Does it feel like you’re quickly losing your cool at the most ridiculous of stuff nowadays while you’re pregnant? Getting so angry and worked up over something that you later on feel – in hindsight – you overacted big time on.
When asked about it, you could swear hands down that you haven’t got a clue what’s happened to you. People who knew you before you were expecting can easily spot the difference, but you find yourself having to make explanations to people who didn’t know you back then and don’t know the real you.
You’ve been told that this is going to be a phase where you’ll be at your happiest, yet you’re here thinking about why you’re feeling angry all the time – so what’s the deal?
Is This Normal?
First things first, take a deep breath and relax because YES – getting angry during pregnancy is a very common thing.
While we often hear about the “rainbows and bunnies” side of pregnancy and all the magic associated with expecting a new family member, we don’t hear about the other “raw” and “ugly” side of pregnancy that’s just as real.
Yes – getting pregnant and expecting a new bundle of joy is something many women dream of, but it’s also an emotional roller-coaster you’ll have to be fully prepared for.
Anger, higher levels of anxiety, feeling stressed out and worried a lot of the time is perfectly normal during pregnancy.
Why Do Women Get Angry When Pregnant?
1) Hormonal Changes
Ah – it’s those pesky pregnancy hormones again! Starting from the very early days of a pregnancy, your hormones fluctuate all over the place. This fluctuation in hormones is just one way a body begins preparing for pregnancy and being able to properly take care of, nurture and grow the baby to come.
One minute you feel like you’re on cloud nine, and that all crashes 5 minutes later when you suddenly feel like crying over something you just remembered (or smashing the table because of something so silly that just happened – we hope it’s the former, though!).
It’s this fluctuation in hormones that causes mood swings, sometimes mild and other times extreme, so that might be a reason why you’re feeling exceptionally hot-headed all of a sudden1.
Because of these hormonal shifts, something you previously used to get somewhat annoyed with but used to let pass by because you didn’t want to make a big deal out of at the time, now makes you snap and lose your cool uncontrollably.
However, and even though hormonal changes in the body during pregnancy do indeed play a role in making you a bit more hot-headed than you usually are, experts agree that these hormones are often blamed for more than they’re responsible for.
Cut yourself some slack and don’t underestimate the amount of stress you’re put under during pregnancy, both from a physical and mental perspective.
The more you progress through a pregnancy and the closer you get to the final months, the more shook and beaten up your body will be, and the less patience you’ll have for stuff you used to previously let slide.
Depending on the life you live and what you have going on besides your pregnancy, a lot of different stuff might be adding to your stress levels and making it worse off than it already is now that you’ve got a growing baby in your tummy.
Pregnancy is a time where fear takes over the mind of most mothers-to-be.
All sorts of questions start popping in your head, concerns start rising, doubts take over and you begin to imagine scary scenarios.
“With all these horror stories I hear about other women who went into labor and experienced excruciating pain, how will my childbirth experience be? Is it going to be painful? Will I even make it out alive? What if I die? I don’t want to die!”.
“What if I experience a miscarriage? What if my baby ends up having a birth defect? I’ve always dreamt of giving birth and raising a ‘normal’ baby, what will I ever do if I don’t get that?”.
This is why it’s very important for you to stay in contact with your physician/obstetrician throughout pregnancy and ask them any and all questions popping up in your head to get some relief, and even consider talking to a professional therapist that has a proven history dealing with pregnant women.
All the nausea and morning sickness you experience when expecting, especially during the very early stages of a pregnancy when all of this is still very new to you, can easily get to your head.
Note from Dr. Christine Traxler M.D., OB/GYN: “Nausea, like other bodily changes in pregnancy, can increase your discomfort, stress you out, and make it more difficult for you to keep your cool.”
5) Body Changes
It also doesn’t help that your body goes through many different changes that leave you worried over whether any of it is abnormal and shouldn’t really be happening, most notable of which is change in breast size and how they feel in general.
Note from Dr. Christine Traxler M.D., OB/GYN: “The breast changes you experience will be similar to the swelling and tenderness you get before your period, but it will be more intense and will not go away in just a few days.
It does tend to subside, though, as the pregnancy continues.2″
6) Bowel And Bladder Changes
During pregnancy, your bowel movements are likely to take a hit for the worse (constipation, anyone?) and your bladder might go through some changes that leave you worried (such as experiencing cloudy urine).
Excessive anger has also been found to make digestive problems even worse than they already are, so you’ll end up going in never-ending circles.
7) Workplace Discrimination
Some pregnant women find that they’re being treated unfairly at the workplace and discriminated against, where (for example) the employer makes it exceptionally difficult for them to obtain maternity leave when they really need it.
8) Lack Of Support
Pregnancy is a time where you need all the support you can get, both physical support and – more importantly – emotional support.
Getting this support and positivity from friends and family members is extremely important, but there’s one person that can either make or break this with their support (or lack of support) – your partner.
Getting emotional support from your partner who always has nice things to say to you to brighten up your day and make you feel better when you feel like you just can’t go on anymore always makes a difference, so does them pitching in and helping out with household chores.
Will Anger During Pregnancy Affect My Baby’s Health?
Unfortunately, yes – being in a constant state of anger during pregnancy eventually rubs off with negative effects on the baby you’re carrying.
Research3 has found that mothers-to-be who experience excessive levels of anger throughout pregnancy are more likely to:
- Give birth to babies with birth defects
- Give birth to babies born underdeveloped and low in weight
- Give birth prematurely (in which case the baby is more likely to have health problems, physical complications and delay in reaching developmental milestones later on in life as they age)
- Experience stillbirth
- Experience miscarriages.
1) Chemicals In The Body
Don’t forget that before your baby is born, the only way they get to experience the world is through you – their mother.
Just like part of whatever you eat when pregnant makes its way over to them, whatever you go through and feel during pregnancy in terms of emotions also makes its way to your baby.
How exactly? Chemicals. Different emotions you may be feeling at the time lead to releasing different chemicals in the body, which then instantly make their way over to your baby through the bloodstream.
2) Heart Rate And Blood Pressure
When you get angry, your heart rate and blood pressure shoot through the roof, which puts your baby’s well being at risk.
Long story short, your baby ends up receiving less oxygen and less blood supply which, as a result, puts them at risk of having developmental problems while still in your uterus.
3) It Influences The Baby
Even though not all experts alike agree on this point, but research has shown that there’s a potential correlation between angry and violent individuals with a bad temperament and the amount of anger and stress these individuals were exposed to back when they were in their mothers’ wombs.
4) Harmful Habits
Increased frustration and all the stress that comes along with it makes it much more likely for you to slip into bad habits that put your pregnancy and baby’s health at risk – habits such as smoking, marijuana use and alcohol abuse.
How Can I Deal With It?
You won’t enjoy life being that irritated throughout those 9 months, nor will any of your family members, friends or coworkers enjoy your company if all you give out is negative vibes – so here’s a few tips you should take into consideration that will help you keep control over those anger levels at all times.
If there was ever a piece of advice I could speak of from first-hand experience, it’s doing exercise4.
First things first, though, talk to your doctor before taking up any form of exercise and physical activity during pregnancy – no matter how “low impact” you might think it is.
This differs from one pregnant woman to another, and only your doctor will be able to tell you which forms of exercise are safe for you and the baby you’re carrying at this point in your pregnancy.
Not only does breaking a sweat relieve you from a lot (and I mean A LOT) of the stress that might be eating you up at the time, it also goes a long way in relieving you from pregnancy associated body aches that only get worse the more you remain inactive.
While it may be tempting for you to challenge yourself into being the multi-tasking superwoman you are and getting everything done in a day’s time, you need to give yourself a little bit of a break.
During pregnancy, you should have one priority that’s more important than everything else, and that’s getting as much rest as needed so your body can – in turn – take care of the growing baby inside of you.
Also, the more rest you get during pregnancy, the less likely you are to experience physical discomfort such as swollen feet, lower back pain, heartburn, annoying headaches and much more.
Insomnia during pregnancy is fairly common5, so you’re already at a disadvantage when it comes to getting enough sleep and should do whatever you can to counter that.
3) Healthy Diet
Ever heard of the saying “you are what you eat”? Well, you also feel what you eat.
Do away with all the junk food, fast food and unhealthy stuff you may have been putting into your body recently, because it’s time you switched to a healthy diet – both for your own health (and happiness) and to ensure your baby gets all the nutrients and minerals they need to properly grow.
4) Avoid Negativity
When you see yourself starting to get involved in a “negativity swamp” where you’re getting heated without achieving much in return, walk away from the situation while the damage done is still at a bare minimum.
Whether that be a discussion you’re having with a family member, friend or co-worker and things start to escalate really fast for the worst, or you’re trying to get something done and it’s not working out the way you had wanted it to, take a step back from it all and give yourself enough time to cool down before doing anything you’ll regret later.
5) “You” Time
We all need a bit of time spent solely on ourselves and our mental happiness, especially during stressful times such as pregnancy.
Take some time off from work if you’re able to, go out there and buy something that makes you happy (not anything too ridiculously expensive though!), get with some friends outside the house and enjoy a few laughs, book an appointment for a session of professional massage, spend a day letting off all that steam getting pampered at a spa, etc ..
Last but most certainly not least, there’s always the option of seeking professional help and talking to a therapist if you notice your anger problems are starting to get out of control.
Don’t keep anything bottled up inside you only to explode all at once when you can’t take it anymore.
Talk to your family members, talk to your friends – and most importantly, talk to your partner.
If your partner doesn’t have the time to listen to you, your worries, your fears, your complaints and your wishes at this time, they’re not fulfilling their responsibilities.
When Should I See Professional Help?
In some of the more extreme cases of anger during pregnancy, seeking a doctor’s help (or that of a professional therapist) is advised.
In some of these cases, depression might be present and might be getting worse by the week, especially if you’ve been suppressing your anger for the past while in hopes of hiding it from others or thinking that it’ll go away on its own soon.
Trying to suppress your anger and not dealing with it will only lead to worsening cases of depression and/or anxiety.
You can also experience increased anger that you find difficult to control during labor, which you end up directing towards your midwife or birth partner because of how painful the contractions you’re going through at the time feel.
Every passing minute feels like hours and you literally feel like you’re about to die – it’s not easy at all to keep your composure!
- Hormonal changes during pregnancy: What a working woman should know. https://economictimes.indiatimes.com/magazines/panache/hormonal-changes-during-pregnancy-what-a-working-woman-should-know/articleshow/57015517.cms. Accessed June 17, 2019.
- PMS Symptoms vs. Pregnancy Symptoms. https://www.healthline.com/health/womens-health/pms-symptoms-vs-pregnancy-symptoms. Accessed June 17, 2019.
- Maternal stress and pregnancy outcomes: A review of the psychosocial literature. https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.3109/01674828809030944. Accessed June 17, 2019.
- Exercise During Pregnancy. https://www.webmd.com/baby/guide/exercise-during-pregnancy#1. Accessed June 17, 2019.
- How to Kick Insomnia in Early Pregnancy. https://www.healthline.com/health/pregnancy/early-insomnia. Accessed June 17, 2019.