Couvade Syndrome (Sympathetic Pregnancy) – Symptoms, Causes, Treatment

Couvade syndrome is a strange condition in which the would-be father experience some of the symptoms associated with pregnancy. It is also known as sympathetic pregnancy wherein the husband would have the feelings of expectant mother and experience similar symptoms and behavior. Some of the common symptoms of this syndrome are alteration in hormone levels, vomiting, morning sickness and increase in weight. In reality Couvade syndrome is not a medical condition but is considered to be psychosomatic disorder.

Symptoms :

The signs and symptoms of Couvade syndrome is typical of the symptoms experienced by pregnant women during her pregnancy. The expectant father would show signs of nausea, morning sickness, heartburn, weight gain, bloating, abdominal cramps, backaches and leg pain. He may also experience genital irritations that are common during the term of pregnancy. In addition he may also have disturbance in sleep, anxiety and depression feelings and reduced sex drive.

It would be exciting to know for a man that he would father a child very soon. These feelings would induce emotions and bring changes in certain enzymes causing hormonal imbalance. These symptoms can be attributed to the stress that is caused due to fatherhood. There are men who had developed cravings for food and even breast augmentation like pregnant women.

Causes :

  • Some expectant fathers are so anxious of becoming father which may induce physiological symptoms mentioned above.
  • They are worried about the expected life change and start eating more gaining more weight.
  • Psychological theory explains Couvade syndrome as feeling empathetic for the expectant mother. Mood swings can occur due to hormonal changes when a man starts secreting more of estrogen than testosterone.
  • Till now, there is no medical theory to explain this phenomenon.
  • Increased stress and anxiety may produce chemicals in the body causing sympathetic pregnancy.

Who Are At Risk ?

Any man who is more concerned for his wife and developing fetus may develop Couvade syndrome. But this is more common in men who have come a long way facing fertility problems and pregnancy loss than others.

Couvade Syndrome

Diagnosis :

No special tests are needed to detect Couvade syndrome. It can develop in men who are expecting fatherhood and have more concerns about wife and child.

Treatment :

Couvade syndrome needs no treatment and is only temporary. Once the expecting mother delivers the child all the symptoms of the father would resolve spontaneously. Only in rare cases symptoms of fatigue and bloated stomach may continue after child-birth. This can be due to change in hormone levels and can be dealt with medical help. Counseling for the couple will help to reduce anxiety during the term of pregnancy.

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