You just found out your pregnant and the morning sickness is terrible. Your partner calls and says he’s not feeling well and that he’s been throwing up all morning at work. Over the first few weeks of your pregnancy you notice he’s experiencing quite a few of the symptoms you’re experiencing. This phenomenon is called sympathetic pregnancy or Couvade syndrome, but is your partner really feeling these symptoms or are their symptoms purely a mental reaction to pregnancy?
Symptoms of Couvade Syndrome
The symptoms of Couvade syndrome are generally the same as the symptoms of pregnancy. Men and women can experience the same symptoms the pregnant partner is experiencing, including:
- Weight gain
- Upset stomach
- Morning sickness
- Difficulty sleeping
- Increased or frequent urination
- Back pain
No two people will suffer the same symptoms or symptoms of the same severity, which can be frustrating. But, the most frustrating thing of all is the fact that sympathetic pregnancy or Couvade syndrome is not recognized as a real syndrome by many medical professionals.
Could there be another cause for pregnancy symptoms in your partner?
Yes, there is another possible cause for pregnancy-related symptoms – stress. Stress can cause many of the same symptoms partners report during a sympathetic pregnancy and finding out about a pregnancy can cause lots of stress. Symptoms of Couvade syndrome typically occur during the first and third trimesters. These are also the two most stressful times of pregnancy. During the first trimester the couple is just learning of the pregnancy and during the third trimester the couple is preparing for the birth of a new baby.
How to Treat Symptoms of Couvade Syndrome
No matter how the medical community looks at the symptoms of sympathetic pregnancy, the person suffering the symptoms wants relief. Sufferers are not limited to certain over the counter medications due to physical pregnancy, so taking medications to treat specific symptoms is one way to deal with the symptoms. (Make sure to check with your physician before taking any over the counter medications if you have an underlying medical condition or you are taking prescription medications).
Relaxation techniques may be extremely useful when medications just don’t do the trick. Meditation, deep breathing exercises and acupuncture are all known to increase relaxation and help relieve symptoms of stress for some people.
There may not be an official diagnosis with a dedicated treatment plan for Couvade syndrome, but the symptoms are very real for the person experiencing a sympathetic pregnancy.