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.”


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.


NHS Choices. Domestic abuse in pregnancy (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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  • 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

    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.

  • By Madge (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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