First-Time Mom? A Guide to Understanding All the Emotions during Pregnancy | The Spoiled Mama

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When you are pregnant and expecting your first child, you may feel a host of different emotions, from excitement and anticipation to fear and anxiety.

Many women experience changing emotions during pregnancy as their hormones fluctuate, their body changes, and they prepare for their life to transform. 

In this article, we discuss the various emotions you may experience during pregnancy and how to manage them in a healthy way.

What Causes Emotions During Pregnancy?

It is perfectly normal for women to experience pregnancy mood swings. Hormonal changes due to the pregnancy, as well as changes in your personal circumstances (such as a new job, house, or relationship), can all lead to emotional fluctuations. 

When do mood swings start in pregnancy, you might ask? Well, typically a few weeks after the conception has occurred. This is because higher levels of estrogen and progesterone are made by the body to sustain a healthy pregnancy. However, while important, this influx of hormones can cause women to feel emotionally out of whack - with mood swings in early pregnancy especially common. 

Many women experience tearfulness, irritability, and overwhelm. If not managed properly, these feelings can morph into more serious symptoms such as anxiety and depression. According to Olivia Marcellino, VP of Research at, pregnancy can cause depression “due to a sudden change in hormones, stress, and sleep deprivation after birth. Between 10-20% of new mothers develop depression.”

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If you want to avoid the more serious emotional side-effects of pregnancy, such as depression, being aware of the emotional changes that can happen during pregnancy is the first step towards protecting your emotional well-being now and in the future.

Pregnancy Mood Swings: Emotions You Might Experience

Let’s take a look at some of the emotions you may experience during your pregnancy and the best coping strategies.


When you first find out you’re pregnant, it’s the beginning of an emotional rollercoaster. You may feel everything from excitement to nervousness, fear to overwhelm. These feelings are all perfectly normal.

However, feeling these emotions alongside the intense nausea and surge of hormones common during the first trimester can lead to just as many tearful moments as there are happy moments.

Try our morning sickness tea to help keep nausea at bay.

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First things first; your body is growing a baby. From managing your emotions to managing your pregnancy skincare regime, it's a lot of work. Like, a lot. So, it's okay to feel grumpy and fed-up from time to time. You're not the only one.

Many women find that as their pregnancy progresses, they become increasingly uncomfortable. It becomes harder to sleep and the fears and worries that were shoved into a box labeled ‘worry about later’ are now out in the open.

With all of these thoughts and emotions tumbling around in your mind, it can be easy to feel overwhelmed. You may find yourself becoming increasingly frustrated and impatient with those around you. Irritability is common during pregnancy and is often the result of pent-up stress and anxiety. 

Nesting Instinct

As you come to the realization that your whole world is about to change, you can feel a strong urge to prepare for your baby's arrival. This powerful desire to organize and get ready for baby is often referred to as ‘nesting’.

Nesting instinct is very common and is often a reflection of how you are feeling emotionally. Many women during pregnancy feel out of control. With everything about to change, they try to find little things in their lives that they can control (such as packing the hospital bag, decorating the baby's room, and finding space for all those baby shower gifts).

Nesting is pretty normal (to a point) but if you find your nesting instincts are getting a little bit over the top (it’s probably not necessary that you clean behind the freezer at this exact moment), it’s important to take some time out for yourself if you can.


If you’re feeling anxious during your pregnancy, you’re not alone. In fact, 1 in 4 women experience clinically elevated leveled of anxiety during their pregnancy.

Whether you feel anxious about the birth, worried about becoming a mother, or uncertain about how your life will change when your baby arrives, these types of anxieties are normal and expected.

However, if you find yourself suffering from all-consuming anxieties during your pregnancy that make it difficult for you to function day-to-day, this must be addressed by a medical professional.

How to Manage Emotions During Pregnancy

So, now that you know the emotions that are common during pregnancy, how do you manage them to protect your mental well-being? A few great ways to manage those high-emotion moments during your pregnancy include: 

Getting enough sleep: during the first trimester, what your body needs the most is sleep (and lots of it!) As well as helping your baby grow, getting enough sleep is a great way to manage those pregnancy mood swings. It ensures that you’re well-rested and ready to face the day.

Talk to Others: nobody should have to go through their pregnancy alone. Getting support from friends and family or online from local groups and social connections is a great way to manage your pregnancy mood swings. It also ensures you receive the emotional support you need during this exciting and scary time.

Stay Physically Active: many pregnant women find it hard to remain physically active during pregnancy. However, keeping your pregnant body moving is one of the most important things you can do. There are plenty of gentle exercises, from walking to swimming, that have little impact on your body while getting your heart pumping.

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Ask for help: being pregnant for the first time is a unique and wonderful experience. However, it can also feel extremely overwhelming. Rather than letting the stress get on top of you, it’s important to ask for help. You don’t have to do everything yourself. It’s okay (and good!) to ask others for support. Whether it’s help with cleaning or cooking or simply a listening ear, we all need people around us who can offer the encouragement and love we need.

Final Words

As you can see, pregnancy mood swings are frequently experienced by women, particularly in the first few months of pregnancy. However, if you feel like your emotions have control over you rather than the other way around, it’s time to talk to your doctor.

We hope the tips in this article have helped you and we wish you the very best of luck with your pregnancy and your journey into motherhood.


About the author: Sophie Bishop is a medical, wellbeing and lifestyle writer. Sophie aims to spread awareness through her writing around issues to do with healthcare, wellbeing and sustainability and is looking to connect with an engaged audience. Contact Sophie via her website:

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