Crying easily, mood swings, energy lows and fatigue are all normal aspects of pregnancy. During the first trimester, your body experiences an increase in hormones that are needed to support a pregnancy. Some women are more sensitive than others to these changes, especially those who are sensitive to a similar hormonal shift before menstruation. If you become weepy or edgy around your menstrual period, you may experience similar emotions as your body adjusts to pregnancy.
It also takes time to adjust to the notion of the fetus as your very own baby. When this happens is different for everyone. Some women begin to feel this way as soon as they know they are pregnant. For others, it occurs when they hear their baby's heartbeat, around 12 or 13 weeks, or when they first feel their baby move, between 16 and 20 weeks.
Conflicting Feelings about the Pregnancy
It is quite normal to have conflicting feelings about your pregnancy. Your feelings arise from your adjustment to your pregnancy—you are taking the first steps toward an incredible role change that will involve many aspects of your life. Your feelings come from your attempts to deal with all the questions and concerns you have.
Medication for Depression
Antidepressant medication is not usually prescribed during pregnancy. However, if it is necessary, most physicians prefer to use tricyclic antidepressants, such as amitriptyline and desipramine. Prozac has also been shown to be acceptable. Treatment must be done on an individualized basis. Your doctor and possibly a psychiatrist or psychologist will discuss the situation with you.
As your pregnancy grows, your emotions may become more pronounced, too. By the third trimester, you may feel very emotional much of the time. You're normal! You may be getting a little anxious about the upcoming labor and delivery. Mood swings may occur more frequently, and you may be more irritable. Relax and don't focus on your feelings. Talk to your partner about how you are feeling and what you are experiencing.
Aches and Pains
As your uterus grows during pregnancy, you may feel slight cramping or even pain in your lower abdominal area on your sides. Your uterus tightens or contracts throughout your pregnancy. If you don't feel this, don't worry. However, if contractions are accompanied by bleeding from the vagina, call your doctor immediately!
Braxton-Hicks contractions are painless, nonrhythmical contractions you may be able to feel when you place your hands on your abdomen. You may also feel them in the uterus itself. These contractions may begin early in your pregnancy and are felt at irregular intervals. They are not signs of true labor.
"Pins and needles" feeling.
My patients sometimes report a "pins and needles" feeling in their pelvic area during pregnancy. This is another feeling associated with increased pressure as the baby moves lower in the birth canal. Tingling, pressure and numbness are common at this time.
To alleviate some of the discomfort, lie on your side to help decrease pressure in your pelvis and on the nerves, veins and arteries in your pelvic area.
Ligaments lie on either side of the uterus; as your uterus gets bigger, these ligaments stretch and get longer and thicker. Quick movements can stretch the ligaments and cause discomfort. This is not harmful to you or your baby, but it can be uncomfortable.
Be careful about making quick movements. If you experience discomfort, you may feel better if you lie down and rest. Most doctors recommend acetaminophen (Tylenol) if the pain is bothersome. Tell your doctor if it gets worse.