Common Relationship Problems Couples Face During Pregnancy

Preparing for a new baby can be a lot more work than you think.

couple dealing with relationship problems during pregnancy Cast Of Thousands / Shutterstock

When the pregnancy test shows two lines, most couples are mature enough to understand that their life together will never be the same again. Having a baby changes not only a woman's body, but pretty much everything about your relationship as well.

Understanding how hormones affect a pregnant woman and the other reasons couples may experience new relationship problems during pregnancy can help you prepare yourself to face the coming joys and challenges as a team. In doing so, this new stage of your lives can bring you closer rather than drive you apart.


RELATED: Why I Always Put My Husband Before My Kids

During pregnancy, couples may experience difficulties they haven't encountered before. However, with the right approach, they can quickly come to new understandings and find mutually beneficial solutions.


Common Reasons for Relationship Problems During Pregnancy

1. Mood swings and hormones changes

During pregnancy, a woman’s hormone levels increase to prepare her body to support her baby. As a result, some changes can happen quickly, which often causes some stress, malaise, and emotional swings in the expectant mother.

An increase in estrogen (the happiness hormone) is responsible for emotional swings. In the first three months, it can exceed the norm by 100 times. When it interacts with serotonin, estrogen can cause emotional deregulation. Because of this, a woman becomes emotionally sensitive. She may experience a feeling of insecurity in a relationship or a lack of support from a partner.

The hormone progesterone also increases rapidly during the first trimester. Progesterone is responsible for “relaxing” the body to prevent premature contractions of the uterus. That is why pregnant women may experience a lack of energy.

2. Preoccupation with the pregnancy, sometimes to the point of obsession

Many women can not control their feelings during pregnancy. As a result, they may have obsessive behaviors and thoughts. And sometimes, they develop perinatal OCD (obsessive-compulsive disorder). In this case, expectant mothers must consult a doctor and follow the pregnancy tips.


Due to these hormones, pregnant women can become clingy or needy or even develop a fear of being abandoned.

When a woman’s body changes rapidly during pregnancy, she may feel less attractive. Thus, a feeling of being neglected appears. Sometimes, it makes women demand inexplicable and strange requests from their partners. And men at this moment should be patient and understanding of their lovers.

RELATED: Why I'm Divorcing My Pregnant Wife

3. Changes in sex drive

Physical intimacy is likely to change. Psychologists say physical contact can help partners develop an emotional bond, but it is worthwhile for pregnant women to consult a doctor first, as there are some situations in which pregnant women should avoid sex or specific positions.


Pregnant women may find it challenging to tune in to romance, especially during the first trimester. After all, they may feel sick, annoyed, or tired all day. Their constantly growing belly also makes itself felt. However, this does not mean this will last for all nine months.

Additionally, some men and women may feel awkward being physically intimate due to fear of hurting the baby or other deeply engrained (even if baseless) beliefs. Discussing sex-related concerns and feelings will help both spouses feel heard and understood while helping to protect against potential feelings of neglect or rejection.

4. Jealousy

Pregnant women may feel unhappy in their relationship due to new restrictions on what they can and cannot do for the sake of the baby. For example, expectant mothers should refuse alcohol and extreme sports they may have otherwise enjoyed regularly.

Therefore, it is unsurprising that sometimes pregnant women may feel a little jealous of their partners and their freedom to go about their lives as though nothing has changed. If this is annoying, couples may want to discuss setting “joint restrictions” and/or ways to create more freedom for each other.


RELATED: 5 Smart Discussions Fathers-To-Be Need To Have With Their Partners Before Baby

5. The non-pregnant partner may feel left out

Another common relationship issue during pregnancy is that one partner may feel excluded. The expectant mother is in constant contact with the baby, feeling their every movement and push while their partner only gets to observe and briefly interact with the “belly occupant.”

To keep a partner from feeling left out, the non-pregnant partner should be encouraged to talk directly with the little one in their partner's belly. They can also turn on their favorite music and sing to the baby. Doing this will bring them closer.

6. A lack of empathy or understanding

Usually, there is only one pregnant partner in a couple. The second one can only imagine what it is like to bear a child and give birth. Even if the partner is a model of sensitivity and care, a woman, under the influence of hormones, may think, “I am pregnant and feel like my husband doesn’t understand what I'm going through."


To help the non-pregnant partner understand what pregnancy is like, you can try some "fun" activities, including these:

Labor imitation: With the help of the transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation machine (TENS), men can experience the “delights” of labor.

Experience a bit of what it's like to have a pregnant belly — with a watermelon: A man can strap a watermelon to his stomach and carry it around during his daily activities. This may seem easy initially, but try bending over to tie your shoelaces!




After this kind of experimentation, partners are likely to become more attentive, understanding, and caring.

RELATED: How To Support Your Wife’s Body, Mind & Soul During Your First Pregnancy Together

Common Relationship Problems After Having a Baby

Problems can occur not only during pregnancy but also after the birth of a child. Your routine now depends on your child’s needs, which dictates new rules. As a result, parents are often faced with the following new relationship issues.


1. Lack of time for yourself and your partner

Caring for a baby takes a lot of time and effort, so a lonely trip to the supermarket can feel like a welcome journey. However, to get an equal share of free time, spouses should draw up a schedule for childcare, related activities, and spare time.

2. Different parenting styles

Relationship stress can arise from a contradictory approach to parenting. For example, one may be more disturbed by the baby’s every movement, while the other gives the toddler more freedom. Regarding feeding, sleeping, and parenting methods, spouses should compromise and consult a pediatrician.

3. More changes in sexual dynamics

After the birth of a child, the spouses have less time for lovemaking. To re-establish an intimate life, spouses should plan sex and ensure no children in the bedroom. Getting ready for lovemaking will help partners get in the right mood and relax.

4. Financial issues

With childbirth, additional expenses appear in the family budget. And if one of the spouses loses their job at this moment, the couple will most likely have to control their costs closely.


Childbirth is comparable to a miracle, a miracle that will turn your familiar world upside down. To make it easier for you and your partner to prepare for parenthood, you can take parenting classes in advance, read pregnancy books, and chat with expectant mothers. Also, do not forget to monitor your health and visit your family pediatrician regularly.

RELATED: The Truth About What Having Kids Will Do To Your Marriage

Natalie Maximets is a life transformation coach with expertise in existential psychology.