My Husband is Pregnant - Sympathetic Pregnancy
While it is physically impossible for a man to become pregnant, many men experience symptoms very similar to those experienced by their pregnant partner. There are enough recorded cases of sympathetic pregnancies to classify it as a genuine, albeit psychosomatic, condition. Several different theories on the causes of sympathetic pregnancy have been put forth.
Most of the theories on the causes of sympathetic pregnancy are psychological in nature. One theory states that it is a way for the male to establish a role for himself in the child’s life before the child is even born. Another states that a sympathetic pregnancy is the direct result of envy on the part of the male over the female’s unique ability to give birth. The final psychological theory puts forth that this condition is the result of changing gender roles in the relationship. This is considered to be especially true if the female is the dominant partner in the relationship.
First off, a sympathetic pregnancy takes place whenever the male half of a couple that is expecting begins to experience signs of being pregnant himself. There is no known cure for a sympathetic pregnancy except childbirth. The symptoms of a sympathetic pregnancy include nausea or indigestion, changes in appetite, changes in weight, and, in some cases, even contractions and labor pains during delivery. This condition is experienced by almost 80% of men who have a pregnant partner to some degree.
There is also one theory that allows for a completely physical cause for a sympathetic pregnancy. Some claim that the long term proximity of a member of the opposite sex has the effect of causing changes in the balance of testosterone and estrogen in the male partner, creating the symptoms of pregnancy.
Nobody knows for sure what the various causative factors are that contribute to a sympathetic pregnancy. Regardless of the causes, the discomfort felt by the male is very real and sometimes becomes so severe that he has to take a leave of absence from work.
In the past, doctors have attributed sympathetic pregnancy to depression or anxiety over the impending birth of a child. Even now, it is not a simple thing to get a diagnosis of sympathetic pregnancy because all of the signs and symptoms experienced by the male can be signs of other health concerns that need to be ruled out. The cause may be psychosomatic, but the symptoms are very real.