Couvade comes from the French verb couver, meaning ‘to hatch’. It has come to describe expectant fathers experiencing a sympathetic pregnancy. The symptoms are often experienced by more than 20% and in some studies, up to 80% of expectant fathers. So, you are not going crazy dads! These symptoms are real and often begin in the 2nd trimester of pregnancy.
Some of the symptoms that the fathers may have include: food cravings, weight gain, nausea, vomiting, changes in sleep patterns, changes in sex drive, and dreams about being a parent. Many people attribute these symptoms to ‘nervousness’ about becoming a father though there is some evidence to support that fathers may have some hormonal fluctuations in the weeks and days leading up to the birth. There are some studies that suggest father’s who experience these symptoms may develop a stronger attachment to the baby.
The cure….the birth of your baby of course! In the meantime when the cravings hit, go with them. Get some rest. Prepare for the changes ahead and enjoy the last weeks of pregnancy with your partner. The symptoms will soon be replaced by the overwhelming joy of cradling your newborn in your arms.