Pregnancy symptoms are more often than not associated with moms-to-be alone. But believe it or not, fathers-to-be go through their own share of changes! While moms-to-be experience many physical and emotional changes like weight gain, hormonal changes, discomfort etc. Fathers-to-be also seem to experience what they call is the sympathetic pregnancy or the couvade syndrome! Now couvade is a French word, which when translated means "We are Pregnant". And isn't that what most couples say these days!?
A study which evaluated changes in four hormones during pregnancy, namely testosterone, cortisol, estradiol and progesterone, was done on a small group of couples. Women naturally recorded substantial changes in all the hormones during pregnancy. Men however, recorded a drop in testosterone and estradiol!
Testosterone is actually called the manly hormone and one of the explanations given was that when a man finds out that he is going to be a father, he actually starts to become more careful, more cautious and gentler! This is basically just some psychological preparation for the dramatic role change that is soon expected. Since this was a small study, more research is needed to verify the same.
However, fathers-to-be do undergo some surprising symptoms along with their pregnant wives and your spouse might also have some or all of these at some point during the pregnancy! Here are some, you can expect…
Anxiety: Restlessness, fatigue and pregnancy worries can all plague a father-to-be! While the father might always try to be the pillar of strength and positivity for the mom, his own emotions could also be acting up. It is therefore a good idea to discuss your concerns with your partner and encourage him to do the same. It’s just fine to let your better half see this sensitive side of you, and for you to see his! You should also encourage your spouse to join a group of other expectant dads in a prenatal class.
Nausea: Among women this is because of hormonal changes. Fathers cannot blame hormones for the feeling of nausea. What really happens is that when anxiety takes over, your husband might eat for comfort and this may not be the right foods. That in turn can cause an upset stomach. Clearly then, fathers-to-be also need to express themselves and share their concerns. So encourage him to talk to you or his trusted allies. Make sure he eats healthy and exercises, as do you!
Mood Swings: You yourself will go through some mood swings as your pregnancy hormones kick in, especially between week six to twelve. From being happy in one moment to be crabby and cranky the next, it’s all very possible. Handling these mood swings for any expecting father can be a handful. Besides the hormones, it’s also anxiety which takes over for both men and women and this can cause mood swings even in the father-to-be. This is when you both need to be patient and understanding with each other.
Changes in your sex life: For women this can actually be a dramatic change. While some women experience a sexual overdrive during pregnancy some others may feel very indifferent. You might also be asked to abstain by your doctor for medical reasons. However, it is important to keep the fire of intimacy alive during pregnancy. Some hand holding, some cuddling or even some intimate messages or gestures can keep both of you close!
Weight Gain: Some men also gain about 5-7 kilos during pregnancy. This is mainly due to the rise in anxiety levels. Anxiety makes people snack for comfort and in the process increases the levels of cortisol in the system which results in weight gain, especially around the belly. This is exactly what happens to your husband! Keep healthy snacks available for the both of you and ensure you two get some exercise on a daily basis. In fact if your doctor permits, you both should take a regular walk together.
Aches and Pains: Why your spouse experiences backaches or headaches at the same time as you have them, does not seem to have any physical and scientific explanation. It is purely psychological. Many partners report these physical symptoms along with their pregnant spouses.
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