A Sympathetic Pregnancy for the Dad-to-Be?
Is it possible that your man could be experiencing the same pregnancy symptoms as you? Late night cravings, morning sickness and a bloated belly during the first trimester? Feeling sorry for him? Probably not. But in fact, these symptoms are telltale signs of “couvade syndrome”, also called a sympathetic pregnancy where men experience similar physical symptoms to their pregnant wives.
I first heard about “couvade” syndrome in Oprah magazine, which brought the condition to my attention as a real medical phenomenon. The idea of men feeling “womb envy” is apparently not a new and relates to a medieval Basque custom where the father felt his wife’s labor pains, went to bed straight after the delivery and required the same treatment as his wife who just gave birth!
In some instances men experience a “phantom pregnancy” by growing a belly equivalent to 7 months of pregnancy. A study in Evolution and Human Behavior indicated that a variance in testosterone and prolactin may just be the culprit for these physiological changes. At the end of the day, it’s estimated that 1 in 4 of dad’s to be may experience at least one symptom. The good news is that you’ll be together in the experience and hopefully you’ll have a partner that will want to indulge your same cravings.