How to Manage Angriness During Pregnancy

Updated
Learn how to better handle your emotions during pregnancy.

Moms to be, have you ever snapped at your partner for suggesting the wrong thing for dinner? Lost your keys, then lost your mind? Are you stressed about nursery décor to the point of fighting and tears?

Gee thanks, pregnancy hormones, you’re a real treat!

Pregnancy is a very special time in a woman’s life, with so many emotions. While we often talk about the joy and excitement of expecting, we shy away from addressing the other feelings. Expectant moms might also experience anxiety, worry, and even anger.

If you want to avoid spending the next nine months feeling like a volcano on the verge of eruption, keep reading. I’m sharing my simple five-step process to managing your anger during pregnancy.


Why Am I So Angry During Pregnancy?

The most common cause of extreme emotional responses during pregnancy is hormones. As your body enters the first trimester and your body changes to support the growing life inside of you, your hormones tend to fluctuate.

This can lead to more intense feelings, conflicting emotions, and frequent mood swings.

Another common cause of anger in pregnancy is good ol’ stress.

There are few events in life as life-changing as welcoming a new child into your family. As exciting as it is, the transitions and stress of the unknown can also cause tensions to run high and impact your ability to control your anger.

When Should I Consult My Doctor?

Expect a few stress or hormone-induced outbursts of angriness during pregnancy. Stress and anger are not only a part of pregnancy but part of any human existence.

The key is identifying the difference between normal hormonal moods and a more serious situation. The baseline emotional state varies from person to person, so you and your loved ones are key to determining what is normal for you, and what might need to be addressed by a professional.

Take Note

If your pregnancy anger and mood swings are consistently increasing in frequency, intensity or duration – longer than two weeks – speak to your healthcare provider. If your anger during pregnancy is interfering with your relationships or daily life, this may be a sign to seek a referral to a counselor who can address more serious conditions like antenatal depression or anxiety (1).

Anger And Your Baby’s Health

Anger and anxiety trigger stress hormones including cortisol and send your body and mind into “fight or flight” mode. A continuous stress response (as opposed to periodic elevations), can trigger an inflammatory response in your nervous system.

Take Note

Inflammation has been linked to poorer pregnancy outcomes, including lower birth weight and premature delivery. New research is also now demonstrating a link between elevated stress levels and behavioral issues continuing into the unborn baby’s childhood. (2)

It may be hard to stop stressing once you know the impact of stress. But remember, stressing about your stress levels and anger will not make them go away. Instead, use this information as motivation to implement some changes to handle your emotions better.

Managing Emotions During Pregnancy

1. Rest

This is often a hard one for busy moms, especially if you work outside the home and have older children to care for in addition to your growing belly.

Although it can be tempting to stay up late to get everything done and stay on the go all day long, don’t fall into this trap. It can be incredibly taxing on your body which is already under strain.

Prioritize your body’s need for rest by aiming for these rest milestones throughout the day:

  • Ten minutes of rest for every hour of being on your feet/activity.
  • A 20-30 minute nap whenever possible.
  • Seven to eight hours of quality undisturbed sleep every night.

These will help you maintain your energy levels and minimize the physical discomforts of pregnancy such as swelling, back pain, and headaches, so they don’t add to your irritability.

Here is a great five minute guided prenatal relaxation video to help you rest from yoga and wellness lifestyle experts, Gaiam.

2. Recharge

Remember the age-old adage of putting on your oxygen mask before assisting others? They say it on airplane journeys, and it certainly applies to the journey of pregnancy as well.

The growing life inside of you is literally draining you (and we mean that in the nicest way possible). Be sure to fuel your body frequently with healthy foods, so you have energy throughout the day.

Remember

Choosing healthy food over junk will also help you maintain regular bowel movements, and supply your body and baby with all the necessary nutrients for growth.

Keeping up a regular, mild exercise routine is an important element. Exercise helps to manage your stress hormones, release feel-good endorphins, and alleviate physical symptoms such as constipation and insomnia.

Aim for the following recharging activities throughout the day:

  • 20-30 minutes of mild physical exercise (gardening, swimming, walking).
  • Small 300-400 calorie, nutrient-dense meals/snacks, five to six times per day (3).

3. Reconnect

While you and your partner are both focused on preparing for baby, don’t let your relationship slide. Make time to connect on an emotional level with each other.

Take Note

Investing in your relationship with each other now can help you weather the possibly stressful times after baby’s arrival or while you prepare for this big transition in your lives.

Pregnancy is also a great time to reconnect with yourself and continue to pursue your interests. Taking time for personal hobbies you enjoy enables you to maintain emotional balance.

Whatever it is – reading, prenatal yoga, painting, 5-10 minutes of meditation in the morning – create those experiences for yourself and make sure you remain a priority on your to-do list.

4. Remove Conflict and Stress

Try as much as possible to remove yourself from stressful situations. If you have older kids testing limits or a strenuous job, you can’t just walk away for the next nine months.

However, you can identify a few isolated conflict-inducing incidents, and choose a different approach to handling them.

Whether it’s a problematic co-worker or your toddler throwing a tantrum, if you’re upset, it is perfectly acceptable to take a break before you discuss the issue.

Give yourself a few moments to regain composure, and focus on another activity (walking, reading, deep breaths) to calm you down. (4)

You may also reduce stress by removing unnecessary items from your to-do list. This might decrease your level of anxiety and overwhelm.

5. Release

Release the expectation to be happy and joyful about this pregnancy 24/7. We don’t discuss these negative emotions because we worry that people will think we aren’t excited to be expecting or are taking for granted this blessing in our lives.

Pregnancy can be difficult! Permit yourself to feel these emotions without judgment.

Take Note

Having an honest and vulnerable conversation with a close friend or your partner can often change your perspective.

Making a list of your concerns, or writing your emotions in a journal, can help you accept the emotions as normal, and give you some relief.

If you decide to confide in someone else, choose a trusted friend you know will be supportive and empathetic. If you are journaling, then give yourself grace.


Getting A Grip On Anger

Our nation is beginning to recognize postpartum depression and anxiety. However, some conditions specifically occur during pregnancy, called antenatal depression or anxiety. They are less known but affect 7 to 20% of all pregnant woman (5). I saw antenatal depression nearly as much as postpartum depression in practice, yet mothers rarely discuss it.

If you are feeling more emotional, you are not alone! Most pregnant women feel emotions more intensely. If the anger turns into sadness or persists, you could be dealing with an antenatal mental health disorder. Seeking counseling is an effective way to improve your symptoms and take back your pregnancy. Let your healthcare provider know what your concerns are so that they can keep both of you safe.

Headshot of Caitlin Goodwin, MSN, RN, CNM

Editor's Note:

Caitlin Goodwin, MSN, RN, CNM

If you’ve used these tips, and still have trouble with your emotions, don’t put off a discussion with your healthcare provider anymore! Just as you wouldn’t ignore a physical symptom, take care of your mental and emotional health.

And now it’s your turn – other moms want to hear from you! Do you have any more tips for managing anger during pregnancy? Share your wisdom with other moms-to-be below! We’re all in this together.

Headshot of Caitlin Goodwin, MSN, RN, CNM

Reviewed by

Caitlin Goodwin, MSN, RN, CNM

Caitlin Goodwin MSN, RN, CNM is a Certified Nurse-Midwife, clinical instructor and educator. She has ten years of nursing experience and enjoys blogging about family travel and autism in her free time.
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32 Reader Comments

  1. Leigh

    Thank you for writing this. This really helped me after I had a total meltdown with my husband and almost punched a hole in the wall! It was crazy. I have been so stressed out at work and all these changes in my body and I just lost it tonight. It was like I had no control over my emotions! Anyway, thank you. I REALLY needed to read this!

    • Jenny Silverstone

      Thank you, Leigh. I’m glad I was able to help. Hang in there and just remember you are not the first person to feel this way ♥

      • April wallace

        It is scary and stressful to feel this way. I spoke to my doctor and she put me on antidepressants. But now I am stressing over the medication as well. It is just so tough.

        • Jenny Silverstone

          It can definitely be both scary and stressful. I hope you are able to get some relief soon!

          • Lerato

            Hi, I’m going through a hard time where I’m separated from the people I’m usually happy around and now, I’m sad, lonely, and stressed. I just don’t know how else to feel except being angry. I even lost it yesterday and snap at my grandma. I love my child and want to be a great mom. What can I do, please?

          • Team Mom Loves Best

            Hey Lerato, we’re sorry to hear that you’re having a difficult time emotionally. It may be worth it for your health and your baby’s to resolve any family conflicts, rest, and reconnect with those you love. If you still find yourself extremely down emotionally, then speak to your doctor. All the best!

          • Elle

            Hey,
            Funny, I just came across this after getting angry and shouting at my husband about wanting the wrong thing for dinner (so to speak)! I was hangry and we were trying to order takeaways and I was so irritable! I’m in my third trimester and also have some depression and anxiety and have changed med timing so it must be all related. Interesting article and such a coincidence (since I searched re the anger but not the dinner part!)

          • Team Mom Loves Best

            Hi Elle, we’re so glad we could help 🙂 hang in there.

  2. Britney

    This article was helpful. I had a very passionate conversation with my mother-in-law that took a turn for the worse. It was not my intent to hurt her feelings, but I wanted her to consider the desires and wishes of my husband and me when we bring our baby home.

    I was honest and passionate while also acknowledging that my feelings may change later in my pregnancy; nonetheless, she was tearful and sad because of my outburst. I need to make a few changes and focus me and the health of my baby. I think resting and reconnecting will surely help!

    • Jenny Silverstone

      I completely understand emotional outburst, I think we all have them sometimes (pregnant or not). I hope you are able to take some time to yourself, and that your mother-in-law respects your wishes.

  3. Lorena

    Thank you for this. I often find myself in tears and feeling lonely. My partner isn’t doing anything to cause this, he’s just been working a lot with a female coworker, and it has me feeling insecure and angry. It all brought me into a rage today and resulted in me throwing some clothes in his face. I know it wasn’t right at all. I will be trying this. Thank you so much.

    • Jenny Silverstone

      Hi Lorena, I’m sorry you are going through this. Once, when I was pregnant with my son, I had a breakdown over my husband bringing me a bottle of soda instead of a can. I felt so ridiculous afterward and apologized a lot. A long hot bath helped me to relax and reset. Are you doing anything to help you wind down?

  4. Sidra

    I want to thank you for this article, I have been unfair to my partner, and it has been a rollercoaster. We had such a bad argument that I had an asthma attack, something I’ve never experienced before. The thing is I’ve been thinking about doing some stuff on this list. This article solidifies that I need to listen to my intuition. Thanks again!

    • Jenny Silverstone

      Hi Sidra, I’m glad that this article could help! I had a few arguments like this with my husband when I was pregnant as well so don’t beat yourself up. Sometimes our emotions get the best of all of us!

  5. Niki

    I needed to read this article and implement the advice into my life. My first pregnancy I was sick the entire time, this time around I am full of emotions. I deleted my Facebook account and have stopped talking to friends and family.

    I feel like everyone always needs something from me emotionally, and I am tired. I cry and cry all of the time and am very angry. There doesn’t seem to be a trigger; it just seems to happen slowly. My husband is very supportive, and when he is home I feel better, but when he is at work, I feel like a dark cloud is hanging over me.

    I’m planning my daughters first birthday party in a few weeks, and I’m so unhappy that I have to talk to my inlaws. I’m afraid of what I might say because I have zero tolerance for anyone.

    My husband wants to schedule a prenatal massage for me the day after the party; he is a smart man. I want to feel like myself again.

    • Jenny Silverstone

      Hi Niki,

      I am so sorry you are going through this. My heart breaks reading your comment, but I do know how you feel. I was in a very similar place when I was pregnant with my youngest. Have you found any coping mechanisms that help bring you to a happier, more relaxed place? For me, it was handing the kids over to my husband and going to sit in a warm bath for a while. Just have some quiet time by myself really helped me to feel centered again.

  6. Renu

    Thank you all for sharing your experiences, as I’ve been feeling these emotions recently. However feeling like better now. Thank you once again.

    • Team Mom Loves Best

      You’re welcome, Renu. What helped you feel better? We wish you all the best!

  7. Aashiesh Agarwaal

    This step by step guide is amazing. Explains beautifully how a mother’s negative emotions affect her unborn baby. Having positive thoughts and emotions help your child grow physically and mentally healthy.

    • Team Mom Loves Best

      Hey Aashiesh, thanks for your kind comment 🙂 Glad you liked our post.

  8. Kim​ sopheak

    Thanks for this great article. Some other tips that have worked for me are:

    1. Doing good things for others can also reduce stress and sadness during pregnancy.
    2. Try talking to someone who’s positive.
    3. Go to places where you feel calm and happy.

    • Team Mom Loves Best

      Thanks for the great tips, Kim! I’m sure our mamas will find these helpful 🙂

  9. marga

    I’m on my 8th week of pregnancy and due to anger, I had cut my wrist slightly because my husband wasn’t around. He was with his cousin enjoying the night while I felt so alone, and I felt he’d do something I really hate — vaping. After that, he started to avoid me and it made me much lonelier. I don’t know what to do anymore. I’m not thinking clearly when I cut my wrist. It wasn’t a bad or big cut, but I had a scar, maybe 1cm long. What can I do?

    • Team Mom Loves Best

      Hey Marga, thank you for reading. We’re so sorry to hear of your emotional challenges. Mom Loves Best does not provide medical advice. We would encourage you to see a counselor/therapist to support you through these difficult emotions. We certainly wish you all the best.

  10. MissC

    Reading this post and the comments really made me feel less alone, so I’ll share too.

    My husband and I share an office at home, and honestly, I’m getting to where I just can’t stand him but also want him around (everything is so mixed up). The house is a mess because we are both working constantly and with our daughter just starting school, the routine at night has completely changed.

    I get off work (he works later into the night than I do), take care of her lunch for the next day, go through folders, get her clothes picked out, bath, brush teeth, story, lay with her until she falls asleep. There’s 0 time to do anything except on the weekends and my in-laws seem to think they can freely show up at any moment on the weekends (and sometimes during the week after my daughter gets out of school). They don’t respect any asks for them to call at least before coming over, or when we ask them not to, tell them we are busy, nothing works.

    Labor Day is next Monday and I was so looking forward to it, but then they called and asked what we are ALL doing. My husband told them we aren’t doing anything and are not going over there, but I already can tell they will show up sometime either Sunday or Monday anyway. 🙁 I don’t want to yell at them, but it’s getting so out of hand, I’ve been avoiding them (having my husband deal with them, but obviously ineffectively) on purpose because I just know I’ll snap if I have to talk to them about it.

    I feel pretty miserable all the time, and angry, and when I try to explain to my husband about how I’m feeling, it just escalates. I tell him constantly I want him gone, I’d rather be alone – but really that’s not true, quite the opposite :(. I love him, our daughter, and the baby we are having so much I just want to run away from all the stress and go somewhere far far away. (Which wouldn’t work because the house needs to be cleaned and organized — we’d have that lingering over our heads, no trip lasts forever.)

    I’m going to try to follow some of these steps. Hopefully, it will help. Thank you.

    • Team Mom Loves Best

      Hi MissC,

      Thanks so much for sharing your experience with us. It can’t be easy at all, but it will pass. Keep trying to work with your husband — you’re on the same team! In-laws can be a struggle, but I’m sure they’re more annoying because of the hormones, so try not to ruin your relationship since pregnancy is temporary. You’ll need them when you have the baby. Finally, try to set aside time to clean and organize with your husband. It’ll make you both feel so much better — trust us!

      We wish you all the best and are rooting for you and your family.

  11. Laura

    Just wanted to also chime in as I’m feeling the same. Some days are good and then there are days like today where I keep hitting the reset button but I keep being tested for my patience. I lost it over the smallest thing. I hate feeling so unable to control myself. It’s overwhelming. I’d say it helps knowing I’m not alone. I’ve not been sleeping good at night so I just took 30 minutes to lay down in my bed with no lights on and just tried to relax. Let’s hope the day gets better. And to all you other pregnant moms reading this I send you a virtual hug from the heart because I could really use one right now 🙂

    • Team Mom Loves Best

      Hey Laura, a massive virtual hug to you too! Remember that this too will pass 🙂 and of course, you’re not alone.

  12. This post really helped, I have a 4 year old a 1 year old and currently 32 weeks pregnant, I love my children more than anything in the world but I just get so emotional and irritated by everything, I don’t want my partner around me but he’s the most caring amazing man, I’m just so confused and struggling to calm down most days. I’ll be trying these steps. Thanks again

    • Team Mom Loves Best

      Hey Jody, we’re sorry to hear you’re having a challenging time with your emotions. Hang in there, we’re all rooting for you 🙂

  13. Thank you for the tips! I thought I have became this nasty person for no reason. This is such a lonely journey that my husband will never understand. With us raising a daughter who is going through the terrible 2 phase, selling and buying a home, and more, I realized I am constantly irritated when they are around me. I thought I hated being a mother but I realized that something bigger than me is there. I constantly wondering is it me or is it the hormones. I can relate when someone said they wished their partner was out of the house but wanted to have them around at the same time. Thanks for these tips! It is a start for me.

    • Team Mom Loves Best

      Hi, P! You are so welcome 🙂

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