Couvade Syndrome While pregnant: Symptoms, Causes, And Treatment

Couvade syndrome is really a condition that affects the pregnant woman's partner. He/she experiences symptoms similar to those of pregnancy for example nausea, bloating, leg cramps, abdominal pain, backaches, depression, and anxiety. Although this phenomenon was first noticed in the nineteenth century, it is still not acknowledged as a psychological condition or disease. It's a common condition and men from all over the world go through it.

What is Couvade Syndrome?

Couvade syndrome is really a symptom in that the partner of the expectant mother experiences pregnancy-like symptoms. It's also referred to as a male sympathetic pregnancy or pregnant dad syndrome. According to research, it's a relatively common phenomenon. However, it is not acknowledged as an official medical or psychological issue.

Causes Of Couvade Syndrome In Men


The attachment theory posits that men who tend to be more involved with preparation for the parental role like taking ante-natal courses are more susceptible to the symptoms. This means that your closeness towards the fetus may be the reason for the signs and symptoms. By participating more in pregnancy-related activities, men feel closed towards the unborn baby and begin to identify with the paternal role. A study showed that there was a modest correlation between paternal-fetal involvement. As with the form of feeling the kid kick with physical symptoms of the syndrome such as exhaustion, difficulty in sleeping, indigestion, stomach upsets, constipation, and alterations in appetite. The study concluded that these symptoms were an expression from the level of a man's attachment towards the developing fetus and also the involvement within the pregnancy.

Hormonal changes

The attack of hormones supplies a satisfactory explanation. Couvade syndrome has been shown to have a correlation with hormones but there is no definitive research to prove this. Research showed that during the first and third trimesters of pregnancy, there was a significant increase in the amount of prolactin and estrogen in men. Also, observed low levels of testosterone and cortisol. These hormone changes were related to paternal behavior. Also physical symptoms such as fatigue, weight gain, and alterations in appetite.


Somatic symptoms are the physical symptoms that are caused due to emotional distress. Parents-to-be will frequently feel anxiety and stress concerning the child's birth. They become aware of the adult role in society also it can have an impact on their psychological health. These feelings may cause somatic symptoms that are much like those of pregnancy. These physical symptoms are believed to become manifestations of the psychological issues that they are facing because the body starts to cope with them unconsciously.

Psychosocial causes

The psychoanalytical theory posits that couvade syndrome arises from men's jealousy and envy of the woman's capability to procreate. It is also believed by a few that expectant fathers may view the unborn baby as a rival for maternal love as attention will be diverted from their store due to the child. It is also believed that someone can experience unpleasant symptoms because of guilt within the partner's pregnancy.

Symptoms of Couvade Syndrome

Psychological symptoms

  • Difficulty sleeping and changes in sleep patterns
  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Restlessness
  • Reduced libido
  • Physical symptoms
  • Nausea
  • Heartburn
  • Abdominal pain
  • Changes in appetite
  • Bloating
  • Respiratory problems
  • Toothaches
  • Leg cramps
  • Back pain or cramping
  • Urinary or genital irritation

Difference Between Sympathetic and Phantom Pregnancy

Phantom pregnancy, also referred to as pseudocyesis is often confused with couvade syndrome. However, pseudocyesis is really a recognized mental disorder and has been classified as a somatic symptom disorder in the diagnostic and statistical manual of mental disorders. Research has shown this condition results from a strong desire to conceive and is thus commonly observed to happen in couples experiencing infertility. Women affected by this problem become believing that are pregnant, even if are not. They may tend to show pregnancy-related symptoms like light or no periods, swollen breasts and stomach, feeling fetal movement, morning sickness, and sometimes even labor pains at the estimated due date.


There is no definitive research to make the existence, causes, and treatment of couvade syndrome. Also, no sufficient research to point why some males are more susceptible to couvade than others. However, some experts believe that men whose partners have observed it. Some research indicates that couvade syndrome might be associated with culture as it is more widespread in certain areas like Australia and Poland. There is also very little research on couvade syndrome among LGBTQ couples. The prospects of future research on couvade seem fairly low. It is often not considered a significant issue and individuals experiencing and enjoying the condition often fail even to notice it or associate it using the pregnancy.


Since the couvade syndrome isn't serious or even consistent and is temporary, there is no specific treatment. However, numerous strategies can aid with the alleviation of these symptoms. Men can try calming approaches like meditation, yoga, or therapy that will make them feel more relaxed. This can also aid in resolving other conditions which have been exacerbated by anxiety and stress. There's also medicines and herbal treatments that can help treat physical symptoms like nausea and labor pains. The symptoms usually disappear after pregnancy.


Couvade syndrome is a very common condition and it is perfectly normal to find help from a physician. Don't ignore symptoms, as it is essential to take care of the health when expecting. Ensure sufficient rest, stay with a well-balanced diet, avoid consuming drugs and alcohol, get some exercise regularly, and engage in stress-relief techniques.

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