Weird Facts About Pregnancy & Expectant Fathers
It’s common for couples today to say “We’re pregnant” even though only one of them is actually having the baby. But dads to be often find themselves experiencing some of the symptoms of pregnancy right along with their partners. Part of a phenomenon known as Couvade syndrome, weight gain, food cravings and mood swings can become part of an expectant dad’s reality, as well as mom’s, during the nine months of pregnancy.
Pregnancy brings weight gain — in some cases, for both of you. In a Canadian study published in the 1991 “Canadian Family Physician,” seven out of 31 expectant fathers, or nearly 25 percent, experienced weight gain during pregnancy. A British research firm, Onepoll, reported that men gained an average of 14 pounds during their partner’s pregnancy, according to a 2009 article published in The New York Times. Reasons for the weight gain ranged from eating out more frequently and eating more to make their partner feel better about her weight gain to being served larger portions by the mom to be.
You might need a double order of pickles and ice cream — or whatever your particular craving is — to satisfy both your own food cravings and dad’s during pregnancy. You may be highly annoyed to find that your partner has depleted your supply of craved foods to satisfy his own cravings. In addition to food cravings, your partner might find himself reaching for the antacids when you do to quell his heartburn; six out of 31 men experienced heartburn, while three reported vomiting and/or nausea during their partner’s pregnancy in a study published in the Canadian Family Physician.
Aches and Pains
If you’re walking through labor pains and dad is bent over right next to you in his own version of labor, you might be tempted to tell him to knock it off already. But some dads do experience their own version of labor pains as part of Couvade syndrome, Obstetrician Amos Grunebaum explains on his website, BabyMed. No one is going to offer him an epidural to help him through labor, though.
Pregnant women can blame their mood swings on hormonal changes, but some pregnant dads also seem to go through a barrage of changing emotions — and possibly for the same reason. Some men with pregnant partners also experience hormonal changes in pregnancy, a Canadian study published in the June 2001 issue of Mayo Clinic Proceedings found. Levels of testosterone, the dominant male hormone, fell, while levels of estradiol, the predominant female hormone during reproductive years, rose.
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