How Does A Man Feel When His Wife Is Pregnant? (Does He Have Couvade Syndrome?)

A man might go through various emotions when his wife is pregnant. They might feel delighted, left out, have mixed feelings, or not feel excited. It greatly depends on whether they were expecting this pregnancy to take place or was it a surprise one. When a man feels too emotional or suffers pregnancy-like symptoms, he might have Couvade syndrome or sympathetic pregnancy. Though not a recognized medical condition, it’s common for those couples who have fought with infertility and pregnancy loss and have enough stress to trigger it. 

Knowing your wife is carrying your child can be quite extraordinary and even overwhelming to the point that a man starts feeling the same symptoms. Getting pregnant is lovely but also terrifying at the same time.

While a mother’s body changes and she goes through various emotions and ordeals to bring her child into the world, the father is equally happy and anxious. But somewhere down the line, men can feel excluded from this whole process.

While a man should feel excited by the new baby, sometimes that’s not the only emotion he might be going through. Let’s look at what a man feels when his wife is pregnant and to what extent these emotions go!

Feeling excited about the pregnancy

It’s the most beautiful feeling when you know your partner is pregnant and a baby of your own will come into this world. 

Most men are happy without a doubt from the initial stage as they await the arrival of their baby.

Feeling excited is natural as you indulge in the whole pregnancy experience from the beginning, from pregnancy appointments to helping your wife feel comfortable as much as possible.

It also shows pregnant women that their husbands are excited about the baby and are willing to support them whichever way they can. It brings you closer as a couple as you reinstate your faith in each other.

Mixed feelings about pregnancy

A husband is shocked as he stares at his pregnant wife's growing belly

Another common emotion to experience is to get mixed reactions to becoming a father. It can be equally exciting and terrifying to know that you’re going to bring a child into this world.

An unplanned pregnancy can often bring out this kind of reaction when you’re not fully ready, so this feeling of happiness and fear can happen.

As a father, it’s understandable to feel scared of a child’s emotional or financial responsibilities. You could doubt whether you can be a good father and how you will achieve it.

A man can feel a bag of emotions during this sensitive time. And even though the new child has made you wonder about new things and responsibilities, you also need to take care of your partner’s needs and mental health. 

You can’t let them down during this delicate time as they might be scared of this new change too.

Feeling left out of pregnancy

While fathers can be excited, one thing that’s not entirely under their control is feeling left out of the pregnancy process.

Sometimes pregnancy services can make fathers feel left out of the whole process of being pregnant. A man can be as interested as his wife and wish to participate in each milestone, including all appointments for his future child.

Men can feel incredibly left out during antenatal care appointments. But you have to understand your unborn baby and your wife will be more prioritized and cared for when it comes to giving attention. 

The role of fathers is to make themselves more involved in the process wherever they feel left out.

Introducing yourself and asking questions can make your wife, doctor, or staff know that you want to be more included. 

Bonus tip: keep your mobile phone silent to be more present at the moment, and don’t shy away from asking any questions, even dumb ones!

Not feeling excited about the pregnancy

A young man does not look excited after his partner shared a positive pregnancy result with him

You’re allowed to feel not so excited about the pregnancy announcement from your wife. While some men are not ready, others might have other issues causing this feeling.

It’s also acceptable not to feel so excited before your wife completes the 12-week mark and gets her first scan done to know about the baby. Some men automatically feel excited and more into pregnancy after passing the initial risky stage.

In such a case, you can let your wife know that the reason is due to the first stage, which is quite risky. Reassuring them that you’re worried about your unborn baby and want to know if everything is okay before getting too excited can help your partner understand your emotions better. 

Sometimes it also takes one crucial moment to get the father excited, like getting the first ultrasound done or even a first movement from the baby.

Not really into pregnancy

This feeling can stem from being unprepared for the pregnancy. Sometimes pregnancy can come as a surprise; in that case, neither the mom nor the father is ready to handle such a situation

It’s a delicate matter as this decision requires you and your partner to be on the same page. Neither can force the other to say yes or no about the decision.

In cases where the wife might be okay with the sudden pregnancy, and her husband isn’t can make him feel a strong emotion. 

It would be better for the father to take some time and dive into how they feel about their future plans and their partner’s emotions. A rash decision can quickly impact your relationship with your partner. 

Do you have sympathetic pregnancy?

A man is experiencing sympathetic pregnancy symptoms after his wife recently became pregnant

When an expectant father feels too many emotions as his wife is pregnant, he could be going through sympathetic pregnancy. 

If you feel physical symptoms like gas, abdominal pain, bloating, irritability, weight gain, and nausea while your partner is expecting, it’s known as Couvade syndrome or sympathetic pregnancy.

It’s temporary but is usually felt by the dads due to feeling empathic towards their pregnant partners. 

Psychological symptoms include reduced libido, restlessness, anxiety, or depression.

It can be confusing to understand this syndrome, and sometimes it doesn’t even feel real when you’re trying to grasp it. Medically speaking, it’s not a recognized disease nor a mental illness. But it’s real and felt by many expectant fathers across the world. 

What triggers it?

Empathy isn’t the only reason behind feeling the same symptoms as a mother; it could also stem from stress.

Stress is a common emotion a father can feel and go through this time, including financial worries, health concerns, and just general cold feet.

When stress levels rise in men, their testosterone levels decrease, leaving them with estrogen levels out of balance, creating these symptoms. Cortisol, a stress-related chemical, is also very prominent in them. 

It’s common in couples who have suffered from infertility or pregnancy loss.

How to deal with it?

When dealing with such emotions, you shouldn’t worry too much because it’s all temporary and not something you need to take pills for or do something special to get rid of.

Hanging out with your male friends and stressing less can eliminate this syndrome. Some men recover as soon as their baby is born.


How do husbands feel about the pregnant wife?

It depends on your relationship with your husband. But also about whether you are both on the same page about having a baby. 

Your husband can be ecstatic or not so happy depending on whether he wants to be a father or if he is expecting a pregnancy. It’s essential to be on the same page before planning a pregnancy. 

If it’s a surprise one, then you should both take time to understand how you feel about planning a family and what it means for you as a couple. 

Can my husband get pregnancy symptoms before me?

Couvade syndrome or sympathetic pregnancy happens to men when their partner is expecting a child.

In this syndrome, they might go through similar symptoms of pregnancy like:

– Gastrointestinal issues
– Heartburn
– Back pain, leg cramps
– Changes in appetite, weight gain
– Toothache
– Respiratory issues
– Problems with urination or genital discomfort
– Anxiety or depression
– Restlessness or sleeplessness
– Decreased libido

If your husband is experiencing any of these symptoms, you might want to get medical advice from your doctor.

In most cases, these symptoms disappear as soon as the baby is born.

Do men like it when their wife is pregnant?

The opinion is divided when it comes to this question.

Some men might find their wives the same attractive as before, some may find their wives even more beautiful, and others might not see them attractive.

This feeling depends on many factors, and if your husband doesn’t find you attractive anymore, that doesn’t mean he loves you any less. 

To summarise

Pregnancy is a beautiful time for parents. While mothers receive more attention and care during this time, their husbands must navigate independently.

As a father, they might go through different emotions and can feel extremely excited or still in the process of handling the sudden news depending on whether they were expecting the pregnancy to take place or not.

Men can even go to feeling emotions to an extent where they might go through sympathetic syndrome, where they have similar symptoms that their pregnant wife experiences. 

The important thing is to be on the same page with your wife and let each other know about your emotions and fears. This way, you can move forward knowing how to handle things better in the future!

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Hi! I’m Saumya, writer and editor at Marriage & Bliss. “To be fully seen by somebody, then, and be loved anyhow—this is a human offering that can border on miraculous.” —Elizabeth Gilbert. Every marriage faces pitfalls, be they internal or external, and with my words, I hope to help couples find possible solutions and mend their broken relationships. After all, a successful marriage requires falling in love many times, always with the same person.
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