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Your relationship with your partner

partner; couple; husband; father; relationship; sex; sexual; drive; sex-drive;

A baby will bring about some major changes in every couple's relationship - well before the baby is even born! For some couples, these changes happen very easily, other couples may need to make more of a conscious adjustment to these changes  Many couples also find that pregnancy and parenting mean they need to make changes in their physical relationship.

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Pregnancy is an emotional time for couples

However much you are both looking forward to having a baby, it is quite normal for couples to argue during pregnancy.

  • Your arguments may be about nothing in particular (you know the type), or they could be the result of one partner worrying about the changes that will soon happen in your lives.
  • Some of your arguments may have happened whether or not you were pregnant - you can't blame everything on pregnancy!

You will need to work out how you will get over these problems, and how you will adjust to the changes that are soon to come. Simply acknowledging that you are bound to have some emotional times, as a couple during pregnancy is a good place to start.

One of the many issues that you will need to talk about during pregnancy is how you both plan to cope with labour. Today, there tends to be an automatic assumption that the partner will be there during labour. While this is what most couples want, it's important not to make assumptions about what you or your partner wants.

It's normal to have some fears about actually having the baby. Partners are probably feeling pretty scared about labour too. They are probably wondering how they might cope seeing you in pain, if they can cope with the sight of blood and whether they will be able to help you. Even though you will be doing the hard, physical work during labour, it's really important to acknowledge your partner's feelings and any fears. You may feel that you would rather not have your partner there with you for some reason. Talking openly is the only way you can move forward with any of these issues.

Fathers may also have different feelings

There aren't any rules for how women should feel or behave in pregnancy - and there are no rules for men either!

Fathers share many of the experiences of pregnancy - the worries, problems, pleasure, joy and the waiting. New dads may also have some issues of their own to work out.

Men don't have a baby growing inside them (however much you sometimes wish they could) and this can make it really tricky for them to adjust to pregnancy and the thought of a new baby as quickly as you can. Some men want to feel more involved in their partner's pregnancy, but find it hard to believe that a baby is really there.

Many fathers say that the turning point for them is seeing their baby at the first ultrasound. After this, many dads-to-be begin to feel a greater sense of involvement with their unborn child.

Once again, simply sharing your feelings with each other is a huge step towards understanding the range of emotions you will both feel during your pregnancy. It's also important to remember that no feeling is 'right' or 'wrong' for any particular stage of pregnancy.

If you would like to read more about dads and pregnancy, have a look at the web site Fathers' Forum Online. This forum aims to help fathers connect with each other and reflect on what it means to become a parent. 

Sex during pregnancy

You can continue to have sex while you are pregnant as long as you don't have any complications with your pregnancy and you are feeling fine.

Many couples worry about having sex during pregnancy. Their main concern is that it could hurt the baby. There is no physical reason why you can't keep enjoying your usual sex life right through a normal pregnancy. It doesn't harm your baby because your partner's penis can't go any further than your vagina. Your uterus is completely sealed off by the muscles of your cervix and a plug of mucus that is specially formed during pregnancy.

While sex is safe for most couples during pregnancy, you may find that pregnancy affects your sex-drive. Some women find that they lose interest during their first trimester because they are so tired and are often feeling sick. If this happens to you, talk to your partner and explain how you are feeling. At this time, you and your partner can experience different types of closeness, such as lots of cuddling and reassurance. If you do feel flat and unsexy during your first trimester, these feelings will usually change during the middle months of your pregnancy.

Even for women who have no problems with their sex-drive, you may find that some positions are no longer comfortable. The 'missionary' (man on top) can be very uncomfortable in early pregnancy when your breasts are especially tender. Some women also find deep penetration uncomfortable. Many couples find that side-by-side positions seem to work best.

Later in pregnancy, having an orgasm might set off Braxton Hicks' contractions. You will feel the muscles of your uterus (womb) go hard. If this is uncomfortable, just lie quietly until the contractions stop. These Braxton Hicks' contractions are not labour and will not harm your baby in any way.

If you have had a previous miscarriage, or if you have bleeding during this pregnancy, ask your doctor for advice about sex during pregnancy.

You will also need to avoid sex for a short time after having a chorionic villus sampling test or amniocentesis. For more details about these tests, please have a look at the topics on Amniocentesis and Chorionic Villus Sampling.

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The information on this site should not be used as an alternative to professional care. If you have a particular problem, see your doctor or midwife.

 

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