Feelings and emotions when you're pregnant
Pregnancy will bring about big changes to your relationship, especially if this is your first baby. Some people cope with these changes easily, while others find it harder. Everybody is different.
It's quite common for couples to have arguments every now and then during pregnancy, however much they're looking forward to having the baby. Some of these may be nothing to do with the pregnancy, but others may be caused by one of you feeling worried about the future and how you're going to cope. It's important to realise that during pregnancy there are understandable reasons for the odd difficulty between you, and good reasons for feeling closer and more loving.
Support in labour
One practical question you will need to discuss is how you will cope with labour and whether your partner will be there. Many fathers want to be present at their baby's birth. It can help to find out about your birth options, including where you can give birth. You can also read the page what your birth partner can do, which gives some suggestions for ways partners can help and what it can mean for them to share this experience.
If your relationship is problematic, abusive or violent, get help. There are organisations that can help, such as Women's Aid, which works to keep women and children safe, or couple's therapy charity Relate.
Find out more about getting help for domestic abuse.
It may be that you don't have a partner during this pregnancy, and you need extra support from family or friends. You may wish to talk to your midwife about some of the services that are available.
Find out more about coping if you are alone.
Family and friends
Pregnancy is a special time for you and your partner, and there may be a lot of other people around you who are interested in your baby, such as your parents, sisters, brothers and friends.
People can offer a great deal of help in all sorts of ways, and you'll probably be glad of their interest and support. But sometimes it can feel as if they're taking over. If this is how you feel, it can help everyone if you explain gently that there are some decisions that only you and your partner can make, and some things that you prefer to do on your own.
You may also find that being pregnant puts you on the receiving end of a lot of advice and perhaps a bit of criticism, too. Sometimes the advice is helpful, sometimes not. Sometimes the criticism can really hurt. The important thing is to decide what is right for you. After all, it is your pregnancy and your baby.
Find out more about your relationships after the birth.
Coping if you're alone
If you're pregnant and on your own, it's important to have people you can share your feelings with who can offer you support. Sorting out problems, whether personal or medical, is often difficult when you're by yourself. It's better to find someone to talk to rather than let things get you down.
Meet other single parents
It can be encouraging to meet other mums who also went through pregnancy on their own. Gingerbread is a self-help organisation for one-parent families. It has a network of local groups and can give you information and advice. Gingerbread can put you in touch with other mums in a similar situation to you.
You can call the Gingerbread helpline free on 0808 802 0925 (Mondays 10am-6pm, Tuesdays/Thursdays/Fridays 10am-4pm, Wednesday 10am-1pm and 5-8pm).
Ask someone you trust to support you at the birth
Just because you don't have a partner doesn't mean you have to go to antenatal visits by yourself and cope with labour on your own. You have the right to take whoever you like: a friend, sister, or perhaps your mum.
Involve your birth partner in antenatal classes if you can, and let him or her know what you want from them. It may help to discuss your birth plan with them so that they understand your wishes for labour.
You can also ask your midwife if there are antenatal classes in your area that are run especially for single women.
Think about how you'll manage after the birth. Will there be people around to help and support you? If there's nobody who can give you support, it might help to discuss your situation with a social worker. Your midwife can refer you, or you can contact your local council.
Money and housing matters
If money is an immediate concern, find out more about the benefits you're entitled to claim. Your local Jobcentre Plus or Citizens Advice Bureau (CAB) can advise you.
If you have a housing problem, contact your local CAB or your local housing advice centre. You can get the address from your local authority at the town hall.
Gingerbread can also supply information on a range of topics, from benefits to home maintenance. There may be a local support group in your area (ask your midwife or health visitor).
You can find information and support on the Netmums forum for single parents.