Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Couvade Syndrome

For all expecting dads, you don't have the joy of being kicked in the rib at 2 o'clock in the morning, or throwing up at the sight and smell of chicken, or gaining 30 pounds overnight; however, men do go through changes during the pregnancy whether realized or not.  There is something I am sure you have heard called “sympathy pains” that dads-to-be experience.  You are probably saying "yea, yea, yea, he just wants attention" but this is a real thing.  It is often referred to as Couvade Syndrome, which simply means a sympathetic pregnancy.  

Some of the these sympathy pains dads experience are: anxiety, nausea, mood swings, weight gain, toothaches, backaches, headaches, and leg cramps.  I am going to dicuss some of the pains brought on by Couvade Syndrome that will make it seem like your partner is the one carrying the baby!
Weight Gain.  Pregnancy weight gain is normal and healthy for mommas, I bet you didn't know you would experience it too.  I am sure your partner may be experiencing those pregnancy cravings...so naturally you have to eat along side her during those midnight snacks; however, there is a bigger reason for the weight gain you daddies may be experiencing.  Men become very stressed when expecting a baby, whether conscious or subconscious.  Your life is about to change completely and unfortunately men were not blessed with the gift of being able to feel that change physically.  Due to the high stress levels happening to your body, a hormone called cortisol is released.  Cortisol is the “stress hormone”.  It is a tricky little devil because it is what regulates insulin and blood sugar levels in your body.  It is the deviant that causes the weight gain you might be experiencing.  Cortisol increases your appetite and sugar cravings, thus, cause you weight gain.  It binds to receptors in the brain (hypothalamus) and causes you to eat food in high fat and sugar content leading you directly to a bigger size pant.  Know that if this is something you are experiencing, you are not alone.  To counter this, exercise in is the best medicine.  Release those endorphins, reducing your stress, bringing you back to your normal pant size.

Mood Swings. If you are feeling extra moody this can also be from the weight gain.  When you gain weight, your body creates more fat tissue, leading your testosterone to become estrogen.  This is the culprit behind and mood swings and nausea you may be having.  Isn’t pregnancy great?

Cramps and Aches.  In a need for daddy to bond with the baby during pregnancy, his mental makes his physical match what momma might be experiencing.  In some cases, daddy wants that same connection and there is a hint of jealousy so the body actually will be deceived into feeling pregnant.  This is not the case for all and it is very subconcious, but it does happen.  As with anything, when you harbor anxiety and stress, it will manifest itself in a physical way.  This is an exaggeration of that.  This does, in some way, allow you to connect with the baby before he or she is born.

For all those aches and pains you may be having during the pregnancy, be comforted to know that according to studies, they are most likely in your head.  Because of the feelings your partner is having, you physically want to feel this too.  The mind is a very fun thing and can actually trick you into having similar pains as described by your partner.  For women during pregnancy, let’s face it...we are not the most sympathetic to whatever aches and pains your man may think he’s having.  To add to that, men don’t feel needed during the pregnancy...”woe is me”...so you may be finding yourself in competition (subconsciously) with your partner.

There are some things you can do to ease the symptoms you may be experiencing.  It will also be helpful to do these things with your partner which will keep her going as well.

  • Exercise. As I said before, exercise is the best thing to get your spirits up.  It would be really nice if you and your partner could come up with a workout plan together, even if it is just taking a simple walk together, it will make a huge difference.
  • Healthy Diet.  Eating right will help with the weight gain and keep it to a minimum.  It will also help your mood.  Exercise and diet are the two main factors in lifting your spirits and easing depression and anxiety.
  • Communicate.  Keeping the lines of communication open is crucial in any relationship, pregnant or not.  If you are feeling stressed or overwhelmed talk to your partner about it.  Though us women can be unapproachable at time while pregnant, be sure to express how you are feeling.  I must warn you though, never start with “I don’t feel well” or “My *insert body part here* hurts!” Because you will get your head ripped off.  On that note, it is crucial you tell your partner about the fears and anxiety you may be feeling throughout the pregnancy.  It is totally normal to feel this way! Put the baby clothes, nursery paint chips and infant gear aside and go have a date night.  Do your best to make it about each other.
  • Date Night.  This is so important for a few reasons, it will help you communicate with your partner and it will also make things about you as a couple instead of your pregnant partner.

Totally unrelated but thank you so much everyone who voted for my baby boy to be on the cover of a magazine!  He is high in the ratings so let's keep going!! Any vote will help!  You can vote once a day! We are so close! Thank y'all so much for the love and support! Just follow the link to vote!



  1. Hi! Stopping by from Mom Bloggers Club. Great blog!
    Have a nice day!

  2. Great post! Thanks for sharing via Mommy Monday :)