Q: My husband is gaining weight too. Could this be a sympathetic pregnancy symptom? 

A. What you describe is part of the "Couvade Syndrome" in men, "pregnant men" who have similar symptoms as their wives. Couvade comes from the french word couvee meaning "to hatch." It has come to mean a man having a "sympathetic pregnancy."

A review of the medical literature showed more than 30 published papers on this issue. Anthropologists have found that ritual couvades dates back to ancient rituals regulating the behavior of the husband of a woman in labor.

Typical symptoms of the Couvade Syndrome include:

  1. Variations in appetite
  2. Nausea
  3. Insomnia 
  4. Weight gain 
  5. Diarrhea
  6. Constipation
  7. Increased or decreased appetite
  8. Fatigue
  9. Headache
  10. Toothache 
  11. Anxiety

It is not that uncommon for partners to also gain weight during pregnancy. Maybe it's because you eat more and so do they; perhaps it's related to the presence of more food in the household and more eating opportunities. If your partner can plan reductions in the amount of food that will be eaten at meals and snacks, that would be a good start. Your partner should also not gauge how much is eaten based on when and how much you eat.