When even the dad feels “pregnant”!

Nowadays dads are more and more involved in their partner’s pregnancy. And it’s also nice for me to receive the comments and emails of excited future dads, so interested and participating in what is happening to their baby during the nine months of pregnancy.

However, this participation and this involvement have simultaneously increased those cases of future fathers who themselves experience particular symptoms of pregnancy.

And what is called the Couvade Syndrome .

From the initial joy and frenzy that follows the positive test, especially when the pregnancy had been sought and desired for a long time, it can happen that the future dad starts to feel some discomfort: he wakes up during the night, accuses nausea, dizziness, back pain and headaches. He also begins to experience strange cravings for food, perhaps even worse than yours. He starts eating differently than usual… and gains weight, almost trying to keep up with the growth of your belly 🙂

He might even get a little moody and capricious, and snap about the trifle. You may find yourself arguing with him for space in the bed. Him trying to stretch out everywhere and you trying to get comfortable because of heartburn or leg cramps.

It is a situation that could annoy you quite a bit, also because, after all, it is you women who have the child growing inside you.

They are not  joking  or making fun of you, it is a real syndrome that has been studied and confirmed in many males, so be understanding!

Couvade Syndroem

Couvade comes from the French word “ couver ” which means to brood.

It is a real syndrome (sometimes also called sympathetic pregnancy ) due to hormonal changes in future dads concerning the levels of prolactin, corticosteroids , estrogen and testosterone. It is thought that these hormonal changes occur to help the male prepare himself mentally for fatherhood , making him more willing to care for the child. It carries with it some side effects that we have listed above.

According to experts, about 10% of males suffer from Couvade Syndrome,  and the more difficult it was to achieve pregnancy, the more the symptoms increase. Fathers who have been adopted also suffer more from this syndrome

Obviously they can’t suffer from all the symptoms of pregnant women, for example they don’t experience Braxton Hicks contractions , hot flashes, feeling short of breath. In the most “serious” cases, some future dads during childbirth (of their partner) may experience abdominal spasms with very strong pain.

Typically the first symptoms appear during the first trimester and increase as the pregnancy progresses. Women experience this situation very differently. There are those who are touched by having a man so involved in the symptoms nearby, and those who are annoyed by it. Annoyance is an equally normal reaction: pregnancy is a moment in which the woman is generally the undisputed protagonist , and having a partner with Couvade syndrome makes her feel dethroned from that pedestal where she has attention centered on herself.

Quarrels can result or even get to compete to figure out who has the strongest symptoms… in short, each couple experiences it in their own way. Luckily I didn’t have to experience a similar situation during my pregnancies 😉

What can you do?

It is essential to recognize the discomfort that one’s spouse is experiencing and avoid mocking him. Couvade syndrome is not only real but also the result of the love he feels for the woman who is carrying his child.

Understanding and respecting what the other is feeling is essential.

When the child arrives in the couple, a lot of collaboration, emotional support and empathy on the part of both will be needed and therefore Couvade’s syndrome can also be experienced as a sort of training for the couple for what is to come.

To live it well it is necessary to COMMUNICATE, a fundamental ingredient to overcome any problem in the couple.
Couvade syndrome is temporary it will go away with the birth of the baby, so try to overcome it in the most positive way possible so when you remember the period of pregnancy, you can do it with a smile on your face.

Kathryn Barlow is an OB/GYN doctor, which is the medical specialty that deals with the care of women's reproductive health, including pregnancy and childbirth.

Obstetricians provide care to women during pregnancy, labor, and delivery, while gynecologists focus on the health of the female reproductive system, including the ovaries, uterus, vagina, and breasts. OB/GYN doctors are trained to provide medical and surgical care for a wide range of conditions related to women's reproductive health.

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