Pregnancy Symptoms for Fathers

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Pregnancy can be an exciting and overwhelming time for both expectant mothers and fathers.

While pregnancy can lead to a variety of new symptoms and sensations in women; men can also be physically and emotionally affected by pregnancy too.

Shared Symptoms

Around half of men share symptoms with their pregnant partners.

Many of these symptoms are understandable, including feeling anxious or stressed. Some men may also notice mood swings to match those of their partners. Often, these symptoms are related to low-level anxiety associated with worries about pregnancy or parenthood. 

Similar to women with morning sickness, some men will also experience nausea. This is, once more, often caused by anxiety. Men are advised to talk to their partners or friends about their concerns. Eating well and abstaining from alcohol if nausea is troubling you is also wise.

Weight gain is not reserved purely for women in pregnancy. Men also tend to gain weight while their partner is pregnant. This may be due to increased levels of cortisol associated with pregnancy anxiety.

A change in sex drive is common for both men and women during pregnancy. Some men may feel less comfortable having sex when their partner is pregnant. This may be due to her growing bump reminding you of your impending parenthood or worries about hurting the baby. It can be reassuring to know that causing harm to your baby during sex is very unlikely in a healthy pregnancy.

Couvade Syndrome

Some men experience more than just a few pregnancy symptoms while their partner is pregnant. There is a phenomenon known as Couvade Syndrome. Couvade roughly translates to the French "we're pregnant."

Couvade Syndrome is sometimes known as sympathetic pregnancy. The expectant father begins to experience a wide range of symptoms similar to his pregnant partner's. 

Men may experience physical symptoms including nausea, indigestion, heartburn, bloating, which can give a pregnancy-like bump, an increased appetite, lower back ache, leg cramps, or restless legs. 

They may also have some psychological symptoms of pregnancy, too. These might include anxiety, restlessness, and changes to their sleeping pattern.

Just like the occasional pregnancy symptom, Couvade Syndrome likely occurs due to stress or anxiety related to pregnancy. Men who think they might be experiencing a sympathetic pregnancy are advised to take steps to manage stress and seek advice from medical professionals or close family or friends.

Final Thoughts

It is common and normal for men to experience similar symptoms to those women experience in pregnancy.

The cause is often anxiety, and men are advised to share their feelings with others and to access help if the pressure becomes more concerning.

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