Are sympathy pains real?

Answer

To the men who experience them, the pain and other symptoms which occur as a result of a condition known as Couvade syndrome are very real. Indeed, nine out of every ten expectant fathers experience some symptom which is normally attributed to pregnancy.

The symptoms themselves do not stop at labor pains. Many men are known to display increased appetite and unusual cravings, right alongside the mother. While there is no physiological cause for these symptoms in most cases they are still a very real result of a very emotionally and psychologically stressful event in the lives of parents. The exact trigger is not entirely agreed upon in the medical community. Some point to a feeling of envy on the part of the father, even feeling pushed aside, while others suggest that the symptoms are brought on by the weight gain experienced by men who sympathy-eat. Added fat converts testosterone to estrogen and can lead to a myriad of symptoms, including mood swings, muscle atrophy and fatigue, as well as further weight gain. While there is no concrete cure for these symptoms, doctors often encourage expectant couples to exercise together during a pregnancy to help build camaraderie and maintain healthy weight.

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