How to connect more deeply with your partner during pregnancy

Congratulations, you beautiful baby-maker! You have a bun in the oven, and as the date to birth your fully cooked little cutie approaches, it might seem like all the focus should be on you, and how the hell you’re going to actually get this kid out. This is mostly true, but there is someone else eagerly anticipating the arrival of your little one who deserves a look in during all this. Learning how to nurture your relationship is pretty damn vital as pregnancy brings a host of new demands (don’t you know it) that can place a strain on both you and your partner. So, to help a mama-to-be out, here are nine ways to help you understand how to build a connection with your partner throughout pregnancy.

Involve them in your care

Teaming up and deciding on your pregnancy care together can be super helpful in promoting an emotional connection with your partner, right from the start. Choosing a care provider you equally gel with means you’re both more likely to feel comfortable and supported.

Invite your partner to appointments (if restrictions allow, but FaceTime is a great backup) and go to all your antenatal classes together. If your partner is a dude, there are birth classes just for Dad that have the potential to link him up with some new dad-buds and help him feel empowered and informed. For LGBTQ+ birth resources and some course options, check out LGBT birth, Queer Birth Project and Raising Children’s Network.

Bond over your baby

There are a bunch of epic ways to connect with your partner and the bean in your belly simultaneously, and inviting them to feel your babe’s kicks and wiggles is one of the most special. Warning: some level of patience is required, depending on how coy your little one chooses to be.

Coming up with names is another fun exercise, although it has the potential to become contentious. Our non-negotiable rule is if one person doesn’t like a name, it is immediately vetoed. This one has saved more than a few arguments.

Ask for their input 

It’s easy for the birthing parent to naturally commandeer decision-making, since you’ll be busy getting the actual job done, but taking a collaborative approach to your pre-baby checklist is a great way to strengthen your emotional connection with your partner, and make sure you’re on the same page. 

If you’re a control freak (like so many of us), palming off ‘non-essentials’ (ie. choices you can swallow if they don’t go your way) means a lower mental load for you (win!), while allowing your partner to step into parent mode without you hovering nervously over their shoulder.

Send them a list of newborn essentials, and encourage them to go wild picking out all the teeny tiny things. Just don’t be mad at me when your two week old is rocking a heinous football onesie… ‘tis the price we must pay for love.

Lean into their interests

Nurturing relationships during pregnancy by embracing your partner’s unique interests shows them you still dig who they are and know your belly buddy will too. 

Example: if yours is an avid guitar player; something special for him might be mounting his first guitar on a wall in your little one’s room. Giving treasured hobbies pride of place can deepen your emotional connection with your partner by making them feel valued, whilst also encouraging them to start dreaming of a fun future when there are three of you.

Spend quality downtime together 

We all know pregnancy can come with a side of the voms, and the accompanying fatigue is f*cking BRUTAL. Figuring out how to improve your emotional connection with your partner can be trickier when you are suddenly too queasy to function. Replace energetic hobbies with downtime together, like watching a new TV show or undertaking a cute DIY project (Important: they work, you watch), and you’ll find yourself connecting with your partner in new, cosier ways in no time. Full permission to sit on different couches if you can’t stand the smell of their deodorant that week!

Maintain open dialogue around intimacy 

Whilst normally considered perfectly safe, sex and intimacy during pregnancy can look a little different. You may have gone from frequent frolicking to weeks marked with nausea, sore boobs (touching them = swift backhand incoming), and hormones that make you feel irritated and vulnerable. Although it’s not the case for all couples, sex during pregnancy often takes a back seat. 

Luckily, intimacy encompasses much more than sex and there are plenty of other ways you can maintain your emotional connection with your partner such as cuddles, deep conversation and quality time. 

It is more than OK to slow things down, but keep your partner in the loop by maintaining open communication, acknowledging that changes in your sex life can be difficult for both of you and managing expectations by checking in regularly.

Acknowledge their needs

When your bod’ is being overtaken by a parasite (harsh, but not untrue), your partner’s needs can easily fade into the background. In the midst of heartburn and regular kicks to the bladder, it’s normal not to give a sh*t that your partner needs a hug, right? Totally! But it’s still important to stop and remember that your partner is a person too. Remember to provide them with support too, as you learn how to connect with your partner on a deeper level throughout this new phase of life. 

One for those coupled up with a dad-to-be: 5 ways to help your partner be a great dad so you can keep their support needs in mind from day dot.

Express appreciation for them

Here’s your reminder to thank your partner for any extra effort they’re putting in. Whether it be a nightly foot-rub or extra chores when your belly gets in the way of stacking the dishwasher, expressing appreciation is fab for nurturing your relationship whilst conveniently providing you with a sure-fire way to keep those massages coming. Cheeky tactics aside, letting them know that you notice and appreciate their efforts can help mitigate the effect of times when baby brain inevitably pulls you away from the usual amount of attention you provide them.

Don’t forget to have fun!

Activities to connect with your partner during pregnancy don’t have to be all about Baby, and sometimes a break from the responsibility of impending parenthood can be just what you need. Have a date night together (mocktails optional but highly encouraged), plan a babymoon and enjoy some activities that might not be possible during the earlier months of parenthood (your belly serves as a free babysitter for a limited time only!).Pregnancy is a time full of immense change, both wildly exciting and, at times, super difficult. Proactively focusing on how to connect more deeply with your partner can strengthen your relationship heading into parenthood and make your pregnancy an incredible, special time for you both.

Read next: 12 ideas for an at home date night

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