Nothing changes your life quite like pregnancy. While it’s easy to see how your body changes as your baby grows in utero, what you may not be expecting to see is how much your partner is affected by the pregnancy as well. At first, it may seem like your hubby is just mirroring what you’re going through, but there is some legitimacy to what he’s experiencing. While a man can never truly understand what it’s like to grow another human inside of their body for ten months, there is some science to back up the idea of sympathy pregnancy symptoms. You may notice your partner is gaining weight, more emotional, taking on a new appreciation for baby gear, researching parenting styles, and other strange habits that weren’t part of his nature before the pregnancy.
As parenting.com notes, this phenomenon is actually related to a condition called Couvade syndrome. While not all sympathy pregnancy symptoms are caused by Couvade syndrome, many of the physical aspects can be attributed to it. If your hubby hasn’t been displaying any of these, don’t feel alarmed or worried, if anything, his normalcy may help you to feel more relaxed as the months go on and your body goes through the dramatic changes that are the cornerstone of pregnancy. Feeling curious about what your baby daddy might be experiencing and if it’s legit? Take a look at these 14 facts about men and pregnancy symptoms and see if any of these examples your dad-to-be.
14 Baby Expo Obsessed
Like everything else today, there are endless amounts of conventions and parent centric events you and your partner can attend together. While many of these expos and boutiques offer plenty of free samples, good information, and some good discounts, they certainly aren’t a necessity in preparing for your baby’s arrival. If you find your partner is enamored by the endless possibilities presented at these baby events, grab some pamphlets and keep him moving toward the next thing. It’s easier to keep him from thinking you’ll “need” a specific baby item if he’s not staring at it for twenty minutes.
If you haven’t experienced pregnancy induced cravings, they’re much like typical food (and beverage) cravings, but they have a more insistent quality to them. It’s easy to have a craving come on and just feel that you need to have it now. It may seem strange to see your husband indulging in a tub of Ben and Jerry’s after work because he just “needed” it, but his cravings can feel as real and immediate as yours. While he has no physical pregnancy to compare the cravings to, his brain is giving him that same “give it to me now” response.
12 Making Baby Food From Scratch
If you come home from a long day of work at eight months pregnant to find your husband with a full spread of freshly pureed veggies in ice cube trays spread across the kitchen counter, you know you’ve got a sympathy pregnant symptom on your hands. When you ask him what he’s doing, he may eagerly show you the various combinations of baby food he’s put together before going into an all out rant about why making your baby’s food is the best thing to do. While this baby-food-induced mania can be a bit comical, let the phase run it’s course (assuming he cleans up everything).
11 Mood Swings
Does it surprise you how emotional your partner is getting over a car commercial? Or how he’s moved to tears simply because you made him a cup of coffee when you got yours this morning? Mood swings may be a common pregnancy symptom (thanks hormones!), but surprise! your partner can have them too. This sympathy symptom may be a bit easier to understand than others — pregnancy marks a new chapter in your lives. The excitement (and stress) of bringing a new person into the world is daunting. The best thing to do is to be supportive of each other and try not to take any emotional outbursts to heart.
10 Anxious About Your Safety While Pregnant
It’s not uncommon for men to feel protective over their partner. No matter how independent and self sufficient you may be, your husband may feel as though it’s his job to protect you as best he can. When you become pregnant, you may find your husband has taken his self-imposed duty to a whole new level. He may be overly concerned with your comfort, or insistent on calling the O.B. simply because you tripped over the dog’s chew toy. It’s annoying to have a partner who’s overly anxious about your safety during your pregnancy, but know his intentions are good.
It’s hard to have sympathy for your partner complaining about his utter exhaustion when he isn’t up fifteen times a night to pee or is launched upright in bed from a deep sleep from a random charley horse, but fatigue and insomnia are common sympathy pregnancy symptoms for men. Whether it’s the stress of how the two of you will provide for this new person entering your lives, worrying about you, or a simple inability to fall asleep, your partner may be getting as little sleep as you are. If your partner simply can’t get to sleep, have them visit their doctor. You both need to sleep as best you can.
8 Higher Blood Pressure
It’s no surprise that parents-to-be may be stressed by the idea of having a baby. The excitement can easily be matched by the realization that you are responsible for an entire person. All this responsibility combined with the speed with which the months are flying by may leave your man feeling stressed. As the American Heart Association website notes, stress releases hormones in our body that signal the “fight or flight” mode in our bodies. This elevates our blood pressure as our hearts pump blood faster. If your partner is consistently having blood pressure spikes, they should see their doctor.
7 Insisting You Both Become Ultra Healthy
Knowing you have a baby on the way can sometimes be all the push your partner needs to make healthier lifestyle choices. While being proactive about their health is great, sometimes dads-to-be take their get-healthy attitude to the extreme. You may notice your partner buying organic foods, ditching junk food, exercising more, or questioning how safe it is for you to join in activities in the name of your new baby. If he becomes too obsessed with being healthy, have your partner come to your next Midwife or OBGYN appointment so he can ask questions and get some reassurance from your doctor.
6 Buying Expensive Baby Gadgets
Few guys can turn down the temptation to go gadget shopping. Your partner may be one of those guys that only needs the slightest provocation to justify dropping a sizable amount of money on the latest top-end technology. Having a baby opens the gateway for all kinds of high-end technology. While some items like a baby monitor with video or an electric baby swing are helpful, many items are marketed toward new parents who don’t know any better and are willing to drop whatever price necessary for their unborn child. Save those receipts and reassure him your baby will survive without a $200 baby toy.
5 Organizing the House (Nesting)
Toward the end of pregnancy, many women feel the need to make their house look as clean and organized as possible. This is known as nesting. The idea is that we know our bodies are preparing for birth, so we want our homes to be as inviting and ready for baby as possible. What you may not expect is to see your partner rearranging your entire living room and making a designated play area for the baby. If your partner feels the need to organize everything and help get ready for baby, let them do the hard work and use the opportunity to relax for a while.
4 Taking Child Birthing Classes
Your friends who are pregnant are having a hard time getting their partner to acknowledge that their due date is fast approaching, but not yours. Your partner was the one to call the hospital and register you for couple’s child birthing classes. He took notes. Asked questions. Now he’s even resorted to watching A Baby Story to get himself ready for your baby’s arrival. His enthusiasm may seem strange, but some people simply like feeing that they’re as well researched as possible. Still, nothing can truly prepare you for childbirth (or parenting), it’s simply something that has to be experienced first hand.
3 Google Dad (Know It All)
Feeling as though there isn’t much for him to do for you with the pregnancy, your partner may take to the internet and bookstore to make himself feel more “ready” for baby’s arrival. Armed with his trusty search engine of choice, your partner has gone from curious parent-to-be to an all out “expert” on all varieties of parenting methods. If your partner is really getting under your skin with his constant goggling and parenting research, find some common parenting interests and look into them together. This will curb his appetite for knowledge while unifying your future parenting plans.
2 He’s Become an Expert on Parenting Styles
Almost as annoying as the Google Parent is the parent-to-be who has endlessly researched every parenting method to the point of exhaustion before declaring that they have discovered the single best parenting style for your future baby. If your partner has fallen into this trap of parenting research, calmly listen to your partner and find what you can agree on in parenting strategies. The important thing for both of you to remember is no matter how much your ideals align with a specific parenting method, your unborn child is an individual who may not respond the best to your preferred parenting practices.
1 Weight Gain
Whether it’s from a decrease in activity, medications, stress, or simply indulging in cravings and eating less healthfully than normal, or a response to the pregnancy itself, your partner may start to gain weight during your pregnancy. As one of the hallmarks of Couvade syndrome, this pregnancy related weight gain can occur to expecting dads as the months of pregnancy move on. While weight gain is necessary for expecting mothers, staying active and eating healthy during your pregnancy will help encourage your partner to be active with you,keeping them healthier and setting you both up for good eating and exercise habits post-pregnancy.
References: American Heart Association