Can men experience pregnancy symptoms? Know all about sympathetic pregnancy

Can men experience pregnancy symptoms too? Let’s find out about a condition known as sympathetic pregnancy.
Couvade syndrome or sympathetic pregnancy
Couvade syndrome can be for real. Image courtesy: Adobe Stock
Manasvi Jain Published: 22 Jan 2023, 12:00 pm IST
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What if we told you that there have been cases across the world, where men have shown the exact same symptoms that a pregnant woman would show like weight gain, morning sickness, etc. Well, you will call me crazy and you are right, it is not biologically possible for men to get pregnant. Then why do many men report feeling all the pregnancy symptoms while their partner may be pregnant, without being diagnosed with any other medical condition? It is because they may be suffering from a condition called Couvade syndrome or sympathetic pregnancy. Let’s find out more about this condition.

The concept of sympathetic pregnancy was portrayed in a recently released movie, Mister Mummy, with Ritesh Deshmukh and Genelia Deshmukh as the leads and the film tried to shed light on this cryptic condition.

What is sympathetic pregnancy?

As the name suggests, sympathetic pregnancy is pretty similar to the concept of sympathy pains wherein when a person dear to us is in discomfort, we feel too much for their pain. As a result, we experience psychological pressure which often converts into physical pain. In simple terms it is feeling someone else’s pain not just emotionally but physically too.

To find out more about this unique condition, HealthShots reached out to Dr Sushma Tomar, Consultant-Obstetrician and Gynecologist, Fortis Hospital. The doctor explains that sympathetic pregnancy is basically when the male partner or husband starts getting the same symptoms as the wife gets during her first trimester.

sympathetic pregnancy
Husbands can feel the pain of of their pregnant wives which can lead to sympathetic pregnancy. Image courtesy: Shutterstock

Also read: 7 dangerous mistakes you MUST avoid in the first trimester of pregnancy

Symptoms that you are suffering from sympathetic pregnancy

The doctor explains that partners will start having all the symptoms associated with pregnancy like morning sickness along with nausea, vomiting, leg cramps, distention of the abdomen, loss of appetite, cravings, mood swings and crankiness. All other symptoms like constipation, abdomen enlargement, and breast congestion are also seen with the onset of sympathetic pregnancy. “Sympathetic pregnancy is similar to pregnancy minus the baby in the stomach,” says Dr Tomar.

sympathetic pregnancy morning sickness
Symptoms like morning sickness are experienced by men too. Image courtesy: Shutterstock

Causes of sympathetic pregnancy

This condition is commonly known as Couvade syndrome and it can occur at any point of time during pregnancy. This is mainly caused due to stress conditions where hormones also start secreting in the body. “Husbands can be anxious and worried about their partner and the new baby’s health, financial conditions, or concerned about becoming a dad. If this stress is not handled in an appropriate manner, the body will start releasing hormones that can lead to such conditions,” explains Dr Tomar. Also, while this Couvade syndrome mainly occurs to the expected father, there are instances when other than the husband, sister or friend can also suffer from the syndrome.

sympathetic pregnancy
Seeing the mom in stress is the reason for sympathetic pregnancy. Image courtesy: Shutterstock

Also read: Father’s Day: New dads can face postpartum depression too, ladies

Is sympathetic pregnancy dangerous?

“Sympathetic pregnancy is not at all harmful for either of the partners, in fact, it sheds light on the perspective of your feelings for one another,” says Dr Tomar. The doctor suggests that the best way to deal with this syndrome is ‘talking it out’. Both partners need to express their feelings and concerns related to pregnancy and otherwise. Arrival of the baby has an impact on the future of both parents, so giving your partner a more active role, and making decisions together during pregnancy will help both feel a lot better.

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About the Author

Manasvi Jain is a professional writer with a keen interest in spreading awareness about various health and wellness issues through her articles. She writes well researched articles by connecting with various doctors and health experts. ...Read More

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