Table of Contents
- What is a Sympathetic Pregnancy?
- What Are the Most Common Male Pregnancy Symptoms?
- What Causes Men to Have Pregnancy Symptoms?
- How to Deal with Male Pregnancy Symptoms
- How Common Is It for Men to Have Pregnancy Symptoms?
We all know what the common pregnancy symptoms are for women. Even if you’ve never lived with a woman during the first trimester of her pregnancy, there’s a good chance you’ll be aware of what morning sickness is. But it isn’t just women who notice changes in their bodies during the nine months of pregnancy. Men’s bodies can change during pregnancy, too. That’s because of a condition called Couvade Syndrome, or, more commonly, Sympathetic Pregnancy. Let’s have a look at what it is, and then we’ll have a look at the most common symptoms.
What is a Sympathetic Pregnancy?
A sympathetic pregnancy is when the father of a pregnant woman’s child displays pregnancy symptoms. It’s often referred to a Couvade Syndrome. The term ‘Couvade’ is of French origin, as it’s derived from the verb, couver, which means ‘to hatch.’
What Are the Most Common Male Pregnancy Symptoms?
A sympathetic pregnancy means that men develop and exhibit similar symptoms to a pregnant woman. The most common are the following:
It’s very common for the future father to find his belly growing at a similar rate – if not quicker – than the pregnant mother’s. There are a few different reasons why men pile on the pounds during their partner’s pregnancy.
One reason for male weight gain during pregnancy is simply down to new eating habits. The mother craves ice-cream, and, well, you’re sat on the sofa with her, and that ice-cream looks pretty good to you as well, so you have a few scoops. When she eats, then you eat.
During pregnancy, women can often feel tired or unmotivated to go out in the evenings or weekends, and that means a lot of time sitting around. The father will often end up picking up this habit, too and, combined with comfort eating, it’s a recipe for weight gain.
Another reason for male weight gain during pregnancy is down to stress. The anticipation of the new arrival causes the father to start producing cortisol, which is the stress hormone. And cortisol has some interesting effects on the human body. One is that you can often get hunger pangs when you’re not actually hungry. When you’re producing a lot of cortisol, then you’re also more likely to gain weight in the belly area. Some men try to deal with the anxiety of a new child by drinking alcohol regularly, and when you’re body is producing cortisol, then the beer will go straight to your belly.
Nausea and Morning Sickness
It’s not uncommon for the future mother and father to find themselves fighting over who gets to throw up in the toilet, as men can struggle with the most famous of pregnancy symptoms, morning sickness. Then again, it’s more likely for men to feel queasy and nauseous, rather than actually being so ill that they need to vomit.
Nausea that men feel during their partner’s pregnancy is mainly down to stress and anxiety. There’s so much to worry about during those important nine months, it can feel overwhelming at times, and the human body tends to find a way for this to manifest itself physically.
The stress that a future father is under can also make them comfort themselves with non-too-healthy habits, such as over-eating, drinking too much alcohol, or becoming physically inactive, and all these things can make you nauseous. If you’re a future father who is struggling with nausea, then you should consider your diet and your exercise habits. Regular trips to the gym and a healthy diet can work wonders and have you at peak physical health for when the little one arrives.
This is another pregnancy symptom that’s shared with the mother of the future child. In women, the wild mood swings can be put down to hormones, especially during the first trimester of pregnancy. As we’ve already read, men often produce a lot of cortisol during the period of pregnancy, as they’re stressed about the upcoming birth. And if you’ve got cortisol running through your system, then you’re likely to be on edge and more sensitive than usual, which can make it difficult for you to keep in control of your moods.
Not only will you be stressed about the forthcoming birth, but you’ll be nervous too. There’s nothing wrong with that. Becoming a dad is a huge thing, especially for the first time, and you’re always going to have an awareness of it at the back of your mind. Try to relax, though, as this will help to keep the mood swings in check.
Lowered Sex Drive
It’s common for future fathers to find themselves losing their sexual appetite during their partner’s pregnancy. There are dozens of reasons for this – as it will entirely depend on context and personality – but the important thing to remember is that it’s normal. Being aware of it is also important, as is talking to your partner so that she knows why you’re not in the mood as often as you used to be.
Backache. A sore shoulder. Cramps. Toothache. All of these are common complaints made by men during their partner’s pregnancy. It’s likely, however, that these are phantom pains, caused by stress, anxiety, or another psychological reason.
What Causes Men to Have Pregnancy Symptoms?
The primary reason for male pregnancy symptoms is stress, anxiety, and nervousness. There’s no doubt about it – having a kid is a big deal, and men are naturally going to worry about their lives changing completely when the baby comes into the world.
In some cases, when the symptoms mimic the symptoms that the mother is presenting, then the male symptoms can be put down to a sense of empathy, as they want to share the pain with their partner.
How to Deal with Male Pregnancy Symptoms
Stress, anxiety, and nervousness are often the cause of the symptoms. If that’s the case for you, then the number one thing you can do to relieve yourself of these symptoms is to relax and take care of yourself. Meditation and yoga are very popular with future fathers. But any form of exercise can help get rid of some of the tension. And it can also help you shed a few pounds if you’ve been developing a bump of your own.
How Common Is It for Men to Have Pregnancy Symptoms?
The numbers are fiercely debated within the medical community. Some speculate that approximately 20% of men present symptoms during their partner’s pregnancies. Other researchers in the field think that the number is actually much closer to 60%. It’s hard for researchers to put a definitive number on it, though, as men rarely report these symptoms to health professionals, so there is little record of them.
It’s common for men to notice their body changing during their partner’s pregnancy. They might grow a pregnant belly. Their emotions might be brought to the fore and exposed via wild mood swings. Men might be overwhelmed with nausea, even causing them to vomit like their partner. Sex could be the last thing on a man’s mind while their partner is pregnant. And men might find themselves on the phone to the dentist, organizing an appointment so that the pesky toothache that’s been bugging them can be treated.
The future father’s mind usually causes all these symptoms. They’re worried about the future. And that means their body starts to produce stress hormones or physically manifests this mental pain. The best thing a future father can do is to try to relax and to look after their body. Eat right, exercise, sleep well and talk to your partner about how you’re feeling. If you do this, then you’ll find those aches and pains are a thing of the past.