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Embarrassing Emotions During Pregnancy

By: Beth Morrisey MLIS - Updated: 13 Jan 2011 | comments*Discuss
Emotions Emotional Feel Pregnancy

Many pregnant women report that their emotions become more intense, more fleeting and more varied during pregnancy. This can lead to feeling almost out of control regarding emotional reactions to things, and intense embarrassment about “over-reacting” with passionate or even inappropriate emotions. Understanding the cause of these emotions, how to help your partner deal with this new reality, and how to cope with your own feelings to minimise embarrassment should all help you better get through what can be a trying time.

Cause of Intense Emotions During Pregnancy

The cause of intense emotions during pregnancy is commonly thought to be fluctuating hormone levels, including oestrogen and progesterone. These hormonal shifts can be especially intense during the first trimester (3 months/12 weeks). Yet even the second and third trimesters can be emotional for a woman, and the entire pregnancy may be marked by: elation and depression); feeling teary; fatigue which contributes to feeling overwhelmed by one’s emotions; concurrent feelings of happiness and anxiety (about the birth, being a parent, etc); panic about taking on a new role; physical discomfort and worries about physical appearance.

Helping Your Partner Deal With Pregnancy Emotions

Many partners feel lost and shut out from the experience of pregnancy when a woman becomes emotional and unable to explain what she is feeling, or why. For many partners this brings up feelings of confusion, anxiety, neglect and even inadequacy. Women may be able to help their partners better cope with pregnancy emotions by:
  • Preparing together and reading or talking about emotions which may arise.
  • Talking or writing to a partner about what they are feeling at any given time.
  • Turning to their partners with specific instructions for support (“I need you to...”).
  • Asking their partners about what they are feeling as the pregnancy progresses.
  • Sharing pregnancy milestones, including feeling the baby kick and attending ultrasounds.
  • Explaining when they don’t know why they are experiencing an emotion.
  • Asking for help as needed, particularly if they feel out of control or overwhelmed.

Coping With Your Pregnancy-Related Emotions

Coping with pregnancy-related emotions takes time and practice to get right. Only you will know what works best for you because you will be the only one to truly understand why you feel embarrassed and how you prefer to deal with embarrassment. Many pregnancy women find it helpful to:
  • Avoid emotional entertainment (books, films, etc) during particularly emotional times.
  • Carry tissues with them at all times to better cope if they feel teary.
  • Allow others to deal with known stressors, such as recurrent situations and irritating people.
  • Indulging positive emotions, particularly for connecting with others or “nesting” at home.
  • Discussing fears with a partner, doctor, nurse or midwife.
  • Attending a support group.

Experiencing intense and diverse emotions can be quite common during pregnancy, but this doesn’t make it any less embarrassing to the women trying to cope with this new reality. Understanding the causes of common emotions during pregnancy, knowing how to better help your partner deal with pregnancy-related emotions and learning more about coping with your own emotions can all help you feel more in control and less embarrassed about the way you feel.

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