Ways to support your pregnant partner
Pregnancy can be both exciting and stressful for expectant couples, and especially for the mum. You, too, may feel a wide range of emotions and find it hard to manage them. This is a time where you need to listen to each other. Here we will run through some effective tips that will not only ease her anxieties but also enhance your bond as a couple.
It's no secret that pregnancy can be a stressful time for both the mother and her partner. After all, there's a lot of planning and preparing to do for the arrival of your new baby. You may also start to experience big changes in your relationship as your partners goes through many physiological changes and her focus shifts as she prepares for birth and motherhood. MRI scans show the mother’s brain cells even change during this time.
Having a baby can put a tremendous amount of strain on a relationship. So, if you're feeling it, know that you're far from alone. That is why it's so important to try to connect and de-stress as much as possible during this time. Here are some ways you can help your pregnant partner relax and de-stress.
Share, bond, connect
There are many ways to support your partner and also bond with your baby during pregnancy.
- Bonding with baby - One way to help calm your partner is by showing her that you are also bonding with your baby. This can help mums feel less alone and share the experience of pregnancy. Touching the bump and letting her know you see and appreciate all the changes her body is going through really does go a long way. That said, not all mums like this, so do check with her first or listen if she's not up for being touched/talking about the baby. Simply asking if the baby is moving or how she is feeling may be a better option for mums who need a bit of space.
- Open up about your worries too – Partners and fathers can often feel worried about their partner and the baby, making it difficult for them to bond. If you have any worries you can speak to your midwife about these too. It's important these are addressed so you feel calmer and are therefore better able to support her.
- Connect with nature – Studies have shown that spending time in nature can help reduce stress levels. So why not plan a picnic lunch or an afternoon stroll together? Not only will this give you quality time together, but it'll also help both of you feel calmer.
- Talk through the birth plan – This is key to supporting your partner but also helping you feel at ease. The more you understand birth and your options, the less scary it becomes.
5 top tips
Here are some ways you can support your partner through pregnancy.
- Make sure she gets plenty of rest. This is easier said than done, especially in the later stages of pregnancy when it's difficult to get comfortable at night or if you have other children. But try to encourage your partner to take naps when she can, and go to bed early if possible.
- Help out around the house. Take on more of the household chores so that your partner doesn't have to worry about them. Anything that will lighten her load. The little things add up!
- Plan fun things or dates together. Whether it's going for walks, watching movies, or enjoying a nice dinner out, spending quality time together can help reduce stress levels for both of you. This may be more difficult if you already have children, but even getting in one date night can re-set things and help you to re-connect. Never under estimate the power of time to focus on each other!
- Does your partner enjoy a massage? If so, a relaxing massage before bed can help if they’re having trouble sleeping. Touch is a powerful way of staying connected, but do be aware that your partner may feel differently about being touched at different stages of her pregnancy. If her confidence is low as a result of changes during pregnancy, showing her you love her through touch can give her a boost. Verbal reassurance can also be helpful. Again, it’s important to listen to her – and watch for non-verbal cues. If you’re not sure what she needs, ask her.
- Be there for moral support. Sometimes all your partner needs is someone to listen to her worries and concerns without judgement. She may feel hormonal and/or tearful. Rather than try to fix things, it can be helpful to listen and provide her with a safe space to release the emotion.
Taking time to help your pregnant partner relax and de-stress is incredibly beneficial for both of you. Remember that your needs matter, too, and you can chat to your midwife or doctor about any questions you have, so you feel comfortable and confident. That way you can better support your partner during pregnancy and birth.
There are many simple yet effective ways to help ease her anxieties and create an environment of relaxation during the stressful pregnancy period. A bit of extra time, attention, nurturing gestures, patience, understanding and communication will go a long way towards helping her feel supported and making sure that she is cared for while she prepares for motherhood and lay healthy and positive foundations for your relationship as new parents.