Relationships and pregnancy

Pregnancy can bring big changes to your relationship with your partner. You may find it brings you together or pushes you apart.

These are some common reasons for argument:

  • Your partner is less interested in the pregnancy than you are.
  • The baby doesn’t seem real to your partner.
  • You are both stressed about money.
  • You don’t want sex but your partner does.
  • You are feeling sick, tired and moody and you take it out on your partner.
  • You are worried your partner won’t find your changing body attractive.

It’s a good idea to talk to each other about your feelings and how your life may change:

  • 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.

Why good relationships matter

Your relationship with your partner has a strong link with your emotional wellbeing. A good relationship helps you deal with the stressful situations you may experience in pregnancy. A bad relationship can undermine how you feel about yourself and can make it more likely that you get depression when you’re pregnant or afterwards.

“My husband Stuart was very supportive and understanding. When I had my anxious thoughts, instead of telling me not to be silly he helped me rationalise my thoughts. He really calmed me" Katie, mum of one. Read more...

Sorting out relationship problems

Relationship difficulties with your partner may not be easy to sort out. If you're in this situation you could:

  • Have an open and frank discussion about how you each feel and what you each need.
  • Try not to be accusing or too negative, instead think about practical ways that things could change for the better.
  • Try to understand things from your partner’s point of view as well as your own.
  • Get relationship advice and support from the Couple Connection.
  • Get information about couple’s counselling at Relate.

If you don’t feel that you get much support from your partner, it’s important to think of who else you can turn to when you need to talk about things – a friend, a family member?

"Tom was very supportive; we discussed what my problems might be and what I needed from him, which was to not assume that I was angry at him, but that mentally I just need a cuddle." Theresa, mum of one. Read more...

Domestic abuse

Some women experience abuse from partners or family members. Sometimes abuse starts or gets worse when you are pregnant. Abuse from someone you know is called ‘domestic abuse’ or ‘domestic violence’.

Abuse can be:

  • physical abuse – such as hitting or slapping you or pushing you around
  • sexual abuse – such as touching you sexually or making you have sex when you don’t want to
  • mental/verbal abuse – such as constantly putting you down, threatening you or manipulating you
  • financial abuse – such as controlling you by keeping your money from you.

Domestic abuse can harm you and your baby. Don’t think you have to put up with it – it’s not your fault. Talk to someone about what’s happening.

  • Midwives ask all pregnant women about domestic abuse.
  • If you tell your midwife what is happening to you, she’ll tell you where you can get help and support locally.
  • If your partner always goes with you to antenatal appointments, phone your midwife. You may be able to tell her about the abuse on the phone, or she can organise to see you on your own.
  • 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.

If you split up

If you split up from your partner, it’s important to think about who you can ask for emotional and practical support. You may also need to sort out financial support and contact arrangements with your baby’s dad, and work out your own options for the future. You can get lots of information and support from single parents charity Gingerbread.

Other resources

Read more

Sources

  1. Røsand GM et al. Partner relationship satisfaction and maternal emotional distress in early pregnancy. BMC Public Health 2011; 11:161
  2. National Institute for Health and Care Excellence. Domestic violence and abuse: how services can respond effectively, public health guideline 50. London: NICE, 2014
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Last reviewed on February 1st, 2015. Next review date February 1st, 2018.

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Comments

  • 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 midwife@tommys.org if we can help you any further.

  • By Anonymous (not verified) on 21 Apr 2017 - 22:48

    I am 39 weeks pregnant. Pregnant with my second child, my first born is 11months. I didnt know the baby father that well 6months or so and i got caught pregnant ended up getting married and living together then i noticed a massive change he had an attitude was very demanding. I didnt go out. He would say things then say to me i didnt say this that to you. I kept telling myself after baby is born things will get better they got worse he was eyeing other women up calling me names so i fled away two times i took my son. Then one day he asked to see him and take him out for abit i said yes and he never bought him back and i had a breakdown i felt suicidal i ended up i hospital i lost alot of weight and i was pregnant with my second child as i didnt know before. He took me to court we got shared custody but he has the residency order. I have been taken advantage off pushed made out to be and i feel like a horrible person mother cos i am negetive now. Things still havent changed and i cry alot. I cry so much its not normal it can't be. I use to be happy just now i do not know what to do. I don't have a good family connection my dad isnt alive and mum lives away and my siblings are away apart from one. Its so hard and stressful all i ever wanted was to live normal and i thought i was strong and was going to be a great mum but its been hard and had got taken away from me. Carrying a child then the pain through labour wasnt enough to have abit of respect towards me. I just wish things would get better. I'm not sure anymore i think maybe i deserve this or i don't. All i know is i love my children but too many people have a say including the baby dad i don't get a chance. I want to be happy i don't know how to be anymore

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