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Fathers - your relationship with your partner

partner; couple; husband; father; relationship; sex; sexual; drive; sex-drive; wife; dads; dad;

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 an adjustment to these changes  Many couples also find that pregnancy and parenting mean they need to make changes in their physical relationship.

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.


Fathers have different feelings to mothers

There are no rules for how you might feel during pregnancy.

Men don't have a baby growing inside them (however much you sometimes wish you could) and this can make it really tricky for you to adjust to pregnancy and the thought of a new baby as quickly as your partner 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.

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 section "Dads guide to pregnancy" on the 'Raising Children Network' website


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 many couples want, it's important not to make assumptions about what you or your partner want.

It's normal to have some fears about actually having the baby. You are probably feeling pretty scared about labour too. You are probably wondering how you might cope seeing your partner in pain, if you can cope with the sight of blood and whether you will be able to help her. Even though she will be doing the hard, physical work during labour, it is stressful for anyone supporting a woman in labour.

Your partner may feel that she would rather not have you there with her for some reason. Talking openly is the only way you can move forward with any of these issues.

Sex during pregnancy

You can continue to have sex while you are pregnant as long as there aren't any complications with the pregnancy, your partner is feeling fine and you both want to.

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 sex life right through a normal pregnancy. It doesn't harm your baby because your penis can't go any further than the vagina. The uterus is completely sealed off by the muscles of the cervix and a plug of mucus that is specially formed during pregnancy.

While sex is safe for most couples during pregnancy, your partner may find that pregnancy affects her 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 her, listen carefully to her as she explains how she is feeling. At this time, you and your partner can explore different types of closeness, such as lots of cuddling and reassurance. If she does feel flat and unsexy during her first trimester, these feelings will usually change during the middle months of the pregnancy.

Even for women who have no problems with their sex-drive, they may find that some positions are no longer comfortable. The 'missionary' (man on top) can be very uncomfortable in early pregnancy when her 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. She will feel the muscles of her uterus (womb) go hard. If this is uncomfortable for her she needs to just lie quietly until the contractions stop. These Braxton Hicks' contractions are not labour and will not harm your baby in any way.

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

She 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.

Much more reading

On the Raising Children Network site there are many topics written for men in the Dad's guide to pregnancy.

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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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