Molly Mae Hague has found the early stages of pregnancy emotionally difficult (David Parry/PA)
04 October 2022

Molly Mae Hague ‘cried five times a day’ – what to know about early pregnancy emotions

04 October 2022

We talk a lot about the physical symptoms of early pregnancy – such as sickness, sore boobs and exhaustion – but less so about the emotional side.

Love Island star Molly Mae Hague has been candid about her struggles in the early stages. In her first YouTube video about her pregnancy, she explains: “Physically, I have been so blessed, I have not been sick at all. Personally, all I have had to do to cure my little sickness moments is eat, which has meant that I’ve already gained a stone.

“My biggest challenge, 100% has been the mental challenge of the shock… the shock literally overtook my body for the first month. I just felt like every single day I was living an out of body experience. My emotions were something I have never experienced before – I cried maybe five times a day… I was in tears over everything.”

So what are some of the emotional challenges pregnant people may face at this time?

Feeling emotional is totally normal

You have just found out that something fundamental in your life is about to change, so it’s understandable to feel fragile and emotional.

According to Lesley Gilchrist, registered midwife and co-founder of My Expert Midwife: “Around half of pregnancies are planned and the other half are surprises, it is therefore easy to see that, depending on individual circumstances, it could be possible to experience a whole range of emotions.

“Becoming pregnant is a life changing event and even though a pregnancy may be planned or very much wanted the reality of this can sometimes feel very daunting and take a while to adjust to.”

Similarly, your body is going through a huge hormonal change.

Kate Taylor, midwife at online clinic Naytal, says: “Emotional turmoil can be extremely common in early pregnancy for a whole host of reasons. Primarily due to the extreme amount of hormones circulating during the first trimester.“Women who have been very active up until the first trimester may feel too depleted to exercise as frequently –  which can significantly affect mental wellbeing. It is a massive life altering event which many women can find very overwhelming and may need help coming to terms with the idea of motherhood.”

Emotions may be overwhelmingly positive or anxious

“People can feel amazed, proud and overjoyed, or scared, frightened and terrified. Some may even be in denial that they really are pregnant,” says Gilchrist.

“The emotional impact of discovering you are pregnant and growing a brand new human inside you can last, days, weeks or the entire pregnancy. And as human beings we can be prone to overthinking every detail of this from, ‘How we will adapt to all the changes?’ to whether the baby is OK and healthy or,  ‘How we will cope during labour and birth?'”

Hormonal change should not be underestimated

As well being a pivotal and life changing event, pregnancy also creates considerable and sudden hormonal changes in the body. Gilchrist says: “These changes can impact some people more than others, especially if there are profound physical symptoms to contend with as well, such as nausea, sickness and tiredness.”

While Taylor reassures that the symptoms tend to ease off.

“Usually the emotional turmoil brought on by pregnancy is due to extreme hormonal changes that women’s bodies go through – this can tend to subside significantly as women approach the second trimester. The nausea should lesson at this stage and women usually have a bit more energy at this time – this is when women are said to be ‘blooming’ during their pregnancy.”

Sometimes you may need to seek help

Do use the resources available to you. “You can book in with your midwife from around eight weeks in pregnancy via your hospital or GP surgery or sooner if you want further information or input,” Gilchrist advises.

You may also be at higher risk of struggling emotionally if you have had mental health difficulties in the past.

Taylor says: “Women should seek help if they find that their emotions are starting to have an impact on their everyday lives. If they are unable to function normally, or if they feel they are becoming unusually anxious. If women suffer from any feelings of depression then they should most definitely discuss this with a professional.

Antenatal depression is more “common that we realise” but is most certainly treatable, she adds. “If women have previously been diagnosed with mental health issues they should make the midwife or GP aware of this at the initial consultation. If women are being treated with antidepressants it is important that they continue this treatment and discuss this with their GP as soon as they confirm the pregnancy.”

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