“Am I the one having mood swings or you?” – This statement sounds familiar. Oh yes! You said it to your hubby the other day. Off lately his behavior perplexes you. Sometimes he is so over-protective and sometimes he just doesn’t seem to care. Is he experiencing mood swings too?
It may sound amusing, but the fact is “YES”. Although men don’t get pregnant, they can feel it. Like their pregnant counterparts, they suffer sympathetic symptoms. These include weight gain, indigestion, nausea, headaches, constipation, anxiety and mood swings. Learn more about the pregnancy symptoms fathers-to-be experience.
The Couvade Syndrome
What we just spoke about – men experiencing pregnancy related symptoms alongside their expectant wives – is called Couvade or Couvade syndrome. It has its origin in the French word Couver which translates to “to hatch”. It is very common especially in first time dads. It has psychological associations, but it is not a mental illness or disease. The symptoms occurring vary for every man. Not only this, the observance is higher during the first and the third trimesters.
Experts are still studying the origin of such sympathetic pregnancy symptoms. However, they state that the cause could be a man’s desire to feel what his partner feels. Given are some of the sympathetic pregnancy symptoms dads-to-be experiences.
Most partners join their expectant wives as she gorges on food to satisfy the increased appetite and food cravings. This is the main cause of weight gain. Some men also eat more to comfort themselves.
Nausea, Appetite Changes, Constipation, Indigestion and heartburn
Men usually display an increase in appetite. Dietary changes are mainly responsible for stomach problems such as nausea, indigestion, heartburn and constipation. In addition to this, the increase in the levels of hormones and anxiety is also attributed as causes of nausea in men.
Aches and Pains
Some of the aches and pains men experience are headaches, back pains, toothaches and leg cramps.
We’re constantly monitoring only the woman’s estrogen and progesterone levels during pregnancy. However, the father’s hormonal levels are affected too. This could be one of the reasons for mood swings. Mood swings could also result because of changes in the lifestyle, improper sleep and fatigue.
Though, they’re happy at the news of the baby, it takes some time for fathers to get accustomed to the transition. There are zillions of questions in his mind – will he be able to provide for the baby, is he really ready for it, will whatever he does is right or what effect would the baby have on the relationship. It’s natural to feel anxious.
Disturbances in Sleep
The backaches and leg cramps do not allow women to sleep comfortably. Men are unable to sleep well mainly because their wives have difficulty sleeping.
Just like that of a pregnant woman, the partner’s sexual appetite fluctuates. The physical changes to his wife or girlfriend’s body may discourage him from getting sexually intimate. On the contrary, many men notice increased libido.
Coping with Couvade Syndrome
If you’re a first time dad, you’re well aware of these symptoms, but you shy away from discussing it with others. You need to manage them effectively to prevent them from taking a toll on your relationship and if you want to be more involved in the pregnancy.
You can attend prenatal classes with your wife. Here you will not only learn how to put your wife at ease but also how to prepare for fatherhood. You will learn to manage the stress and anxiety concerning impending fatherhood. The best person you could talk to is your partner. She may laugh it out at first, but if you explain to her what’s really going on inside, she will definitely understand. You could consult the OB about it. Eat together and exercise together. Speak to other dads-to-be. It’s a great way to build a support system.
So, spare them women they’re going through a tough time too. They only difference is they won’t tell.