Tommy's PregnancyHub

Relationships after having a baby - for dads and partners

Having a baby brings a lot of changes to your life, which may affect your relationships with your partner, family and friends.

Your relationships

Having a baby brings a lot of changes to your life, which may affect your relationships with your partner, family and friends. You might become much closer to some people whereas other relationships may become more distant. 

Support from others can be a big help, especially in the early days. 

Your relationship with your partner

Caring for a newborn, together with the sleepless nights, can mean you and your partner have less time for each other. It’s natural for your relationship to change for a while after the birth. 

Try to find time for each other when you can. Maybe you can have a few minutes alone while the baby naps. Or friends and family might babysit.

You might find that you’re arguing more than usual. Taking turns to speak and really listen to each other can help you find positive ways to work together. Keeping your feelings to yourself can cause more problems in the long run so try to be honest about how you feel.

Read more about relationships and pregnancy.

Sex after the birth

Your partner is likely to feel tired and sore after giving birth. They may need to wait a few weeks before having sex if they needed stitches or had a c-section.   

Once you both feel ready to start having sex again, take things slowly. They may find it uncomfortable to begin with. You can still be close without having penetrative sex.  

Your partner can get pregnant 3 weeks after giving birth. Unless you’re planning another baby, you’ll need to use contraception. 

Read more about sex after pregnancy.

Co-parenting

If you’re not in a relationship with the mum or birthing parent, it can take time to develop your own way of working together. You can help to make this easier by agreeing what your roles will be and talking regularly about how things are going. This may involve making some compromises along the way.

Family Man has information for separated and divorced parents.

Relationships with family and friends

You may find that your relationships with family and friends change after you have a baby. You might become much closer to some people. Others might find it hard to understand how you’re feeling. 

Don’t be afraid to ask for help if you need it. Often, people want to support you but they might not know how.  

More support and information

Relate has information for new parents.

Baldwin S et al (2018) Mental health and wellbeing during the transition to fatherhood: a systematic review of first time fathers’ experiences. JBI Database of Systematic Reviews and Implementation Reports 2018; 16(11): 2118-2191. 

NHS. Caesarean section: recovery. https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/caesarean-section/recovery/ (Page last reviewed: 27 June 2019. Next review due: 27 June 2022)

NHS. Episiotomy and perineal tears. https://www.nhs.uk/pregnancy/labour-and-birth/what-happens/episiotomy-and-perineal-tears/ (Page last reviewed: 20 March 2020. Next review due: 20 March 2023)

NHS. Vagina changes after childbirth. https://www.nhs.uk/live-well/sexual-health/vagina-changes-after-childbirth/ (Page last reviewed: 23 October 2018. Next review due: 23 October 2021)

NHS. Sex and contraception after birth. https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/baby/support-and-services/sex-and-contraception-after-birth/ (Page last reviewed: 13 December 2018. Next review due: 13 December 2021)

NHS. Relationships after having a baby. https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/baby/support-and-services/relationships-after-having-a-baby/ (Page last reviewed: 2 January 2019. Next review due: 2 January 2022)
 

Review dates
Reviewed: 15 June 2022 | Next review: 15 June 2025