My Baby's Dad Is Experiencing Couvade Symptoms - Tips On How To Manage

Last updated by Katie M.

I bet you're wondering what couvade means, right? Well, the couvade phenomenon kicks in when a pregnant woman's partner starts to experience the same pregnancy symptoms as she is going through. Although this sounds fairly unbelievable, 1 in 5 fathers experiences this sensation, and I think that’s what surprised me the most when I looked into the subject of sympathetic pregnancies. The symptoms typically include bloating, morning sickness, irritability, and nausea, plus they are more likely to appear with the first child. If your man experiences this syndrome, here's what to do.

My Baby's Dad Is Experiencing Couvade Symptoms - Tips On How To Manage
Contents: 

What is a couvade? - It's when your man experiences pregnancy symptoms too

A couvade is actually quite simple. It’s when your belly gets round and the father-to-be gets one or several symptoms of pregnancy. Of course, it’s a psychosomatic reaction, a psychological disorder that often appears during the first and last three months of pregnancy. It’s also called a sympathetic pregnancy. Several factors explain a couvade:

  • Preparing to be a dad: a couvade can be an unconscious way of showing anxiety about the upheaval taking place. Your partner is preparing for his future role as a dad, but doesn’t feel completely ready, so he gets involved physically. But it’s important to note that it is of course involuntary.
  • Strong empathy: an exacerbated feeling of empathy towards his pregnant partner may trigger identical symptoms to those she is feeling. He wants to show his support and participate more actively in the pregnancy. It’s also possible that the man may also desire… more attention…
  • A hormonal upheaval: and if his hormones were also playing tricks on him? During a sympathetic pregnancy, testosterone and cortisol levels are down. However, this decrease may be beneficial because it allows the father to be less stressed by the baby’s arrival. And here is a nice anecdote: during a couvade, some men may also produce prolactin. This hormone is essential for the smooth process of breastfeeding. At the end of the pregnancy and after the birth, it is therefore present in high doses for the woman. For the father-to-be, it will enable him to be more attentive to the baby’s crying!

>>> How can we reduce stress in children?

A couvade cannot be cured, so what can I do to help my partner?

1. Get him to talk

He puts on more weight than you, and every morning he has to run to the toilet to be sick. There’s no doubt about it, your partner is having a sympathetic pregnancy, so don’t make fun of him (or not too much) and encourage him to confide in you. Communication is essential in a relationship, especially during these periods of great upheaval. Help him then to calm his anxieties by getting him to share his emotions.

2. Give him the number of a psychologist

Pregnancy is such an upheaval that it should always warrant therapy with a psychologist. In the case of a couvade, it may be a good idea for the father-to-be to talk to a professional.

3. Share your homeopathic pills

And because it’s also necessary to act on physical ailments, your partner can take the same treatment as you to cure or alleviate his nausea, bloating, acid reflux, etc. Most often, it is a natural or homeopathic treatment that is without risk during pregnancy, but a medical opinion is still preferable.

>>> Advice for when your child hits.

Editor’s note – What happens after?

It can be difficult for a pregnant woman to put up with a man’s couvade, but sometimes the symptoms do not disappear until after the baby has arrived. You will therefore have to be patient and perhaps both try to take time for yourselves. Especially since it is important to note that dad can also suffer from baby blues. To be continued!

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