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Pregnancy's Ups and Downs

Pregnancy can have problems and trouble-free periods -- and either situation is normal.

Evaluating Yourself, Relationships

During her pregnancy, Angela Soos fell deeper in love with her husband, Michael, and they both seemed closer than ever. "I was so happy he had given me a baby," says the 30-year-old Holmdel, N.J. resident. "This was something I had always wanted."

Soos appears to be one of the lucky ones. Some expectant mothers report unwanted changes in relationships with their partners. Their significant others may seem unsympathetic, or distant. Or the men may choose to forgo sex with their wives during pregnancy for a host of reasons, including being afraid to hurt the baby.

"Dads go through emotional changes as well," says Diane Sanford, PhD, president of the Women's Healthcare Partnership in St. Louis, Mo. She says it is crucial to continue to address issues with one's partner to come up with solutions that are agreeable to both parties. "For example," she explains, "If he's afraid of having sex during pregnancy, the two of you might want to take daily walks together to stay close."

Sanford also says it helps to think ahead. If you evaluate who you are and who your partner is, you could possibly predict future challenges. "Things don't come out of the blue," she says.

Good couldn't agree more. He says people and their relationships generally remain the same during, as before, pregnancy. Women who tend to be critical of their bodies, for example, may lament over how fat they're getting, while those who are comfortable with themselves, may love the way their swollen belly looks.

By the same token, the dynamic between couples during pregnancy usually reflects their relationship beforehand. Good says partners may think things have changed, but really, people's true nature comes out in times of crisis. In this case, the crisis is pregnancy.

SOURCES: Arlene Robles. Bobbie No. Diane Ross Glazer, PhD, psychotherapist, Encino-Tarzana Regional Medical Center. Raphael Good, MD, professor of psychiatry and ob-gyn, University of Miami School of Medicine. Angela Soos. Diane Sanford, PhD, president, Women's Healthcare Partnership, St. Louis, Mo.

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