You are the one carrying the child, so why is he the one gaining weight? Couples all over the globe report male pregnancy symptoms that parallel female symptoms, but how can this happen when men cannot physically get pregnant? Doctors and researchers name the condition Couvade Syndrome, but it is more commonly referred to as sympathy pregnancies.
Are the Changes Real?
The changes happening in a man’s body when he is “pregnant” with his wife are very real. Weight gain, mood swings, hormonal changes, and nesting have all been reported. Experts have studied male pregnancy cases and found many changes are much more than just sympathy reactions. Neurologists have noted men react to pregnancy much differently than women. While women focus on pregnancy changes, health, and the idea of a cuddly new baby – men think a bit more tangibly.
Male pregnancy nesting symptoms can include a very real need to build, protect, and support. These reactions can be traced back to times when a new baby meant more space and more food. Men, being the construction and food experts in the family, would instantly jump into fatherhood by controlling these physical aspects of childcare. Today, hunting for food in the wild is not as common, but the instinct is still there.
Dealing With Male Pregnancy
Most couples simply go along for the ride enjoying the togetherness male pregnancy provides. Some experts believe male pregnancy is nature’s way to bringing together two partners to protect and care for baby. If the father feels her pains, baby kicks, and emotional changes, he is more apt to be attached to baby in a stronger way.
While hormonal changes can be tiring, weight gain is the only male pregnancy symptom that should be monitored closely. Typically, men will gain just as much weight as their pregnant partners, but after birth, they will not suddenly lose a large portion of the weight, as she will. Carrying extra weight can lead to high blood pressure, increased risk for heart disease, and diabetes. If mom is breastfeeding, she will burn an extra 500 calories a day or more, and dad will be left hitting the gym for hours to lose all that baby weight.
Male pregnancy is not a physical pregnancy in the most basic sense, but its effect on male partners is very real. If symptoms like depression and fatigue become overpowering, medical treatment should be sought, as an underlying medical condition could be the cause and not male pregnancy.