during pregnancy

Sympathetic Pregnancies Are Creepy As Hell

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The entire time I was pregnant, I really wanted my husband to feel my pain. You don’t know what it’s like, I would snarl at him as I shook my finger in his face. You don’t know what it’s like to have constant lower back pain and feel like a bowling ball is pressing on your bladder and to never get comfortable at night.

My pregnancy was healthy, and all of my complaints were first world pregnant problems, I’ll admit. But I wanted to share the wealth. I wanted to let my husband know exactly what I was feeling each step of the way. I wanted to tweak his nipples until they turned red every time I hooked myself up to a breast pump—but I digress.

I realized that you have to be careful what you wish for when I read about sympathetic pregnancies. Yes, dudes can feel pregnant too and may take on the physical and emotional burden of carrying a child.

It’s called Couvade Syndrome, described as:

Sympathetic pregnancy (Couvade syndrome) describes a situation in which an otherwise healthy man — whose partner is expecting a baby — experiences pregnancy-related symptoms. While some research suggests that Couvade syndrome might be common, it isn’t a recognized mental illness or disease. Further studies are needed to determine whether Couvade syndrome is a physical condition with psychological causes.

Real-life Internet users describe it as:





So basically, your husband can start to feel your pain with strange food cravings, morning sickness, and even an enlarged stomach. Some experts doubt that the syndrome is real; others believe that sympathetic weight gain may be caused by matching the expectant mother’s diet.

There is research out there to support the syndrome, and some men are more susceptible than others. Interestingly enough, if a couple has experienced infertility or has adopted a child, a man may be more prone to Couvade Syndrome.

While I think that the explanation of infertility or adoption sheds a little more light on male pregnancy symptoms, the whole scene just skeeves me out. I’m not “Couvade shaming,” but you can have too much of a good thing.

Sure, I wanted my husband to know how unpredictable body changes and crippling third trimester exhaustion felt. I know Couvade Syndrome can be considered a medical condition that a man cannot help. But if my husband grew a matching baby bump, my first thoughts would be: Quit stealing my whiny pregnant glory, and let’s put a pin in sex for a while.

(Image: Sergey Peterman/Shutterstock)