you interact with your loved ones. No wonder you feel as though you’re going a little crazy. Your mind is preoccupied with questions most  new mothers ask: Will I be able to care for my baby? How will parenthood affect my relationship with my partner? Should I stay home or return to work?

While you might not be able to quit obsessing about these big issues, there are some simple ways to take control of your escalating mood swings during pregnancy. Here’s some advice:

Adopt a healthier lifestyle

Eating right, exercising, and sleeping well will do wonders for your disposition, says Louisa Llata, M.D., instructor of gynecology and obstetrics at The Emory Clinic: “Relaxation techniques such as prenatal yoga can be good for expecting moms. Healthy diet is important, so is getting a good night sleep and taking your prenatal vitamins. Avoiding caffeine also helps a great deal.”

Switch up your schedule

If your daily routine has you in a rut, try doing things differently. Alternating yours patterns, or avoiding some things altogether, can drastically eliminate the stress brought on by everyday life.

Ask for help

If there is something that your guy can do to ease the load, ask! “Women need support from their partners,” Artluck says. “Partners shouldn’t get angry or frustrated, but take into consideration the many changes that occur in a woman’s body during pregnancy.” Chances are, your mate will be willing to do whatever it takes to keep you in a good mood.

Talk about what’s bugging you

Let your partner know about that one little habit you hate. Open communication is a healthy way to deal with issues. ”Believe it or not my husband’s cell phone ring tone really annoys me,” says Tia McCollers from Atlanta. “He’s been warned not to bring it inside the hospital!”

Address your mood and let it go

If you want to scream or cry, go ahead and do it. Instead of suppressing your emotions, acknowledge them, then set them free. If you keep how you feel bottled up, it will only lead to blow ups later. You’ll be surprised at how smoothly the day goes once you face your feelings.

Don’t take him for granted

So he leaves his dirty socks on the floor. There are still tons of reasons why you fell in love with your guy in the first place, even if you don’t have that head-over-heels feeling right now. Remind yourself that you’re in this together. No, he can’t feel what you feel physically and he may never fully understand the roller coaster of emotions bombarding you, but that doesn’t mean he doesn’t want to hear what you’re going through.

— Erin Whitlock

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