Many women face challenges during pregnancy, but one of the most difficult can be dealing with an unsupportive husband (or partner). If your husband is not providing the emotional (and sometimes even physical) support you need during this crucial time, it can be tough to cope. Here are some tips for how to deal with an unsupportive husband during pregnancy.
While I will use the word husband at times in this post, please do know that I mean husband or partner in this case. Both will need to be handled similarly. 🙂
Before we get started — Hi — I’m Hilary — The Pregnancy Nurse 👩⚕️. I have been a nurse since 1997 and I have 20 years of OB nursing experience, I am also the curly head behind Pulling Curls and The Online Prenatal Class for Couples. 🩺 I have been pregnant three times myself and helped millions of other moms handle their pregnancies online, so I’m a good resource for this (and I get this question a lot).
Don’t miss my post on being a supportive husband during pregnancy that has the tips for them!
How Can I Get My Husband To Be More Supportive During Pregnancy?
Let’s go through 5 ways to deal with an unsupportive partner during pregnancy (and hopefully make him your supportive partner instead):
Understand why your husband is the way he is:
First, try to understand why your husband is not being supportive. Is he feeling left out or overwhelmed by the impending arrival of the baby? Is he worried about finances or lack of sleep? Talk to him about his concerns and see if you can address them together. It’s important that he feels like a part of the process and that his concerns are being heard.
Communication is often the issue. Your partner may not even know what you need (and hence, can’t read your mind, sadly).
Take some time to really chat about what your needs are, how you are not feeling unsupported and see what his needs are as well.
Pro Tip: Remember to just state the facts — I am really tired at work, I could use some more help around the house while I am growing a baby — instead of, I feel like you don’t do anything to clean up the house and rely on me doing all of it. Just the facts m’am.
Oh, and remember that pregnancy and childbirth may be things your partner has really never considered during their life, so this may all be REALLY freaking them out! Which frankly, is fair. It’s a lot (and one that they have NO control over). That is totally normal
Another plug for communication before we move on. Great communication skills will serve you SO well as you move into the parenting phase of your life!
Check your bias
Do you have romance novel ideas of how your husband will care for you during this pregnancy? Perhaps you want them to come to every prenatal checkup but they drive him crazy and he doesn’t enjoy them.
Maybe you envision him as your own personal Uber eats who knows EXACTLY what you want to eat when you want it.
Now, I’m somewhat exaggerating, but the reality is that the relationship doesn’t exactly change during pregnancy. He may become more supportive, and it may all just be freaking them out.
And please don’t forget that your hormones are all over the place. So whe you think is insensitive now is how he’s always treated you and he has no idea he’s being an “unsupportive partner” now.
Either way, this isn’t a romance novel and a pregnant woman needs to be really mindful of fantasies of what it “should” be like. Talking with a group of friends who’ve been pregnant may remind you that these are just fantasies. 🙂
Your husband may not be able to be what you need:
In some cases, your husband maybe just can’t be what you need. It may be a fact that pregnancy really grosses him out and he does NOT want to talk about the nitty gritties. Or, he just really can’t bring himself to care as much about specific things related to the pregnancy as you are.
If your husband is simply not interested in anything related to the pregnancy, it might be helpful to find other outlets for support, such as joining a prenatal yoga class or talking to friends who are also pregnant. It’s important that you take care of yourself emotionally and physically during pregnancy, so don’t be afraid to seek out support from other sources if necessary.
Remember, they aren’t your SOLE support, they’re just a good pillar of support. Also, if this is the case, I’d seek out ways that they are helping being supportive in other ways. Taking out the trash, cleaning the litter box, etc.
This is temporary
Finally, try to stay positive and remember that this is only a temporary phase. Your husband may come around eventually and start being more supportive as the pregnancy progresses.
I know that when I feel particularly down I feel like I have no control over a situation and it’s never going to change. Except with this, you know it’s going to change. You’re not going to have swollen feet, or growing out of your clothes forever. This is entirely temporary.
In the meantime, do your best to take care of yourself and reach out to others for help when needed.
Get them involved!
This one feels easier said than done, I’ll agree. But getting your partner involved in the process is a big step.
Remember, you’re feeling that baby move and you KNOW something is happening. They may have felt a few soft flutters outside your belly, but in reality they have a LOT of changes that feel VERY overwhelming for them. So be mindful that they really aren’t involved in it yet.
So, take a prenatal class that is created for couples so you can get prepared for your upcoming birth.
The Online Prenatal Class for Couples was created for busy couples to get prepared together in just a few hours. In fact, a LOT of partners buy it, and a LOT of the reviews say it was “fun” and I can guarantee this isn’t true for most prenatal classes. 🙂
Don’t miss my post on dealing with a selfish partner during pregnancy for more tips!
Unsupportive Partner During Pregnancy FAQ’s
Is it normal to fight with your partner during pregnancy?
Pregnancy can be a stressful time, and couples may find themselves disagreeing more often. However, it is important to communicate openly with your partner and try to resolve conflicts in a constructive way. If you are struggling to get along, consider seeking counseling or therapy.
Considering ending your relationship while pregnant?
First off, let me just say I have been here. And I’m still married. I just felt SO much weight directly on me during pregnancy, and he had zero clues that it was SO hard on me and really didn’t seem to be making efforts to make things easier.
That being said, It’s a big decision to make, and one that shouldn’t be taken lightly. If you’re considering it, it’s likely because you’re feeling overwhelmed and stressed out, and you’re worried about how your spouse or partner will react.
Remember that your hormones are all over the place right now, so try to be patient and kind to yourself. Talk to your friends or family members who have been through it before, and get their advice. I often felt good knowing that other people felt like they had an insensitive husband during pregnancy as well (especially when I think their marriage looks great from the outside). In the end, it’s up to you what you want to do, but keep in mind that your baby needs a dad too.
Whatever you’re doing, try not to make choices in the middle of mood swings. That won’t serve your future well (many people say to not even change your hairstyle drastically during pregnancy).
If at all possible (and if you are safe in your home environment) I would recommend seeking counseling before making ANY choices. It can be so beneficial for both of you.
To sum it up, remember that MANY people feel like their partner isn’t being as supportive as they’d like during pregnancy, and the best way to change that is through thoughtful communication and getting them involved.
Send them The Online Prenatal Class for Couples, maybe it’s just the thing he needs to feel like he’s part of this too. I created that class to help partners feel more part of the TEAM rather than just a cheerleader.
And, if you’re not quite sure you’re ready for that whole thing, check out my free prenatal class. It’s your first step toward getting in the driver’s seat of your birth.
- About the Author
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A nurse since 1997, she has worked in various fields including pediatrics, geriatrics & hospice. She has 20 years of labor and delivery experience in the San Jose, CA and Phoenix, AZ areas.
As an evidence-based prenatal educator Hilary has delivered thousands of babies and has educated hundreds of thousands of parents from a diverse patient population to help them have a confident birth.