The convent: when dad thinks he’s pregnant

Clár ábhair

An clochar: nuair a cheapann daidí go bhfuil sé ag iompar clainne

Future dads who grow at the same rate as their pregnant wife, or even suffer from nausea and mood disorders? This is not a myth. This phenomenon even has a name, the Couvade, and it would concern nearly 1 in 5 men. What you need to know about these surprising male nervous pregnancies.

What is the Couvade?

Couvade syndrome is a totally involuntary psychosomatic reaction that manifests itself in men (or women) whose partner is expecting a child. The English translation of “sympathetic pregnancy” is quite telling: the person with Couvade Syndrome seems to empathize with the pregnancy so much that they develop certain signs of it themselves.

Symptoms of Couvade

The best known and most visible symptom of brood is weight gain, which is most often localized to the new abdomen. But it can be expressed in many other ways: nausea, fatigue, mood disorders, digestive pain, back pain, food cravings … These manifestations generally occur at the end of the first trimester and then subside during the second trimester before often peak at the end of pregnancy.

The causes of the convent: where does it come from?

The reasons that can explain a covade vary greatly from one man to another. This nervous pregnancy can reflect concerns about the good progress of pregnancy and childbirth, the health of the baby. It can also express the fear of not being up to the task as a parent or of not finding your place in this new family configuration. Without going so far as to talk about jealousy, the convent can also be the manifestation of a certain frustration of not being able to live what the future mother is going through.

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How far can pregnancy symptoms go for a future dad?

Since the early 2000s, several studies have shown hormonal fluctuations in some future dads, including a drop in progesterone and / or an increase in prolactin, the hormone that starts lactation.

How to overcome the covade?

Depending on his symptoms, the future dad can adopt the same remedies as his companion, whether it is to reduce nausea, acid reflux or back pain. To fight against the installation of extra pounds, it is also in his interest to imitate the mother-to-be by eating more balanced and moving more.

Basically, the priority is to allow the future dad to verbalize what he is experiencing, what he feels. Even if it is sometimes less natural for men, he should be able to talk about all this with a friend, a parent, a colleague … This will allow him to to put things into perspective, to realize that he is far from being an isolated case, not to feel guilty, to better understand what he is going through and perhaps to find ways to live the pregnancy better. Haptonomy, because it allows you to communicate through gestures with your future baby, often turns out to be a precious help. It can also be useful to participate in a discussion group intended for future dads, more and more maternity hospitals are offering them. Getting involved in a very concrete way by redoing the baby’s room, spending hours on forums to make the best choice of childcare accessories, preparing invitations is also a way to feel valued in your role as father. Finally, the future mother obviously has a role to play by being attentive to what her companion is going through.

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If all this is not enough, if a real discomfort sets in, do not hesitate to talk about it to the midwife, the gynecologist, the maternity psychologist …


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