sympathetic pregnancy aka Couvade syndrome is referred to as a medical condition in which the expectant mother’s partner, very close friend or even a relative displays symptoms that mimic pregnancy.
Despite what you have heard and known about pregnancy all this while, that pregnancy is only a female thing, the truth is that even fathers get the blow. In other words, expectant fathers also experience some of the pregnancy symptoms that the expectant mother goes through during the term. Surprised? Don’t be.
The couvade syndrome
Also called sympathetic pregnancy, couvade syndrome is referred to as a medical condition in which the expectant mother’s partner, very close friend or even a relative displays symptoms that mimic pregnancy. According to a 2005 report filed by CNN, about 90 percent of men experience at least one symptom that mimics pregnancy.
Symptoms of couvade syndrome
The most common symptoms of couvade syndrome include minor weight gain, morning nausea, altered hormone levels, back pain, acne, headache, constipation, cravings, hardening of the nipple, breast growth, dry naval, toothache, breast augmentation, excessive ear wax and disturbance in sleep patterns. In certain extreme cases, the partner may experience labour pains (commonly referred to as sympathy pain), nosebleeds, and postpartum depression.
Causes of couvade syndrome
There can be two reasons why your partner may be dealing with the syndrome -stress and empathy. Some doctors believe that it could be a psychosomatic condition, while others argue that it could be related to hormone changes.
It is no surprise that the financial worries and health concerns that pregnancy brings along make people get cold feet. Expectant fathers who are worried about the impending change in their life tend to eat to comfort themselves or simply do so because the mother is eating more. If the father has mood swings, it may be connected to the weight gain. According to science, weight gain causes accumulation of fat tissues, which convert testosterone into estrogen. An increased level of estrogen is then responsible for nausea, mood swings, breast enlargement, etc.
Who is at risk?
The couvade syndrome is usually experienced among those men or members of the family who have dealt with a loss of pregnancy earlier, infertility, etc.
If you are suffering from couvade syndrome, you must exercise together or try and book a massage together. It may also help to talk about it with each other or with a gynaecologist. Expecting mothers must understand that their husband is trying to be sympathetic towards them being pregnant and are not necessarily being fussy about it.
Read more articles in Pregnancy & Parenting.
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