Relationships problems and pregnancy

Pregnancy can change your relationship with your partner. Some people cope with these changes easily, but some find it harder. Knowing where you can find support can help.

Why supportive relationships matter in pregnancy

Pregnancy hormones can make you feel a mix of emotional highs and lows, which can make many women feel more vulnerable or anxious. Some may also have trouble coping with their symptoms or even have complications  during their pregnancy, which can cause extra stress.

A positive relationship can make you feel loved and supported, and more able to deal with these situations. A poor relationship can make you feel bad about yourself, or cause anxiety  or depression.

From couple to parents 

It’s quite normal for couples to argue, even if you’re in a healthy relationship. Sometimes this has nothing to do with pregnancy. But there are some common reasons why you may argue when you’re pregnant. These include:

  • you feel your partner is less interested in the pregnancy than you are
  • the baby doesn’t seem real to you or your partner
  • you feel your partner is being too protective of you
  • you are both stressed about money
  • one of you wants to have sex but the other doesn’t
  • you are feeling sick, tired and moody
  • you are both anxious about being parents
  • you are worried your partner won’t find your changing body attractive.

“I felt sick all day, every day during my pregnancy, which didn’t really get better until I was about 6 months along. I didn’t feel good physically and was also really upset that I wasn’t enjoying my pregnancy. This made me really stressed and irritable, which affected my relationship with my husband for a while.”

Alison

Making the change from being a couple to being parents isn’t easy. You’re probably thinking about how it will change your life and your relationship with each other.

It’s a good idea to talk to each other about your feelings and any anxieties you have about the future, including:

  • your hopes
  • your fears
  • your expectations about life with your baby
  • what kind of parents you want to be
  • how you can support each other.

You may also find it helpful to:

  • have an open and honest chat about how you’re both feeling. Take turns to listen to each other
  • try not to be accusing or too negative, instead think about practical things you could both do to make things better
  • try to understand things from your partner’s point of view as well as your own.

Talking about how you feel won’t always stop you arguing. But it may make you feel better prepared for the changes ahead and reassure you that you are in a strong, healthy and loving relationship.

Sorting out relationship problems

Sometimes problems in a relationship can become overwhelming. Some people may feel like they are dealing with everything on their own and so feel isolated or resentful. Other couples may try to talk through their problems but still can’t find a way to sort things out. 

If you are feeling unhappy you may want to try relationship advice or counselling. This gives you a chance to talk about your worries together in a safe and confidential place with a trained counsellor. You can also talk to a counsellor about your relationship on your own if you want.

You can:

If you split up

Unfortunately, some couples split up when they are expecting a baby. This can be a very difficult time for both of you but there is support available.

The charity Gingerbread supports single parent mums and dads by providing information about things like:

  • financial support
  • housing
  • managing money
  • you and your child’s wellbeing.

Domestic violence

Domestic violence  can be physical, sexual, emotional, psychological or financial. One in four women experiences domestic abuse or domestic violence at some point in their lives.

Some abuse starts when women become pregnant. Other times the abuse gets worse during or after pregnancy.

Domestic violence or abuse can cause emotional and mental health problems, including stress and anxiety. It also puts you and your unborn child at risk.

It may be very difficult to recognise or admit what is happening. Remember that domestic violence or abuse can happen to anyone and you are not alone.

There are professionals you can talk to if you are thinking about having a family but are being abused. Nobody will judge you or tell you what to do, it’s just important that you get support (listed below).

If you’re not comfortable talking to someone face-to-face, you can call the Women’s Aid 24-hour domestic violence helpline on 0808 2000 247. They will give you confidential advice and support.

Remember that anything you say to your midwife or doctor is in confidence. That means they can't tell anyone else without your permission.

You can tell your midwife or doctor if you are experiencing domestic abuse. They may be able to help you and, if not, they can advise you where to go for help.

Sources

NHS Choices. Domestic abuse in pregnancy https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/pregnancy-and-baby/domestic-abuse-pregnant/ (Page last reviewed: 17/03/2018. Next review due: 17/03/2021)

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Last reviewed on October 12th, 2018. Next review date October 12th, 2021.

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Comments

  • By Renie (not verified) on 1 Apr 2019 - 19:40

    I need advice. I am five weeks pregnant and my boyfriend insist that I terminate the pregnancy because he is not ready. Last year he was pushing that we should have a baby. I am pregnant now and he wants me to terminate. I decided to keep the baby and he angry. He is no longer talking to me. He said he is not going to accept the baby. I am so stressed right now and I am worried about my baby more than anything

  • By Mae (not verified) on 1 Apr 2019 - 03:51

    My partner and I have been together for 4 years now.
    A month ago, we learned I'm 6 weeks pregnant (I'm 10wks now).
    At first, he's really excited and cheer me up. But lately, he always tell me he lost his motivation pursuing his dreams anymore (working or migrating abroad). Blaming me for unplanned pregnancy. Every week, he talks to me like he doesn't want it now. He sometimes even hit me whenever I answer him and point out my thoughts. I'm losing my mind and kinda depressed. Looks like we're splittijg up before my baby is born. I should be ready. :(

  • By Martha (not verified) on 30 Mar 2019 - 18:38

    I am 8 months pregnant and my partner is behaving reckless he goes out drinking and never return plus he does not seem to be interested in me or our unborn baby.

  • By Stressed mum (not verified) on 30 Mar 2019 - 08:46

    My partner and I have been together for 5 years and already have a 1yr old together. We were previously living with his family till I fell pregnant again and decided it was time we moved out into our own place.. he refused to come with cause he wanted to help his family out which I understood and was all good with. Now we’ve been living by ourselves for 3months and I am currently 6months pregnant. But the last 3months have been horrible. He’s lying to me all the time and every weekend is always out drinking and doesn’t go home till lunch next day.. Ive been having some major trust issues lately and have been getting so stressed out from his crap. I almost am stuck and don’t know how to deal with my emotions now. I’m worried for my belly baby’s safety with all the stress I’m putting onto myself and don’t know if it’s worth stay with him. He’s an average dad and only sees his 1yr old a few times a week. Let alone sees his pregnant gf. And to add into the mix I’m also working full time at a stressful job but I enjoy it cause it takes my mind off him. Am I being selfish or petty by leaving him for not caring for his family?

  • By Jayla (not verified) on 28 Mar 2019 - 18:11

    I’m 4 months pregnant will be 5 in a week .i work two jobs and just rented my first apartment with him at 18 .things have been stressful and he calls me out my name,and says everything my fault .and that I’m lazy ,that I don’t want to work .when I try so hard ,it’s just days in the pregnancy that I don’t have the energy to get up or I’m in pain or feeling sick and he just says I’m over exaggerating and that I’m lazy.i cry so much in this relationship .after he insults me he always leave the house.when we argue I get this right pains in my stomach and lose breath I try to tell him argue everyday is slowing taking away from me but it seems he just wants to keep hurting me.

  • By Midwife @Tommys on 17 Apr 2019 - 15:58

    Hi Jayla
    Please can you speak to your midwife or doctor about his behaviour ? Could you also possibly tell a close relative or friend so that they can support you? It sounds like you could do with some support if deciding if you want to end this relationship safely and move out. Or if its something that you can address with him and improve upon your relationship. It it totally up to you. Please get the physical support that you can - both your midwife and doctor can help you in this. Please take good care of yourself and your baby
    Tommys Midwife

  • By Joe (not verified) on 21 Mar 2019 - 13:37

    Myself and my partner where very happy and I proposed to her which she said yes then only a month later she found out we are having a child. I was absolutely made up and still am however she has become very distant and only recently decided not to see me. We have a scan 15 week scan booked in April which is three weeks away and I haven't seen her in 3 weeks already. Is this normal behaviour because it's heartbreaking for myself and don't understand any of it. I am trying to be there for her but she's adamant she wants to be on her own. We both have children from previous relationships but we all got along fantastically.

  • By Midwife @Tommys on 21 Mar 2019 - 17:01

    Hi - Thank you for your message.

    I am so sorry to hear that you are going through difficulties in your relationship during what should be an exciting time. Pregnancy can affect people in different ways and sometimes a partner may need time to adjust to the changes ahead.
    Have you tried accessing counselling and support services such as relate?

  • By Alpha (not verified) on 13 Mar 2019 - 06:36

    Why do you guys always think like women are innocent in relationships?? Why you never talk about mens who are abused everyday by their wives? Stressed and still provides for his family?
    Remember actions equals to reactions. Both mens and women may suffer the same in relationships when one pattern is becoming what he or she was supposed to be in relationship

  • By Chelsea (not verified) on 12 Mar 2019 - 02:32

    I’m just looking for anyone that will help us..This will be my child I was so happy still in disbelief that I’m pregnant.At first my boyfriend was excited just like me then as time process he’s getting more and more distance from me ..Its time where he leaves and stay out all night leaving me alone every time I talk to him he say sorry he’ll change but never does. It be days where he make me feel so worthless as the mother of is unborn child and girlfriend to point my life is pointless begin with him. Every time I try to leave he’s always throwing up in my face that we having a child but I don’t want to be with anyone who make me wish some days I wasn’t here . And the more and more I tell him about my feelings it’s like he’s feedings off my pain and treat me like nothing

  • By Lucia (not verified) on 24 Mar 2019 - 09:33

    Im going through the exsact same thing. Ive been experiencing this kind of abuse for years and now that ive fallen pregnant. Hes acting the same way. I dont even no where to turn because i have no friends and no family . Ive tried to leave but he blows up and says that i dont love him, which is a form of Muniplination. Im not trying to tell you what to do. But i suggest you should get proffessional advice from a relationship counsellor. Or womens aid, to advise ypu on what to do.

  • By Risa (not verified) on 18 Jan 2019 - 10:55

    My partner and I have been together over 20 years since we were teens. We already have two children together and I am expecting the third in may this year. I work part time as a teacher, but my partner brings in the majority of the household income. On a daily basis he tells me that certain things I am doing are not good enough, in fact almost everything I do he has a problem with. He tells me I am inadequate as a mother, and complains about the mess of the house, even though I don’t sit down during the day because I am constantly doing housework when I am at home. He complains about money, but I pay a good chunk of the household bills, and pay for anything the kids need at the beginning of the month. This leaves me with nothing to last the month and he knows it. He doesn’t just put me down as a mother he attacks me verbally about my personality and the way I look, especially now I’m getting bigger because of the pregnancy. If I fight back I make him angry and he starts trashing the house, last time he broke our freezer. I get very emotional and cry and he tells me I’m pathetic. I know this is not right, but I can’t see anyway out. I ask him to leave, but he says I wouldn’t cope on my own financially, and even though I want him to go I know he is right.

  • By Midwife @Tommys on 21 Jan 2019 - 16:29

    Hi Risa
    I'm very concerned to read your message-your partner should not be behaving towards you in this way.
    Please could you email Tommy's at [email protected] or contact our pregnancy helpline on 0800 0147 800 so that we can give you more personal support for this. If at any time you do not feel safe at home or that your partner may harm you or your children then you should contact the police on 999 immediately for help
    Take care
    Tommy's Midwife

  • By Vee (not verified) on 18 Mar 2019 - 17:22

    Hey I’m really sorry you are going thru this. I am going thru the same as well. I pray things get better for us.

  • By Brooke (not verified) on 15 Jan 2019 - 02:09

    I know I am going crazy, he tells me this daily.
    Although he really doesn’t understand and does nothing to help the situation
    Just tells me “I hate babies” “fuck that thing for 10 months”
    I got very upset when he said those things, but to him I blew up.
    I’m having a child with this man? Who says things like that? And then blames me for just being crazy
    And also laughs in my face when I’m crying and all I want is for him to be serious. It’s all fun and games to him.
    Is this the end? Or should we keep trying?

  • By Midwife @Tommys on 16 Jan 2019 - 12:05

    Hi Brooke
    I am sorry to hear what a difficult time you are having in your relationship as a result of your pregnancy. It sounds like your boyfriend is finding the news hard to process. It does not sound like your boyfriend is being at all supportive. In fact, he sounds abusive towards you. Do you feel safe to stay with him? Is he harming you both physical as well as emotionally?
    Please call us on 0800 0147800 if you wish to talk anything through with us, we want to help you support you through this difficult time.
    All the best, Tommy's Midwife

  • By Steve powell (not verified) on 11 Feb 2019 - 15:09

    What you need is emotional support and understanding and love. And you don't need it yesterday, you need it now ! Your boyfriend is probably freaked out by the whole experience though, and is short circuting. Try to talk and communicate in a comforting way about your needs, and what kind of comforting and support you need. Try to build him up, so he will feel like a man and participate, and do the right thing. If he absolutely will not respond, I'd find a good man instead.

  • By Mae (not verified) on 1 Apr 2019 - 03:55

    I'm on the same situation as her :(

  • By Baby A (not verified) on 6 Jul 2018 - 22:10

    So, I'm in need of some advice. I have been with my boyfriend for two years. I am currently 8 months pregnant. We moved in with my mother to save money and I haven't been working since I have been having complications with the pregnancy. This is both of ours first baby. He is paying the bills, but makes money and so far has not saved anything. Previous to us getting pregnant we used to drink a lot and dabble in drugs. I was tired of that lifestyle and we started to stop, or so I did when I got pregnant. He finally stopped drinking in May of this year. However, he has been lying to me, sneaking drinks, and taking suboxene and something called kratom. He lies about where he is. Gets high, and still sneaks about. I want him to be the best father for our baby. But if though he is trying, he is still hiding and lying. I'm helpless bc I am relying on him. I love him and have not given up on him. But he gets moody and has jealous and rude behavior. Probably because he is deflecting his behavior and always trying to blame me for something leasing to his behavior. I am at a loss and want to be in the best environment for our baby but will he ever change or is this how put relationship will always be? He won't get help nor will he go to couples therapy with me. I am tired of walking on eggshells when I am pregnant and stressed and hate that he is always lying to me. What do I Do? I can't bear the thought of us not being a family. How do I know he won't drink or be high holding our baby? Why is he so miserable to try and be sober and just be happy with everything he ever said he wanted? Now it's a reality and it seems he wants out bc life is too hard? I feel like I am always the one doing something wrong to make him this way? I cant walk away bc how will i pay for bills and how can i give up on our hopes for a family?

  • By Midwife @Tommys on 12 Jul 2018 - 12:18

    Hi,
    I am really sorry to hear that you are finding yourself in such a difficult situation, and it sounds like there are some hard decisions for you to make. The most important thing is to make sure that you and your baby is safe. Is there anyone that you are able to talk to about what you are going through such as family or friends? Do you feel comfortable speaking with your midwife for some support? It maybe that he needs some support himself with use of drugs and alcohol but also possible mental health? The difficult thing is that he needs to want support, it won't be effective if he doesn't and there is not forcing him as this won't help.
    I would suggest speaking to someone for support and to help you make sure that you are both safe and looked after.
    I wish you all the best
    Tommy's midwife

  • By Midwife @Tommys on 24 Apr 2017 - 09:43

    I am so sorry to hear of the incredibly difficult experiences you have gone through and continue to do so. feeling low and worried for the future is understandable, but it sounds like things are getting more difficult to cope with, especially now you are pregnant again and the previous issues aren't resolved.
    Please call us on our Pregnancy Line 08000147800 (we operate Monday-Friday 9.00 - 17.00) or via email [email protected] if we can help you any further.

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