The last time together is a very special one that you can consciously use for yourselves to focus on the two of you. Use the time to simply drift and do what feels good for you - whether it's going for a walk, talking, cooking, going on a babymoon or even in bed.
With our tips, we give you inspirations for this time and afterwards to strengthen your relationship for this exciting life change.
1. Talk a lot with each other as a couple
Talking a lot with each other is not the first thing that comes to mind when becoming a parent. You would like to give this little person as much attention as possible, and that is completely fine. However, it often happens that attention for your partner and joint communication takes a backseat.
Therefore, the most important tip I have for expectant parents is to talk a lot with each other - even before the child is born. You will need good communication culture since communication can quickly break down under stress.
2. Speak properly with your partner
Not only the frequency but also the way of communication is crucial. Not for nothing is it said that the tone makes the music. We often forget this, especially when we are already in a heated discussion. Therefore, you should practice good conversation management daily in "quiet times" and especially before birth.
Try to speak from the perspective of "I" instead of accusatory "you" statements. This way, you describe your feelings rather than something that the partner has done wrong. For example, instead of saying, "You're always scolding me! You can't acknowledge anything!" say an "I-message": "I feel like I'm just a burden to you." Allow vulnerability and respond with closeness to the vulnerability of the other person. Try to listen rather than react immediately.
3. Create a conversation atmosphere where all feelings are allowed
One of the most important elements of successful communication is the ability to clearly and openly express what we feel. However, the partner can only dare to do so if they feel that it is "allowed" and possible without being immediately attacked. As humans, we are naturally programmed to already think about our opinion and reaction while the other person is speaking, without first listening openly and neutrally. This not only gives the other person a feeling of not being accepted or heard, but also prevents us from really understanding the partner - from their frame of reference and their inner world, which may look very different from our own. It's a two-way street, and only if we recognize the feelings and reactions on both sides can we understand and react calmly and productively.
Try to create a loving, accepting conversation atmosphere. This means not reacting directly with solutions or defenses, but first really listening, giving space, and trying to understand the other person - from their frame of reference and their inner world, which may look very different from our own. It's a two-way street, and only if we recognize the feelings and reactions on both sides can we understand and react calmly and productively.
4. Recognizing and Courageously Sharing Fears During Pregnancy
It's completely normal for pregnancy to trigger many uncertainties and fears, such as fears about the enormous life changes that come with having a child, physical changes, childbirth, losing one's autonomy, and so on. Sometimes, personal issues from one's family of origin may also arise, such as when one's own parents have modeled behaviors that they don't want to adopt.
What I often see in my practice is that expectant parents often hold back their fears and feel ashamed about them, for example, because they should be "happy". Social pressure is sometimes felt very strongly. This is unfortunate because it prevents them from growing together by addressing their fears, and in the worst case, can lead to a breakdown in communication and loss of contact between partners.
To avoid this, it's important to recognize situations that cause fear and to verbalize them. It's very likely that one's partner has similar fears, and by sharing your concerns, you can identify your commonalities and take a step closer to finding a solution together. Use your fears as an opportunity to exchange your feelings and support each other. Together, you are stronger!
5. Planning the relationship after childbirth
When the baby arrives, your whole life and relationship will be turned upside down. Many questions that you didn't think about before, because they were either obvious or irrelevant, can now lead to conflicts. It's not for nothing that many studies show a decrease in relationship satisfaction after childbirth over time. According to a study by the Landesbausparkasse, couples most commonly divorce 3-4 years after the birth of their first child. Yes, having a child is a huge life change, but it is also a new, exciting, and beautiful adventure for the two of you.
That's why it's even more important to be well prepared for the change and to openly discuss the topics that will become relevant before you find yourselves in conflict. As unromantic as it may sound, plan your relationship after childbirth. Take the time and consciously talk about these conflict topics, even if you would rather focus only on the beautiful, positive aspects of family life. A little pragmatism before childbirth will save you a lot of trouble after childbirth.
Possible important topics for your conversations could be:
- What values do we want to instill in our child? What is important to us in raising them?
- How can we come back to each other if we have lost contact?
- What should the division of labor look like after the birth? How can we create a sense of equal distribution?
6. Being there for each other
It is often not easy to reveal one's deepest feelings to the other person. It may not always be clear whether they will respond with understanding or disagreement. Especially during and after pregnancy, so much new is happening that sometimes one can be overwhelmed by various feelings. In this process, one may forget about their partner - especially shortly after the birth.
That's why it's even more important to resonate with your partner and feel their emotions. Develop a sense of how your partner is feeling and ask too many times: "Sweetheart, how are you doing right now? What can I do for you?" Especially as expectant parents who will soon have to be a good team and experience boundary experiences together, such moments of being there for each other can be a very valuable experience. They can help you build more understanding for each other and become a power team.
7. Don't let yourself go crazy during pregnancy
Couples often reach a point during times of such significant change where it feels good to seek help and advice from outside sources. This is right and important. Points of contact here can be, for example, the midwife, a counseling center, or a psychotherapist. There are also great podcasts (such as The Peaceful Birth, Best Father's Joys) and sometimes a birth preparation course can also help reduce fears.
However, despite all the help and good advice, don't let yourself go crazy! Everyone will have an opinion based on their different experiences and you will receive many tips and well-intentioned ideas. Ultimately, you know best what is best for you as a couple and your child. Listen to your intuition and don't stress yourself out with unrealistic expectations of wanting to make everything perfect.
8. Keeping the butterflies alive
The effects of pregnancy on your sex life can vary greatly: On the one hand, the pelvic region of the woman is more heavily supplied with blood, which can lead to increased sensitivity and more desire, while on the other hand, there are of course always complaints during the different phases of pregnancy that can lead to a decrease in libido.
Especially in the first trimester, many women suffer from nausea, mood swings, and lack of energy, and the desire for sex is rather low.
In the second trimester, the hormone balance stabilizes more, the worst morning sickness is usually overcome, and the woman has more energy again - this of course also has a positive effect on libido.
At some point - around week 28 - it becomes more difficult just because of the belly, and you have to look a bit at the positions if you still want to have sex.
My advice to you would be to consciously work on not losing each other as a couple and keeping the butterflies alive. Try new things if necessary, such as tender sex in the spooning position. That still works well for most couples. And this tenderness can be very beautiful in a whole new way.
9. Talk about sexual fantasies and preferences
It's important that you talk about your fantasies and preferences regarding your sex life during this exciting time, as misunderstandings can easily arise. For example, men are often hesitant to have sex with their pregnant partner because they're afraid it could somehow harm the child. However, the child is wonderfully protected and cushioned in the womb.
Women may be inhibited because they don't feel beautiful or attractive with their changed body and the extra pounds. Others, on the other hand, proudly carry their belly and feel especially beautiful and sexy during this phase.
As a woman, you can communicate how you feel about your changing body and what kind of support you wish for from your partner.
As a man, you can encourage your partner and tell her how beautiful you find her.
10. Experiment with what feels good
Overall, I encourage you to experiment with what feels good in every phase of pregnancy. Be open to the possibility of experiencing new things and expanding your sexual repertoire together.
If you have any concerns, feel free to talk to your obstetrician/gynecologist about the topic - there are some cases where caution is indeed necessary - for example, in cases of premature labor.