Sympathy pregnancy or Couvade syndrome is a condition wherein a man goes through some of the same symptoms of an expectant mother. Couvade means ‘to hatch’. Commonly seen sympathy pregnancy symptoms include: weight gain, changes in the hormone profile, disturbed sleep patterns and even morning sickness. In extreme cases he may experience labor pains, depression and nosebleed.
Approximately 25 – 90 % men, who are about to become dads experience the Couvade syndrome / symptoms of sympathy pregnancy. The manifestations resemble those that your partner is experiencing. Commonest symptoms are weight gain, mood swings and food cravings.
In view of the fact that men are not actually pregnant, these manifestations and experiences are considered psychological. It is quite common and the fathers may experience these symptoms throughout the pregnancy. On the other hand, apart from the psychological alterations, physical symptoms are also seen in many of these men.
Symptoms of the Couvade syndrome experienced by the partner are characterized by nausea and vomiting in the morning, indigestion, altered appetite, weight gain, headache, toothache, certain cravings, breast augmentation, and insomnia. In certain cases, the father may grow a belly that resembles that of a 7 month pregnant woman and put on 14 kilograms. Labor pains are commonly seen too, and these are called sympathy pains.
Symptoms Of Sympathy Pregnancy In Husband
Couvade stems from the French word ‘couvee’ which connotes ‘to hatch’. It means that the partner is having sympathetic pregnancy’. By and large, Couvade syndrome commences in the end of the 1st trimester and increases in intensity until the 3rd. The only cure is the delivery of his baby.
Experts state, the weight gain is due to the eating habits of the mother, along with the other changes that pregnancy makes in her life.
Studies demonstrate that the male partner tends to experience oscillations in the hormone levels, particularly, in the levels of cortisol, estradiol, prolactin, and testosterone.
Researchers aren’t sure why one develops Couvade’s syndrome; there isn’t a specific etiological cause. Nonetheless, there are a host of suggestions and hypothesis for the syndrome.
An important contributing factor is apprehension and anxiety about the approaching birth of his child. Another theory is that it could be an indication of envy towards his wife or feelings of competition with the baby.
Couvade symptoms are a man’s way of fortifying the bond between him and his baby. Another theory is that nearly all men involuntarily set up to protect their family. While the partner is in childbirth, they tend to feel that they are incapable of controlling the situation and her pain; hence, their brains generate a way to alleviate their partner’s by pain placing some of the pain on themselves.
All this suggests that sympathy pregnancy is psychosomatic in nature, i.e. a response of the body to a stimulus in the mind.
Experts have also suggested that identification with the fetus could be a cause.
Psycho-Evolutionary theory states that Couvade syndrome is a way of decreasing the sexual differences in pregnancy and delivery. Couvade is commoner where the gender roles are rather flexible and the female is more dominant.
Sympathy Pregnancy Symptoms In Women
Another commonly seen trend is that many women who are close to their friends or sisters, who are pregnant also experience pregnancy symptoms. The symptoms they feel are similar to what their friend or relative is going through.
- Symptoms During Pregnancy