Pregnancy doesn't last forever, but the potentially negative ways it can impact your relationship certainly can. And when you're exhausted, uncomfortable, and in your third trimester, common arguments can really put a strain on your relationship. There isn't a couple in the world that's perfect, so growing tension, miscommunication, and arguments are bound to happen, but it's best to avoid the most common third trimester fights if you can. That way, you can spend your time, emotional labor, and energy focused on taking care of yourself before you bring your baby into the world.
Rhona Berens, PhD, CPCC, a life coach who counsels new and expectant parents through ParentAlliance, tells The Bump that "the most important factor in setting up a happy relationship after baby’s born is the quality of your relationship while you’re still expecting." And since 70 percent of couples experience that euphoric drop after having children, according to as study published in the US National Library of Medicine and National Institutes of Health, it's important to pinpoint any potential relationship issues before they snowball. If you know how to preserve the quality of your relationship now, you and your partner will be able to stand on a strong foundation once you become parents.
Of course, every couple is unique, and so are their arguments. In the end, you and your significant other will have to do the work to make sure your relationship remains a priority after you become parents. But being prepared to face some of the most common third trimester fights will definitely help the two of you navigate a potentially difficult time, and keep your relationship healthy, happy, and thriving.
The "You Need To Be More Involved" Fight
When you're in your third trimester, you'll inevitably reach a point where you feel like your pregnancy will never end. And if you're the one carrying the baby, you're bound to feel like you're doing all the work. In those frustrated moments, it's easy to point a finger at your partner and accuse them of slacking off.
Tina B. Tessina, PhD, psychotherapist and author of Money, Sex and Kids: Stop Fighting About the Three Things That Can Ruin Your Marriage tells The Bump that you have to be able to tell your partner exactly what you need or expect, because no one is a mind reader. And even though you're the one housing another human being inside your body, your partner needs to know that you're there for them, too. After all, a romantic relationship is a partnership largely based on trust. So the best way to squash this argument is for each of you to communicate your needs, voice your concerns and your expectations, and acknowledge that you're both going through this thing together.
The "Our Parenting Styles Clash" Fight
If you both have different ideas of how to raise your baby, you should start discussing potential parenting techniques long before you reach your third trimester. But if you're still incapable of being on the same page, and there are still some lingering concerns, it's time to find a compromise.
Of course, there are some parenting decisions that the pregnant person has the final say on. How a woman wants to give birth, for example, is entirely up to her. The same goes for her decisions to breastfeed, as she is the only person who gets to decide what she does with her body. But when it comes to other parenting ideas, like co-sleeping versus sleep training, parents have to find a common middle ground. Parenting is full of compromises.
The "It's Not Always The Hormones" Fight
Hormones play a big role in how a woman handles her pregnancy, but one of the most common fights couples face begin with a non-pregnant partner blaming hormones for damn near everything. It's unfair to diminish a pregnant woman's opinions, emotions, thoughts, and ideas, just because she's experiencing an influx of hormones.
To avoid this kind of argument, Berens tells The Bump that pregnant women should "name your moods or have a silly gesture you make to show that you would stop yourself from reacting a certain way if you could.” It's important to separate a genuine feeling from a hormonal reaction, so your partner can avoid the pitfall of assuming every thought and feeling is the latter.
The "Sex (Or Lack Thereof)" Fight
The amount of sex a couple is or isn't having is always a hot-button issue, especially when that couple is navigating a pregnancy. Tammy Nelson, author of The New Monogamy: Redefining Your Relationship After Infidelity tells HuffPost that it's important to have "open, non-judgmental dialogue" about sex. The point is to better understand "each person’s perspective and how to compromise, and not who’s wrong."
So whether it's about one of you wanting sex more, or someone hoping their partner will just cool their jets, remember to be patient with one another. While sex is important and healthy part of any partnership, you're about to have a baby. Your body is changing. Your emotionally spent. You deserve time to, and by, yourself.
The "I'm Lonely" Fight
When you're pregnant it's easy to feel isolated. Yes, people seem to be happy for you and, if you have overbearing friends and family members they're probably checking up on you, but your personal space and bodily autonomy is practically non-existent. So, even if you're surrounded by people, you end up feeling alone.
If you're feeling lonely, talk to your partner. If you're feeling touched out, and you need personal space, talk to your partner. And if you feel like no one understands what you're going through, and you feel isolated as a result, talk to your partner. Communication is key, and your partner should be able to show you some empathy. They don't have to know what you're going through in order to be there for you.
The "Money" Fight
The good news? A lot, and I mean a lot, of couples argue about their finances. According to a poll reported by Money Magazine, "70 percent of couples argued about money more than household chores, togetherness, sex, snoring and what’s for dinner." So you're not atypical if the money fight comes up.
To avoid these arguments, however, financial advisor Gabrielle Clemens says it's important to know how your partner feels about money. "How your spouse relates to money emotionally should help you understand their perspective when fights arise." While it's better to have these discussions way before you're in your third trimester, better late than never. Otherwise, fighting over money will only compound the stress of parenthood.
The "In-Laws" Fight
If you're married (and even if you're not), it's important you and your partner establish some healthy boundaries between the two of you, and, well, everyone else. As romantic partners, and as soon-to-be parents, you'll want to make sure that, in the end, the two of you are on the same team. Make sure your partner knows they're a priority, and that you're going to defer to them and not another family member.
In other words, if you don't want your mother-in-law in the delivery room, your partner needs to say something. If you don't want your mother-in-law making comments about breastfeeding, your partner needs to step up and establish healthy boundaries. And if your partner doesn't want your parents to visit the day you bring your baby home from the hospital, well, you need to step up to the proverbial plate, too.
The "I Need Attention" Fight
When you're near the end of a pregnancy, it's easy to feel as though everyone's attention has shifted to the soon-to-be baby's arrival. So make it a priority to spend time with your partner. Pretty soon, that baby will arrive and everyone's attention, including your own, will shift. So, for now, enjoy your partner's company. It's that simple.
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