I know how emotional pregnancy can be. One minute you’re ecstatic to be carrying a little baby inside of you, and the next you’re crying uncontrollably wondering how you’re actually going to care for this tiny human.

There are a few reasons why we become so emotional during pregnancy, the top three reasons being fatigue, stress, and hormonal changes.

Growing a baby is really hard work, and your body is working overtime to make sure you develop a healthy baby. Because of this, you may feel just exhausted and want to sleep all the time. Making sure you get at least eight hours of sleep per night is necessary for your body, but it also helps control your mood.

With our bladder waking us up, the baby kicking, muscle cramps, and just not being able to find a comfortable position, sleeping for eight continuous hours may be a thing of the past. Since the sleep can be so interrupted, you may have to be in bed for at least 10 hours to get an adequate amount of rest. When you’re more rested, you’re more likely to be happy, less stressed, and less emotional.

Pregnancy can cause unwanted stress in addition to your possibly already stressful life. This additional stress can cause you to feel emotions that you didn’t feel prior to becoming pregnant. You may be stressing about having your baby, finding childcare, what kind of parent you’re going to be, how the siblings are going to react, and how your life is going to change. All these emotions are completely normal when your family is expanding and you’re creating a new life.

Understanding where the stress is coming from is one step to help you control these emotions. If you have stress in other areas of your life such as work, family, finances, etc., it’s best for you and your baby if you reduce your stress level as much as possible. Whether that means addressing the issue, taking on fewer projects at work, practicing yoga, taking time for yourself, meditation, or whatever helps you reduce stress and feel more relaxed.

Significant changes in our hormones can affect the neurotransmitters, which are the brain chemicals that regulate our mood. This can cause us go on an emotional roller coaster. People or comments can set us off and you’ll be crying before you even know what happened. Sometimes just thinking about the joy a baby will bring can causes tears, or we may have anxiety about the way our body is changing. Women find that sometimes they don’t even know the reason for their tears or emotional distress.

This can be very unsettling for you, and your spouse may find it difficult to cope with as well. If your spouse finds this confusing, they may withdraw, ignore the problem, or feel inadequate. This can all cause even more stress for you or heightened emotions, which can exasperate the situation.

Although the emotional roller coaster can cause you anxiety there’s no reason to stress over it. All women deal with the pregnancy differently. Some are more sensitive to the increase of estrogen, while others are more affected by the increase in progesterone. Here are my top tips to help you deal with the emotions and stress during pregnancy.

1.     Make sure you are getting enough sleep. This is crucial to both you and your baby to help grow and develop your baby properly, but it can also help control your mood and help you feel less stressed. 

2.     Make sure you are taking time for you. We often try to tackle as many projects before the baby comes, but you also need to rest and do something nice for yourself. Find something you enjoy doing. This may be a soothing walk by yourself, a yoga class with a friend, getting a massage, or indulging in your favorite shows on the weekend.

3.     Bond with your partner. Nurturing your relationship and talking about obstacles or milestones in your pregnancy can help you feel more connected. Your partner does not know what you are going through or how to help you during this time unless you open up and share your emotions.

4.     Continue to exercise. Exercise plays a huge role in making you feel good by releasing endorphins, or the “feel good hormone”. Endorphins cause you to feel happy, and that can go a long way to help control your emotions as well as your stress level.

5.     Journal. Some women find that journaling helps let out all the emotions even more than talking does. When you journal, you can be as vulnerable and honest without judgment or anyone else reading it. Journaling can help you release stress and anxiety, which can improve your mood.

6.     If you find you can’t shake the moodiness or all the emotions, make sure you talk to your health care provider. You may be among the 14-23% of women who suffer from mild depression during pregnancy. If you let this go untreated, it can affect the baby’s physical well being and increase your risk of preterm labor as well as postpartum depression.