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Brighter Days: 6 Top Tips for Coping with Pregnancy Emotions

Jennifer Bright on

If Kleenex commercials make you cry and your partner is driving you nuts, you're not alone. Blame it on changes in your hormone and neurotransmitter levels, which are substances that allow nerve cells to communicate with one another. You might find it helpful to talk with a friend, family member or counselor.

Here's what our Mommy M.D.s -- doctors who are also mothers -- do to cope with their own pregnancy emotions.

"When I was pregnant, I was so much more emotional," says Gina Dado, M.D., a mom of two daughters and an OB-GYN with the Paradise Valley branch of Arizona OB-GYN Affiliates in Scottsdale, Arizona. "I'd cry even watching the news! My husband and I would laugh afterward, realizing it was just my hormones from the pregnancy causing it."

"During my pregnancies, commercials made me cry at the drop of a hat," says Kristie McNealy, M.D., a mom of four and a health care consultant in Salt Lake City. "As a blogger, I enjoy reading people's blogs, and both happy stories and tragedies make me cry."

"I don't remember feeling overly emotional or sensitive, but if you ask my husband, he might have a different answer for you!" says Ashley Roman, M.D., M.P.H, a mom of two daughters and an associate professor of obstetrics and gynecology at the New York University School of Medicine in New York City. "During my pregnancy, I was very sensitive to smells, especially the smell of steak. The first time I came home from work and had a meltdown because my husband had cooked steak, he became more sensitive to my changes in mood."

"I was a little more emotional than usual during pregnancy, and it usually embarrassed me," says Rallie McAllister, M.D., M.P.H., mom of three, co-author of "The Mommy MD Guide to Your Baby's First Year," nationally recognized health expert and family physician in Lexington, Kentucky. "But sometimes, my pregnancy-induced sensitivity emboldened me.


"Toward the end of my third pregnancy, I was working with a male surgeon who had the habit of calling all the women he worked with 'Missy,'" McAllister continues. "After about two weeks, I just couldn't take it anymore, and I told him so. He was shocked that a young female resident had the audacity to confront him, and I was almost as shocked as he was! If my emotions hadn't been fueled by pregnancy hormones, I don't think I would have ever had the courage to speak my mind."

"I remember one time during my pregnancies when I was really emotional," says Nancy Rappaport, M.D., a mom of three grown children, an assistant professor of psychiatry at Harvard Medical School, an attending child and adolescent psychiatrist in the Cambridge, Massachusetts, public schools and author of "The Behavior Code: A Practical Guide to Understanding and Teaching the Most Challenging Students." "I had a huge argument with my husband. He was planting foxgloves in our garden, which can be poisonous. I asked him how he could be so thoughtless planting them in my garden. I thought he must be intent on poisoning our child! It was completely illogical: If you're a little kid, you can off yourself in any number of ways. Plus, the baby wasn't even born yet! It would be years before he would be able to grab those flowers. But at that time, I felt more vulnerable than usual. My body was changing, and my balance was changing, yet I felt very protected at the same time."

"I probably was more sensitive during my pregnancies, but I fought it," says Stacey Marie Kerr, M.D., a mother of two grown daughters, a grandmother of two, a family physician and author of "Homebirth in the Hospital: Integrating Natural Childbirth with Modern Medicine" from Santa Rosa, California. "In my home, emotions were not valued. I learned early on to control my emotions. When I was pregnant, I tried not to be too vulnerable. But I was scared -- terrified, actually -- of the change that this was going to bring to my life. I knew that becoming a mother would make me more vulnerable in my relationship with my partner. I tried not to show my vulnerability and emotions, though. That might have partly been why I was so sick throughout my pregnancy. I think stress might have added to that. But I just lived each day and dealt with what I had."


Jennifer Bright is a mom of four sons, founding CEO of woman- and veteran-owned custom publisher Bright Communications LLC, co-founder of the Mommy MD Guides team of 150+ mommy M.D.s, and co-author of "The Mommy MD Guide to the Toddler Years" and six other books in the Mommy MD Guides series. She lives in Hellertown, Pennsylvania. To find out more about Jennifer Bright and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate website at

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