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Can My Partner Experience Pregnancy Symptoms?

Is your partner complaining of morning sickness? Are you struggling through pregnancy but your partner thinks they have it worse? Are you sick of hearing your partner complaining of "pregnancy...

Is your partner complaining of morning sickness? Are you struggling through pregnancy but your partner thinks they have it worse? Are you sick of hearing your partner complaining of "pregnancy symptoms"? Surely it's not true. 

It is. 

Article Contents

What is Couvade Syndrome?

Couvade syndrome, otherwise known as sympathetic pregnancy, is when the male begins to experience pregnancy symptoms such as nausea, mood swings and bloating. This is an involuntary manifestation of pregnancy in the male party whilst his partner is pregnant. The male will also adapt the same behaviour as the mother whilst pregnant. 

There can be a number of reasons, however none currently medically proven, that couvade syndrome can occur. 


In the first couple of months of pregnancy, all the changes are happening to the woman and the male is not yet involved all that much. This can leave the male feeling like he's been pushed to the side and he's no longer involved, causing him to feel envious. This can lead his brain to adapt to the new way of pregnancy. You can try including him during the little changes. 


As a male, their testosterone levels can decrease due to stress or anxiety, especially during stressful times that they have no control over. The decrease in testosterone can cause pregnancy-like symptoms and this making them experience mood swings, bloating or even cravings. 


As the female is adapting to the new life as a pregnant woman, the male will find himself adapting. Maybe a little too much. If the woman is having unhealthy cravings and you tend to eat together, the male is going to be eating unhealthy too. This can cause a natural weight gain and can also make you feel lethargic. A main symptom of pregnancy. Also, the female isn't going to be sleeping much at night. Unless the male is taking to the guest bedroom, he's not sleeping much either. This causing a tired feeling. 

What Are the Symptoms of Couvade Syndrome?

The symptoms the male can experience are virtually identical to what a woman will experience during pregnancy, except the obvious breast pain, irritated nipples and enlarged breasts. Below are a few symptoms your partner could be experiencing:

  • Weight gain, 
  • Appetite changes, 
  • Tooth ache, 
  • Mood swings, 
  • Fatigue, 
  • Leg cramps, 
  • Abdominal pains, 
  • Back pains, 
  • Nausea, 
  • Swelling and 
  • Insomnia. 


What Should I Do If My Partner Shows Signs of Couvade Syndrome?

Couvade syndrome is nothing that has a cure or a button to switch it off. Don't be alarmed, this shouldn't last the whole 9 months. I know you may think the last thing you want to be doing is showing sympathy to your partner when you're the one carrying the child. But this can be dealt with easily and there are things that can be done to help reduce this. 

🗣️ Talk it out, hug it out 

Ensuring you and your partner are vocal about the changes during pregnancy can help keep everyone aware of feelings. This can make things easier to deal with. 

🙋 Be prepared

Ensuring you and your partner are prepared for pregnancy and the changes it brings can help make the transition easier and try to reduce the amount of stress during this process. 

💑 Get them involved 

You should try and both be involved as many things as possible. Decorating the nursery, planning a gender reveal and just being at the scans should be things that both parties should be involved in. 

👫 Couple before parents

Engage in activities as a couple. Keep the romance there and don't let the pregnancy take over. You will struggle to find time for each other when your little one comes along. Remember you were a couple before becoming parents. Be the couple you know you are.

So, the answer is yes. Yes, your partner can experience sympathy symptoms during the pregnancy. Although you probably won't be getting much sympathy because we all know that men experience pain 10 times worse than anyone. Or so they like to remind us, daily.They will probably act like their dying on a daily basis and you may even get a glimpse of life with a newborn.

Best of luck to all you women out there. 


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