I often hear when asking a pregnant mom in labor to “breathe, push, breathe, push” that her partner says “I’m almost there!” While the partner isn’t pregnant they’re similar symptoms to bare.
A pregnant mom manages cravings, cramps, nausea, and pain. And if that weren’t enough, I imagine adding the worry of her mate feeling the same.
More than a few “dads-to-be” go through what labor and delivery nurses see as “sympathetic pregnancy.” 1 in 10 partners share major symptoms while 1 in 5 have at least minor empathy. Also known as Couvade syndrome, Couvade comes from the French word couver, meaning “to incubate.” Partners may feel like they’re incubating, but they sure aren’t delivering on any date.
By their partner’s third month of pregnancy sympathy symptoms appear, and climax in the final weeks as birth comes near. Beside physical pregnancy symptoms “expecting partners” have emotional symptoms too. Including sleep disruptions, mood swings, irritability, depression, and reduced libido.
When a pregnant mom’s hormonal changes are compared to levels of sympathetic mates, hormone levels, particularly prolactin and cortisol, often mirror one another, though at different rates. While these changes produce a host of sympathetic pregnancy signs, the good news is most create emotional bonds that make the birthing moment a time that truly shines.
The most effective management for a sympathetic pregnancy is to encourage the partner to feel they’re an active and vital part of the journey. Participating comes in many forms, from attending childbirth classes, to providing mom support while lying on a birthing gurney.
When it comes to the couvade syndrome sympathetic symptoms are common and rea acknowledgment is certainly kindful healing in how folks feel. It’s a Funny Feeling to know expecting mates usually experience anxiety and FEAR…Circumstances where prenatal classes and family support keep couples engaged rather than allowing sympathetic symptoms to INTERFERE.
Copyright Alan P. Xenakis, MD, Doc X MD and Audra RN Funny Feelings©