You know how the old rhyme goes: First comes love, then comes marriage, then comes baby in a baby carriage. The thing is, the traditional view of family and a timeline for when baby comes along isn’t necessarily realistic in the modern world. You may find yourself pregnant and single for a number of reasons, including if you’ve chosen to go it alone with family planning via insemination.
Here are some practical dating tips, plus five dating sites that might lead you to your soul mate.
When should you tell?
As with almost any issue you’ll face when dating, the answer to whether or not you should tell them you’re expecting is highly personal. Will this potential partner freak out at the news? Will they be cool with it? You never know until you divulge the details. Still, you probably have some hesitation.
On one hand, you want to be up front about your pregnancy. After all, if this date leads to many more, your partner will find out about your pregnancy status eventually. On the other hand, you probably worry that sharing too much, too soon may be overwhelming.
“Once a woman feels that there's a connection developing and that the relationship has potential, honesty is usually the best policy,” says clinical psychologist Stephanie Lyon, Ph.D. “Waiting too long could lead the potential partner to feel misled or betrayed. If the pregnancy ends up being a deal breaker, it's better to know that sooner rather than later.”
What about sex?
Once you identify a potential partner, you might be wondering about how to proceed with sex. As with any physical relationship, practicing safe sex is crucial. It’s a good idea to make sure you and your partner are both tested for sexually transmitted infections. STIs are spread through oral, vaginal, or anal sexual contact.
Many STIs are silent, meaning they have no symptoms. Still, they can put both you and your baby at risk of health complications.
Some STIs can be treated with antibiotics during pregnancy.
Other STIs caused by viruses cannot be cured. They include:
- genital herpes
- hepatitis B
- HPV (human papillomavirus)
Your doctor will likely screen you for STDs at your first prenatal visit. If you plan to have new sexual partners throughout the pregnancy, don’t leave these details out of your appointments. Make sure you keep up with screenings. You can also reduce your risk by being in a long-term, mutually monogamous relationship with someone who has tested negative for STIs. In addition, using latex condoms every time you have sex is your best bet for protection.
While you’re at it, keep up with your routine prenatal care appointments. If you’re high-risk (for preterm labor, for example) or have other sexual health questions, ask your doctor if sex is OK in your situation.
Preparing for emotions
There are a host of things you may feel if you decide to date during pregnancy. Not all these feelings will necessarily be positive ones. “Pregnancy is a particularly emotionally vulnerable time for women, and I'm not just talking hormones,” says Lyon. “This is likely to make the usually highs and lows inherent in dating feel even more intense.”
Prepare yourself to feel a range of emotions that may even surprise you at times. Be open and honest with your partner about what you’re feeling.
Not feeling it?
“With so much else to worry about, a pregnant woman in the dating world might not be able to be as emotionally present as she normally would,” says Lyon. “This can be a test for even the sturdiest of relationships, let alone a burgeoning one.”
In fact, you may not feel like dating or starting a new relationship while you’re pregnant. That’s totally up to you. Listen to what your heart is telling you and move from there.
Five dating sites to try
If you do want to dip your toe in the dating world while you’re pregnant, there are a number of established sites and apps that can help you connect. Some offer special features to pregnant members. Others match you to potential dates based on math or science. Some are free, some aren’t. You can shop around to see which website works best for you.
While there isn’t a box to check if you’re expecting, you can specify if you either have kids or want kids on Match.com. It’s free to “look” or browse this service, which happens to be the original online dating site that opened back in 1995.
You can exchange winks and see who viewed you and made you a “favorite.” All communication is through an anonymous email network for safety, so everything is confidential until you’re ready to share. There are a variety of subscription rates and levels, ranging from one month to a year in length.
If you’re looking to meet interesting people nearby, you may want to try Tinder. After you download the application, getting an account on the site is totally free. You can decide who can message you by swiping right versus left. There’s also no pressure because nobody knows which way you swiped them. You’re only notified if you both (anonymously) swipe right on one another. For added security, everyone participating is real and authenticated through Facebook. Once you find a match, you can chat through the app before you choose to meet in person. You may want to keep in mind that Tinder has the reputation of being for casual connections.
OKCupid has declared itself the “best free dating site on Earth.” This service, like many others, allows users to search using keywords. One of these terms? Pregnant! So, you can share that you’re expecting from the start, if that’s something that’s important to you. Beyond that, the site uses math (or “algorithm magic”) to find you matches for anything from one night stands to long-term commitments.
If you’re looking for another dating site with a more scientific approach, eHarmony may be for you. The founder, Dr. Neil Clark Warren, is a clinical psychologist with over 35 years experience counseling married couples. The “compatibility matching” on the site is based on Dr. Warren’s 29 dimensions of compatibility. According to the site, eHarmony is responsible for up to 4 percent of marriages in the United States.
A month of basic subscription costs $59.95. If you see yourself using it longer, try 24 months at $9.95 per month.
5. Pregnant Dating
With Pregnant Dating, all users on the site know about the status of your womb from the start. This can be a good thing, because it gets the potentially awkward conversation out of the way with little drama. But an important note: Be sure to screen potential suitors carefully to assess who is on the site looking for meaningful relationships.
Your profile can hold both photos and videos. You can obtain a five-day trial of this service for just $4.99. After that, each month costs $27.99, or you can try a three-month membership for $39.99.
If you’re pregnant and single, you’ve likely got a lot on your mind as you prepare for baby’s arrival. Adding dating to the mix may be a welcome and fun activity, or it may bring up a host of emotions. Listen to your heart. There’s no harm in exploring a few dating sites or, alternatively, leaving the relationship seeking out until after baby is born.