Hesperian Health Guides
Changing feelings and emotions
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Pregnancy is an important time in a woman’s life. Her baby is growing inside her, her body is changing, and she needs more food and more rest. As a woman’s body changes, her relationships, her sexuality, and her work life can change too.
Sudden changes in feelings
Pregnancy can make women very emotional. Some women laugh or cry for no clear reason. Some feel depressed, angry, or irritable.
Odd laughing or crying and other sudden mood changes or strong feelings are normal. They usually pass quickly. But do not ignore a woman’s feelings simply because she is pregnant. Her feelings are real.
Worry and fear
Many women worry when they are pregnant, especially about the baby’s health and about giving birth. A woman’s worries about other problems in her life may also become stronger when she is pregnant.
Such worries are normal. They do not mean that something bad will happen. Women with these feelings need emotional support, like someone to listen to their worries and encourage them to feel hopeful. They may also need help to solve the problems they are having in their lives, like problems with their partners, money, drugs or alcohol, or other issues.
Strange dreams and nightmares
Pregnant women may have strong, vivid dreams. They can be beautiful, strange, or frightening.
For many people, dreams are an important way of understanding themselves and the world. Some people believe that dreams can tell us about the future or give us messages from spirits.
But usually, when something happens in a dream, that does not mean that it will happen to us in life. The events in the dream may be telling us what we are afraid of or what we desire. Or they may simply be stories our minds make up while we sleep. Women who are having frightening dreams may need someone to talk to about their hopes, fears, and feelings.
Some women forget things when they are pregnant. For most women, this is not a big problem. But some may worry if they do not know it is normal. No one knows why women become more forgetful when they are pregnant, but it is common.
Feelings about sex
Some women do not want much sex when they are pregnant. Others want sex more than usual. Both feelings are normal. Having sex and not having sex are both OK for the woman and her baby. Sex is not dangerous for the baby.
Sometimes sex is uncomfortable in pregnancy. A woman and her partner can try different positions for making love. It may feel better with the woman on top, or in a sitting or standing position, or with the woman lying on her side.
There are other ways, besides sexual intercourse, for couples to be close and please each other. Some couples touch and massage each other’s bodies. Some talk about hopes and fears together.
When a pregnant woman has sex, it is important to avoid infection by making sure that anything put inside her body is clean. This includes the penis and hands.
A man who is having sex with more than one woman must always use condoms — including with his pregnant partner. Condoms are a good way to prevent infections, HIV, and other illnesses. See Chapter 18 to learn more about HIV and other sexually transmitted infections.