Would you sign a pregnancy prenup?

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Meghan Markle was rumoured to have asked her ex-husband, Trevor Engelson, to sign one requesting that he pay for a personal trainer and nutritionist if she were to get pregnant. [Photo: Getty]
Meghan Markle was rumoured to have asked her ex-husband, Trevor Engelson, to sign one requesting that he pay for a personal trainer and nutritionist if she were to get pregnant. [Photo: Getty]

There’s no doubt that life changes after you have a baby. One minute you’re enjoying weekend lie ins and impromptu trips to the pub, the next you’re arguing over who’s turn it is to change the latest poonarmi and trading in digs over who’s the most tired.

Welcome to parenthood.

In fact though, you’ll likely start noticing those relationship changes the minute you spot the two blue lines on the stick you just peed on. Thankfully, though, there is a way to nip those parenting and pre-parenting arguments in the bud, by drawing up a pregnancy contract.

Kind of like a prenup, a pregnancy contract is simply an outline of the expectations from each party during the pregnancy and on into parenthood. What’s more they are actually becoming quite popular.

As reported by the Daily Mail, Meghan Markle was rumoured to have asked her ex-husband, Trevor Engelson, to sign one requesting that he pay for a personal trainer and nutritionist if she were to get pregnant.

The same contract also allegedly outlined how the prospective parents would divvy up childcare.

While drawing up an actual contract outlining responsibilities and expectations might seem a little on the extreme side, according to some parenting experts there’s actually some merit in the idea of having an advance discussion with your other half before the baby puts in an appearance.

“Pregnancy contracts may sound potty but they are increasingly popular across the pond in the States,” explains Cathy Ranson, editor at ChannelMum.com. “Put simply, they are akin to a marriage pre-nup, but state what each half of a couple will do in the event of a pregnancy.”

Cathy says demands can range from agreeing to pay for a personal trainer to stay in shape and shift the baby weight, to what time you want your partner back from work to help care for the baby.

“The PC lists out what each half of the couple expects from the pregnancy, how to manage their money as parents and even how to preserve their relationship and sex life after becoming parents,” she continues.

While it certainly sounds like a good idea in theory, Cathy has a word of warning about being too rigid with your expectations.

“In principle it’s interesting and we’d always advocate discussing your plans before you fall pregnant,” she says. “However, in practice, things may be rather different!”

“A pregnancy and newborn will rock even the most solid of relationships. You will both change as people and experience highs and lows and intense love to extreme tiredness you’ve never had before.

“What you thought you wanted when you signed the contract may well go out of the window – and that will cause problems if one side of the couple is trying to enforce the contract when the other half has been radically changed by becoming a parent,” she adds.

So instead of drawing up an official document, Cathy suggests simply having an open and honest conversation with your other half about your hopes and expectations.

“Legally, like many pre-nups, pregnancy contracts are not likely to be enforceable under UK law, so rather than drawing up a meaningless legal document, why not simply sit down and discuss with your partner what you want and how you feel?” she says.

“A contract seems a rather cold and formal way to negotiate pregnancy when you can simply chat and come to an agreement which works for both of you?

For those who like a more formal structure, Cathy suggests setting a time once a month to check in with your partner and discuss what you need to be a good parent and a good partner – and what needs to change.

“So rather than a Pregnancy Contract, try a pregnancy check-in as a gentler and more effective way to keep your relationship alive and parents together well.”

Of course there are no guarantees that each party will stick to their end of the nappy changing bargain, but it certainly can’t harm to air things up front and not at 3am during a blazing row over who’s turn it is to get up.

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