Couvade, weight gain and other gems of expectant fatherhood ~ Almost a dad

Couvade, weight gain and other gems of expectant fatherhood

With the addition of ice cream as the fifth basic food group of the pregnant household, it can be difficult for father to avoid any collateral weight gain. Especially during the second trimester when women tend to feel better and are able to shop for themselves (not as much morning sickness, but not yet immobile), do not be surprised as to what types or quantities of food may appear at your house. Nor should you be surprised by the times at which she chooses to eat. She will ask you to join her and before you know it, having waffles at 10:30 pm seems completely reasonable… like it did last night.

She’s going to become an eating buddy; like a geriatric version of that kid in college who always had a fifth of Jack Daniels ready at a moment’s notice, but with peanut butter cups instead.

This leads me to the topic of paternal weight gain and other pregnancy symptoms wrapped up under the blanket of the Couvade syndrome. This is basically a set of sympathetic changes in expectant fathers that mimic certain aspects of pregnancy, the most notable of which is weight gain. I have personally lost 13 pounds since the beginning of my wife’s pregnancy, but it’s not for lack of trying and the pusher-like tactics of my wife. Regardless, this change in diet is one of the reasons why exercise is so important for pregnant dads. The catch-22 is that although your caloric intake will increase, your free time will decrease leaving you less time for exercise.

A very easy way to get some exercise during the day is to go for at least a one mile walk during your lunch time. Use the stairs instead of elevators, walk in place of driving or riding when possible and drink plenty of water. The water helps your body metabolize fats and improves your digestive system, skin and overall health.

Other symptoms of Couvade include insomnia, indigestion, nausea, changes in appetite and aches and pains. 1

Some of this could easily be attributed to proximity to a pregnant woman who, for example, tosses in her sleep and wakes her partner at the same time. Changes in stress, diet, schedule and exercise levels could easily account for weight gain, indigestion and many of the other apparently pregnant-sympathetic experiences.

Regardless, it is important to make sure you’re eating healthy and taking care of yourself or you’ll never be able to manage caring for her.

1. Wikipedia,


Lance said...

This phenomenon was news to me. I even laughed at the idea of empathy pregnancey. But in month four, it seems that my weight gain of approximently 15 pounds is proof positive that this is no folklore. I hadn't even realized that she had been pushing food, until she said, "Hey want some ice cream?" late one night. I apparently looked unsure so she followed up with, "Come on, the first one's free."

Anonymous said...

I was just recovering from weight gain from our first child, when we got pregnant again. Its definitely a real issue and something I had never heard of until it was too later. Anyhow, just get a personal trainer if you can and work it out through the pregnancy. Remember, when she has the baby, she will lose a whole lot of water and a 6-9 pound baby pretty however will still be fat!

Simon said...

I know all about this, I have gained about 28lbs & my fiancee is only at 21 weeks!
I cycle to work (about 30 mins ride) but even this doesn't seem to be helping. I'm starting to look more pregnant than she is!!!!

Anonymous said...

Yup +1 per week so far. I have switched to salads for lunch and oatmeal for breakfast but the evenings and snacks at night are killing me!


Lou said...

This phenomenon is so true I didn't believe it until now. My girlfriend is pregnant with our first baby and she's only at 12 weeks and I'm gaining weight faster than she is. I shot up from 160 to 170 literally overnight and I'm very active. I'm 29, work out at the gym routinely, play basketball, run all the time, on my feet a lot due to my job as a rooky police officer and a sergeant in the army reserves. My six pack has literally disappeared and my belly is the same size as my girl's and everyone is starting to notice and makes comments like damn bruh you must've got somebody pregnant lol. I find myself snacking every night now. This is so true.