Mental Health / Pregnancy

What If You Have An Unsupportive Partner During Pregnancy?

You’re pregnant, and you’re preparing for your entire life to change. Whether you just discovered the news, or you’re several months along, you know these upcoming months will represent a whirlwind of intense emotion

Chances are, you already feel like there’s so much to do. Maybe you’re writing down baby names or pinning nursery inspiration on a secret Pinterest board. Perhaps you’re researching daycare options and planning how to navigate maternity leave.

But what happens if you’re also struggling with an unsupportive partner during pregnancy? What if you feel alone or disrespected during this time? Is there hope? What steps should you take moving forward? 

Understanding Your Partner’s Mental Health

If you and your partner have always had a solid foundation, a sudden lack of support often has to do with the massive changes pregnancy has on a couple. Think about it. You’re growing life, and the two of you are planning for an uncertain future. 

These fears can increase symptoms of depression or anxiety in both parties. But while many people will focus on your mental health during this time, your partner will likely receive very little attention.

This is where open and honest communication is crucial. Talk to your partner about their concerns. Do they feel a sense of angst or uncertainty about becoming a parent?  What fears are they having? Are they worried about the baby taking all your attention?  Are they worried about finances or losing their sense of independence or all those sleep-deprived nights- or all of the above? 

Remember that your partner’s mental health matters, too. If they have a past history of mental health issues, these struggles may be heightened during this time. Ask about them, and ask how you can provide support. 

Moreover, as you transition through hormonal changes, these fluctuations can be difficult for the relationship. Having compassion and fluid communication is critical for you both feeling connected to one another.

Asserting What You Need

Both your body and mind change rapidly during pregnancy. One moment, you may feel a surge of energy, and the next, you’re asleep on the sofa in the middle of the afternoon. One moment, you’re craving french fries, but once you have them, they revolt you.

Of course, you want your pregnancy to go smoothly. Being open to your partner about your needs helps make that happen. Moreover, express why those needs are significant to you. For example, if you need them to accompany you to all your doctor’s appointments, let them know it’s because the visits make you feel anxious. If you need them to help with the dishes, let them know it’s because your feet hurt.

You are allowed to have reasonable needs right now. Moreover, you are allowed to express them. If your partner cannot respect these needs, it could indicate deeper issues within the relationship.

That said, needs are a two-way street. Your partner also has needs. Pregnancy doesn’t give you full permission to stop tending to your relationship. Be loving and giving to your partner. Don’t fall into the dangerous trap of keeping tabs to track who’s done what.

Seeking Relationship Therapy

Having a child is one of the most profound experiences a couple can share. That said, most parents will tell you that it’s also incredibly challenging.

Relationship therapy can help you and your partner strengthen your connection before your baby is born. This can be tremendously helpful to both of you- and your future child. A united parental unit increases the child’s ability to attach to both caretakers securely. This attachment can foster a lifetime of healthy self-esteem and positive relationships.

Unfortunately, many parents wait to seek therapy once the dynamics have completely escalated. At this point, the relationship often already feels shattered. Instead, consider using this time to work on the relationship. Relationship therapy can help with:

  • Fostering healthier communication patterns 
  • Teaching and implementing appropriate boundaries
  • Strengthening trust 
  • Improving intimacy and closeness
  • Education about parenting
  • Identifying positive coping skills to manage stress

Sometimes, partners are unwilling to attend therapy. If that is the case, don’t let it deter you from seeking individual professional support. It is always valuable to have a safe and nonjudgmental environment to express your feelings. 

Reexamining the Relationship Altogether 

Some women recognize that they no longer want to be in their relationship once they become pregnant. Many variables can affect this decision. For example, there may be serious crisis issues, like domestic violence or substance abuse, present in the relationship. 

However, you don’t need to have a crisis issue to reexamine the relationship. Maybe the two of you were already having problems, and now you’re more aware of them. Raising a child is undoubtedly difficult. If you feel like your partner is unsupportive right now, it can tell as to how they’ll behave once having the baby.

It’s okay to take time and consider your options. While you don’t need to make a decision immediately, it’s important to consider the logistics, especially when it comes to custody over your child. You may want to consult with an attorney to learn your rights.

Final Thoughts On Coping With An Unsupportive Partner During Pregnancy 

Having an unsupportive partner during pregnancy can feel confusing and frustrating. Communication is key, and remember that it’s healthy to reach out for professional support!

We are here to guide and nurture you throughout this time. We want to hear from you! Contact us today with your questions or comments.


This article is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website.

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Nicole Arzt, MFT About Author

Nicole Arzt is a licensed marriage & family therapist with nearly a decade of experience treating issues related to anxiety and mood disorders, parenting and family dynamics, complex trauma, and substance use disorders. A professional content writer, she has authored hundreds of scholarly articles for mental health professionals, treatment facilities, and nonprofit organizations. Check out her website at