Understanding Psychological Changes during Pregnancy

Psychological changes in the first trimester usually involve anxiety about the unborn baby. See more pregnancy pictures.
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Pregnancy is an experience full of growth, change, enrichment, and challenge. It is a time when you as a couple confront your fears and expectations about becoming parents and begin to determine your own parenting style. Forthcoming parenthood causes psychological changes in both mother and father.

The following sections will help you understand the normal psychological changes that occur throughout the different stages of pregnancy. If you are having psychological problems that are interfering with your daily life or relationships, talk to your doctor and get help. Don't worry, these changes are normal considering a big life change like pregnancy. In the following sections, you will learn to identify common changes, including:

  • Psychological Changes in the First Trimester You may not be able to see the changes that are happening during the first trimester, but they are significant. During this time, some new mothers might be filled with a feeling of anxiety about losing their new baby. These fears, though unfounded, are perfectly normal. Read about the many emotions that women experience during this critical period in fetal development.
  • Psychological Changes in the Second Trimester Once the stress and anxiety of the first trimester have passed, the emotional changes of the second trimester begin. Though the feelings during this time will usually be less intense, they can be equally as troubling. Many mothers begin to feel self-conscious about the weight they are putting on to support their baby, and these feelings can lead to low self-esteem.
  • Psychological Changes in the Third Trimester In the third trimester, women are anticipating childbirth and coping with significant physical changes. While fears of losing the baby have usually disappeared by this point, a new anxiety takes its place -- the fear of the baby's arrival. Also, worries about labor and birth are also common during the last three months of pregnancy.
  • Dreams During Pregnancy Many women experience strange dreams about childbirth, their newborn baby, and life as a new mother. In this section, we will tell you about some of the more common dreams pregnant women have including dreams about the baby's sex and nightmares about being trapped or assaulted. We will also attempt to help understand what these dreams might mean.
  • Psychological Changes in the Father At the same time that pregnant women are experiencing major physical and emotional changes, expectant fathers are going through emotional changes as well. Some fathers might feel left out during the pregnancy or might become apprehensive about their ability to parent. We will run down these common fears and offer some suggestions for dealing with them.

To begin learning about the specific emotional changes that occur to women during pregnancy, go to the next page to find out what happens during the first trimester.