Having pregnancy symptoms when you are a man or a co partner!

Emobileclinic Trending Topic: Sympathetic Pregnancy

Emobileclinic Specialist

Sympathetic pregnancy (Couvade syndrome) describes a situation in which an otherwise healthy man/co partner— whose partner is expecting a baby — experiences pregnancy-related symptoms. While some research suggests that Couvade syndrome might be common, It isn’t a medically recognised physical or mental disorder, and it isn’t explained by injury or illness.

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Symptoms

Symptoms reported to be associated with Couvade syndrome vary widely and typically occur only during the first and third trimesters of pregnancy. These symptoms might include nausea, heartburn, abdominal pain, bloating, appetite changes, respiratory problems, toothaches, leg cramps, backaches, urinary or genital irritations, changes in sleeping patterns, anxiety, depression, reduced libido and restlessness. A few people, on the other hand, come down with extreme couvade – and have more than a little fatigue or mild swelling to show for it. In addition to uncomfortable symptoms, these sufferers experience actual changes in their hormone levels. We can look to the mind-body connection for answers.

Causes

A range of theories have been proposed to explain Couvade syndrome. Along with psychoanalytical and psychosocial explanations, they also include emotional attachment to both the unborn child and partner, and hormonal influences.

  • Psychoanalytical theory proposes that the syndrome evolves from the man’s envy of the woman’s procreative ability. A second psychoanalytical theory proposes that expectant fathers may sometimes view the unborn child as a rival for maternal attention. Some have explained this as the expectant father’s interpretation of the unborn baby as a rival from whom attention is diverted. But this is expressed through a more socially acceptable outlet such as the syndrome. This interpretation would suggest that the syndrome has a protective function for the man because it enables him to identify with his pregnant partner and strengthens his protective instincts towards her and the baby.

  • Psychosocial theory, which takes in social circumstances, instead focuses on a marginalisation of men during the woman’s gestation and childbirth, especially among men who are having their first child. While motherhood is an important defining feature for women, the same may not be true for fatherhood and men; expectant women have their maternity careers endorsed commercially, socially and medically in contrast to the careers of prospective fathers.

  • Hormones; Couvade syndrome also appears to show a relationship with hormones, but there is a dearth of research investigating such an association. The findings of both indicated a significant increase in men’s levels of the hormones of prolactin and oestrogen in the first and third trimesters of pregnancy, but lower levels of testosterone. Stress can lower testosterone levels in men, leaving them with out-of-balance estrogen levels, creating pregnancy-like symptoms. In addition, men with extreme couvade often have too much cortisol – a stress-related chemical that, while effective in the face of short-term dangers, is troublesome over time.

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Whether Couvade syndrome is real or not, what’s certain is that becoming a new dad can be exciting, emotional and stressful. Fortunately, couvade is almost always temporary and not serious. And while there’s no magic pill to get rid of that green-around-the-gills feeling, a little good-natured ribbing from a buddy might just do the trick. Barring that, they generally disappear after the baby is born. If you’re a man whose partner is pregnant, take steps to manage stress and prepare for fatherhood. Attend prenatal classes. Seek out advice and encouragement from friends and family. Talk to your partner. Understanding and planning for the challenges ahead can help ease your transition into fatherhood.



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