Nurturing Your Relationship During Pregnancy

What’s the single most significant relationship you’ll have in your new life as a parent? Surprise: It’s not the one you’ll share with that beautiful baby you’ll be bringing home some 30 weeks from now. It’s the one you share — and will continue to share — with your spouse (a fact baby-crazed pregnancy couples are quick to forget). But after all, fetuses grow up into babies, who grow up into children, who grow up and move away from home (and it happens a lot faster than you can even imagine!), but a spouse is yours (with a little luck, a lot of hard work) into old age. So it’s extra important (and extra challenging) to keep the love alive and maintain a strong relationship during pregnancy.

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That said, there are sure to be some changes in the dynamics of your twosome once baby makes three (or even threatens to make three). These changes and

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potential strains on a couple’s relationship during a pregnancy are inevitable (little babies tend to make a big impact on their parents’ lives). But if you play your cards right (and play them right from the start, which it sounds like you’re committed to doing), they can actually be changes for the better.

The first thing you guys will need to do is to start thinking of yourselves as a couple again — instead of just a couple of parents (or a couple of parents-to-be). Providing your baby-to-be with plenty of attention before and after labor is great, as long as you remember to not put your relationship on the back-burner. Wondering just how to nurture your relationship? You probably have some pretty good romantic tricks you can pull out of storage; here are a few other ideas to get you started:

1. Schedule In Romance:

Now’s a good time to start a weekly date night — something you’d be smart to continue after baby’s on board (though in the first few months, you may be taking those dates at home.…).

2. Be Spontaneous:

Sometimes

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(make that, as often as you can), for absolutely no reason at all, surprise your partner with a come-from-behind squeeze, a weekend afternoon delight, a compliment that makes him blush (or better). Feel free to get frisky (and adventurous!). Just make sure you keep pregnancy sex safe for your baby and pleasurable for both of you. Look up sex positions to try during pregnancy.

3. Mix Baby-Business With Relationship Pleasure:

Cap a trip to the baby store with dinner and a movie (and don’t forget to hold hands in the dark) or follow that ultrasound appointment with lunch at your favorite al fresco spot.

4. Chat Him Up:

Keep your relationship (and romance) first and foremost during pregnancy. Don’t just e-mail him 20 times a day to ask him if he’s remembered to pick up the dry cleaning or those paint samples for the nursery, e-mail him sometimes just to tell him you love him — and that you can’t wait to see him.

5. Talk:

Communication is always important in a relationship, but it’s especially essential for couples during pregnancy (thanks to their quickly-changing dynamic).

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Be sure to talk through changes instead of just letting them happen. And keep those lines of communication open even once baby is on the scene, when talking- at least, hearing each other over the sound of the baby crying- will be especially challenging but more important than ever).

6. Get Away While You Still Can:

Plan a romantic getaway (or two) before baby makes a trip for two a lot trickier (if you plan to fly during your pregnancy just get the okay from your doctor before you hit the open skies). Pick a place with comfortable beds and room service.