From the moment you first suspect that you might be pregnant until the moment you’re holding your baby in your arms, it can seem like you’re on an emotional roller coaster.
The lows of nausea can quickly climb to the high of hearing your baby’s heartbeat for the first time only to fade to another low of lower back pain. This constant ebb and flow of emotions can be exhausting.
Pregnancy can be overwhelming, and if you’re struggling to feel your happiest, you’re certainly not alone. (You’re also not alone if you find pregnancy to be a happy time! There are plenty of women who enjoy this time in their life.)
Experiencing a wide range of emotions during pregnancy is normal. It’s certainly not always easy being pregnant, but that doesn’t mean that it has to be a miserable period of time either.
Why is it that some people are able to stay more positive as their body changes, and what can you do to find some pregnancy happiness?
We may not have the answer for every specific situation, but we’ll share what research has shown about pregnancy happiness and offer plenty of ideas to find your happy if you feel like you’re missing that pregnancy glow.
As you may guess, pregnancy can be a very happy time. Whether that’s true for you has a lot to do with factors outside the pregnancy itself.
- feel unconditionally loved
- are comforted when distressed
- consider their relationships authentic
- find satisfaction in friendships (and have satisfactory partnerships)
While it’s wonderful to feel happy about your pregnancy, there are definitely some outside circumstances that can influence how you’re feeling. These include things like:
- whether the pregnancy was intended
- being in a committed relationship
- financial status
- the age of the people involved
- pre-existing physical and mental health conditions
It’s important to keep in mind that even if it seems like all the pregnancy related factors should point to happiness for you, it’s OK if you don’t feel that way. Even if you wanted to be pregnant you may experience mixed feelings when it actually happens. Pregnancy involves a range of emotions.
Just because you’ll likely go through a range of emotions in your pregnancy, doesn’t mean you need to stop trying to feel happy. Whether you’re already feeling happy or looking for ways to boost your mood during pregnancy, we’ve got plenty of suggestions for you.
Spend time thinking about and planning for labor
While there’s a fine line between becoming educated and giving yourself anxiety over everything you could be doing during your pregnancy, knowing what to expect can help put your mind at ease.
One benefit of preparing for labor in advance is that you can make decisions that will lead to better health outcomes — which should definitely make you happier!
For example, research shows that having continuous support during labor leads to better birth outcomes. Who will provide this for you? Consider working with a doula, who can share their experience and support throughout your pregnancy, labor, and birth.
By preparing for labor in advance and seeking support, you can plan for upcoming decisions and challenges and lower your stress.
Get a prenatal massage
A little human touch can go a long way if you’re feeling sad and anxious. By relieving muscle tension and improving overall health, massage therapy can also help to relieve some of the aches and pains that may be getting you down.
Plenty of research has shown the benefits of touch, and the benefits can continue in the postpartum period if you need a mood booster. (Bonus that if you’re breastfeeding, massage can help increase the hormones responsible for milk production and letdown, resulting in greater milk production.)
Scents can be powerful. Just a whiff of a certain smell can bring memories rushing to the forefront of your mind or lower your blood pressure. (If you don’t believe us, just try baking some homemade cookies and not smiling at the smell.)
While pregnant, make sure to check with your doctor about any essential oils you intend to use for aromatherapy to ensure that they will be safe for you and baby.
Spend time with loved ones
Spending time with people you care about can help to ground you in the present, reduce anxiety, and decrease stress. Talking to a loved one can also be a surefire way to get some laughs in, which can be mood changing.
Spending time with people you love can help you to feel connected to them. These connections can be a powerful source of encouragement and offer support during pregnancy.
As mentioned earlier,
Spend time engaging in mindfulness and/or meditation
Meditation and mindfulness have countless benefits. Spending time meditating can:
- reduce stress
- help to control anxiety
- promote a positive outlook on life
- enhance self-awareness
- generate kind feelings towards yourself and others
- improve sleep
- help to control pain
- decrease blood pressure
All of these benefits can result in a happier pregnancy — and life in general!
Take parenting prep classes
Knowledge is power, and it’s also stress reducing. By preparing yourself for your upcoming role as a parent, you can reduce anxiety.
Parenting prep classes can also build confidence, and this confidence can result in increased happiness. You can find classes through your local hospital, library, or other community center.
As an added bonus, parenting classes can also help you connect with other expecting/new parents…
Connect with other expecting/new parents
Two words: new friends! As we’ve mentioned before, supportive relationships, especially those that are authentic, have been scientifically shown to make a big difference in happiness during your pregnancy and the journey of parenthood.
Who better to relate with on a very authentic level than a fellow expecting/new parent? It’s easy to create bonds over nights of little sleep and breastfeeding challenges, and you can take comfort that someone truly understands what you’re going through.
The ability of exercise to affect mood is well proven. It has been shown to reduce anxiety and feelings of depression. Additionally, exercise increases the amount of endorphins produced by the body, which not only can not only bring feelings of happiness, but help reduce feelings of pain. (Every pregnant person’s dream!)
You don’t need to engage in super intense exercise to see benefits to your mood. Talk to your doctor about exercises that are safe for you to get moving for an improved outlook.
There are many benefits to eating healthy, including weight control and increased immunity. A balanced diet can also boost one’s energy and improve longevity.
Perhaps equally important is that this increase in energy, control over weight gain, and decreased chance of illness can result in a mood boost. Taking control of your food choices and eating to nourish your body and your baby can empower you to feel better each day.
Poor sleep is linked to depression, weight gain, increased inflammation, and a suppressed immune system. A lack of sleep can also impair a person’s ability to regulate emotions and interact socially.
Many pregnant people experience pregnancy fatigue, which can leave them feeling out of sorts and moody. Addressing this issue and getting adequate sleep can be a game changer.
For these reasons and many more, it’s essential to get a sufficient amount of sleep while pregnant. Nap when you can, work on a relaxing bedtime routine, and prioritize getting rest each day.
Do for others
Hopefully we’ve mentioned the importance of relationships enough for it to be clear why doing for others is likely to make for a happier pregnancy.
Investing in the lives of those around you can change your perspective and create relationships that will offer you support in the future. Many people find that expecting a new baby makes them more aware of the world around them. Helping to make it a better place benefits you and your baby as well as others.
Prepare your home, finances, and plans for baby
Studies have shown that the financial status of the person giving birth can have a big impact on the happiness they feel about being pregnant.
Preparing your home and finances before your little one is born can make you feel more secure and confident about your ability to provide for them. Start thinking about costs for day care and diapers. Research pediatricians and insurance. Consider where you can budget to save money.
Considering the costs of adding a new family member can certainly feel intimidating. But taking action and creating a plan can help you feel in control and positively impact your mood.
Speak with a therapist
Therapy can be useful in addressing depression and anxiety. It can also be used to deepen understanding of yourself and others and find ways to have more authentic relationships.
If you’re struggling to feel happy during your pregnancy speaking with a therapist can help you address that challenge.
Pregnancy can bring a range of emotions. Even if you’re someone who enjoys being pregnant there may be times when morning sickness or labor pains have you feeling a little down in the dumps.
In the times that you reach your lowest, it’s important to have tools to get back to a good emotional place. By focusing on self-care and physical comfort measures, it’s possible to bring back some happiness into your pregnancy.
If you find yourself struggling to find any happiness in your pregnancy, it’s important to talk to supportive people in your life as well as your doctor. They can help you find the resources you need to feel more positive. There’s no reason to give up hope of finding happiness during your pregnancy!