Relational Wellness During Pregnancy

by | Jun 26, 2024

Pregnancy is not just transforming your body. It’s also a time of transformation in your relationship. Consider the hormonal shifts, physical changes, and emotional rollercoaster of pregnancy. These changes can significantly impact partners, friends, and family dynamics. 

While many emotions may take you by surprise, with open communication, empathy, and a focus on relational wellness, this period can also be a time of growth, strengthening bonds, and building a solid foundation for parenthood. Remember, your relationship has the resilience to weather these changes and emerge stronger.

Let’s examine the impact of pregnancy on relationships first.

The Impact of Pregnancy on Relationships

  • Emotional Fluctuations: We know you’ve heard it before, but Pregnancy hormones can lead to mood swings, anxiety, and even depression. This can make communication challenging and lead to misunderstandings with your partner.
  • Shifting Intimate Priorities: As the focus shifts towards the baby’s arrival, there may be less time and energy for maintaining intimacy with your partner. Also, mom’s body is super tired from creating bones, limbs, eyes and more. The shifting priorities can cause feelings of neglect or resentment.
  • Role Adjustments: Dynamics within the household before and during pregnancy differ vastly. Partners may grapple with new roles and responsibilities as they prepare for parenthood. These adjustments can lead to disagreements about childcare expectations and household chores. This is what we mean by ‘role adjustments ‘. Remain flexible and open, as these roles will shift once the baby arrives. Communicating and understanding each other’s expectations is vital to avoid conflicts and maintain a harmonious relationship.
  • Financial Stress: The financial burden of raising a child can be a significant source of stress, creating tension within the relationship. Too often, these are silent stressors and resentment.

 

Looking After Your Relational Wellness During Pregnancy

  • Open Communication: We often shy away from confronting difficult subjects with our partners, unknowingly creating distance between us. But remember, tough conversations create space for growth. By talking openly and honestly with your partner about your feelings, concerns, and expectations, you can practice active listening and validate each other’s emotions. For instance, instead of saying, “You never help with the chores,” try “I feel overwhelmed with the chores; could you help me with them?” This means listening without trying to defend yourself. Hear what they are saying and acknowledge how they are feeling. This open communication can empower you to take control of your relationship dynamics during pregnancy.
  • Quality Time: Whether it’s a quiet dinner at home, a walk in the park, or a drive together, these moments of connection can help sustain your intimacy and strengthen your relationship.
  • Shared Activities: Take childbirth education classes together, discuss parenting philosophies, and involve yourselves in preparing the nursery. These are shared activities which you both participate in and enjoy. Even if you think Mama is taking the lead and doesn’t need your input, trust us: she does and will appreciate your active interest. These activities help you bond as a couple and prepare you for the journey of parenthood together.
  • Maintain Support Systems: It’s crucial to remind one another to continue nurturing your friendships and family relationships. Seek support from loved ones who can offer a listening ear and practical help. Show up to a birthday, even if it’s for an hour. Yes, life is changing, but include those you love in the evolution of who you are. This emphasis on maintaining support systems can reassure you that you’re not alone during this transformative period.
  • Love Yourself Enough to Get Professional Help: If you’re struggling with communication or experiencing significant emotional distress, consider getting professional help from a therapist or counsellor specialising in pregnancy and relationships.

You are changing, so it’s only natural that the way you engage with the world and your relationships will change. Evolution is meant for the better. You may not be able to have the glass of bubbly at a party, but your friend will love having you there with a glass of Appletiser so much more than you realise. You don’t feel like being physically intimate, but more cuddles could be the recharge you need. You may not be as good a cook as your wife, but order the takeout or find an easy Pinterest recipe.

Communicating and finding ways to stay connected during the large and small changes will ease your transition through this period of your life.

Additional References:

  • Raising Children Network provides helpful tips for maintaining healthy relationships with partners during pregnancy.
  • Tommy’s offers insights into common relationship problems during pregnancy and how to navigate them.