Couvade Syndrome: Men Can Share Symptoms with Their Pregnant Partners

Couvade Syndrome: Men Can Share Symptoms with Their Pregnant Partners

Last update: 29 April, 2018

Many pregnant women experience heartburn, fluid retention, nausea, etc. But did you know that men experience changes as well? This is known as the Couvade Syndrome.

In fact, some of men’s symptoms are the same as those of their pregnant partners.

Pregnancy is a time of major changes in a woman’s body. Our size and weight change, our emotions change, our appetite changes, even our hair and nails change! And all these changes can have an impact on our partner.

Couvade Syndrome

Couvade Syndrome, also known as sympathetic pregnancy, is not at all uncommon among men whose partners are pregnant. The name comes from French, and the term “couvade” means “to incubate.”

These men don’t experience physical discomfort, but rather an emotional connection with their partners. 

This profound connection causes them to become more aware of certain pregnancy symptoms and also experience some changes.

Below you’ll find some of the symptoms that men can experience during their partner’s pregnancy. The empathy they feel towards their wives or girlfriends causes them to feel some of the same emotions and symptoms.

Enjoy the miracle of giving life to a being that you will love for the rest of your life


Symptoms of Couvade Syndrome in men


A pregnant woman can become anxious in certain moments and for diverse reasons during gestation. These have to do with physical changes, the pending arrival of her baby, the desire to be a good mother, health, etc.

Men also experience the same anxiety while awaiting the birth of a son or daughter.

They worry about the responsibility of raising a child, the loss of sleep during the first months, family finances, etc. These are concerns he can share with his partner.

Both men and women can feel unsettled during pregnancy. Their nerves may have to do with fears about their child’s health, labor, childbirth, etc.

In order for men to feel more secure about themselves, it’s important they’re involved in every step of the process.

Birthing classes and child-raising classes are a great way for future fathers to build up their emotional confidence.

Mood changes

Mood changes are a common and well-known symptom that women experience during pregnancy. This isn’t just due to anxiety and discomfort, but also because of hormonal changes that their bodies undergo as a result of gestation.

While men don’t experience the same hormonal changes or other physical changes, they still may experience mood swings during their partner’s pregnancy.

Future dads can experience new emotions that catch them off guard, especially during the first and last weeks of the pregnancy. 

Worries, nerves, the thought of caring for a tiny newborn… All of this can make men experience a variety of emotions: anxiety, sadness, happiness, peace, irritability, stress, tension, tenderness…

Perhaps they don’t always share these emotions very openly. Nevertheless, they’re present on the inside and need to be managed in a healthy way.


Perhaps some men simply can’t put up with their pregnant partners being the only ones that complain during this time period. Therefore – consciously or subconsciously – they come up with some affliction to complain about and receive attention for.

Pregnant women often experience back pain, neck pain, headaches, and cramping. Whether it be jealousy, extreme empathy, or pure coincidence, some men begin to suffer the same infirmities.

Of course, when women experience pain and discomfort during pregnancy, it’s due to the physical changes and hormonal fluctuations related to gestation.

However, there is no physical cause behind the pain or discomfort associated with Couvade Syndrome. Rather, they appear to be some sort of identification mechanism – a subconscious way to connect or identify with their partners.

Though men don’t carry their children during pregnancy, they are nonetheless future parents.

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This text is provided for informational purposes only and does not replace consultation with a professional. If in doubt, consult your specialist.