Is sympathetic pregnancy real?

Your man may not be faking his pregnancy symptoms – he probably has Couvade’s


You’re six months pregnant and haven’t been able to look at, much less cook, raw chicken in weeks.

You’re visibly pregnant and every afternoon is filled with nausea. These things are all par for the course.

Gestation is a marathon and while everyone experiences pregnancy differently, there is one thing for certain: once you have your baby, it’ll all be worth it.

What you probably don’t need, to go along with your all-day sickness, is your partner/husband experiencing all of the same symptoms that you are.

If your partner is experiencing pregnancy-related symptoms, he’s not alone and while you might think he’s faking it, hear me out. There is a name for what’s happening here: It’s Couvade Syndrome, also known as sympathetic pregnancy.

You may be thinking, “Oh please!” but there is some merit to it. I mean, wouldn’t you rather have a partner that cares so much about what you’re experiencing that he’s experiencing it too than one who says, “Suck it up buttercup!”?

Common Couvade symptoms include:

• Stomach pain • Nausea

• Vomiting • Gas

• Back pain • Cravings

• Indigestion • Weight gain

• Sleep problems • Leg cramps

• Diarrhea • Constipation

• Basically any and all pregnancy-related symptoms

Some may suggest that it’s a psychological condition, purely psychosomatic, but while there is no real diagnostic evidence, there have been studies that show that some men experience changes in their hormone levels.

This can be attributed to high stress about becoming a dad, which may cause testosterone levels to lower and result in out-of-whack estrogen levels.

Let’s face it, while it may be annoying and you may want to have all of these pregnancy symptoms to yourself, you can at least find the silver lining in the fact that your partner is sensitive to you and can really relate to how you feel.

If Couvade’s has landed and your man has developed a sympathetic pregnancy, hang on for the ride, because it seems the only cure is birth. Let’s hope that you like company while eating saltines and peeing in the middle of the night. Lucky for him, he won’t be doing any pushing.


oh-baby-logoSandy Pedrogao is the editor and co-founder of Oh Baby! Magazine and She is also the co-producer of The Baby Show, Ottawa’s largest early parenting show. When she’s not running her business and parenting her two children as best she can, she can usually be found enjoying real life or online conversation.