Most expectant fathers are afflicted with at least one of their partner’s symptoms: mood swings, nausea, fatigue, food cravings, aversions to certain smells and weight gain. It’s known as couvade, and modern science shows it’s down to prolactin, a hormone linked to pregnancy. Prolactin is found in both sexes, but it naturally rises in women when they are pregnant- it makes the milk flow, slows the metabolism, resulting in weight gain, heightens senses and triggers bonding and care-giving behaviours.
A Canadian psychologist Anne Storey and zoologist Katherine Wynne-Edwards have showed prolactin goes up in expectant fathers, too. In a study published in the Journal of Evolution and Human Behaviour, it was found that many fathers had prolactin concentrations that mirrored the soaring levels of their partners late in pregnancy. The more elevated a man’s prolactin levels were the more extreme his couvade was. The rise is thought to be in reaction to the sights and scents of a pregnant partner.
Changes in women and their partners during pregnancy coupled with increased stress levels can put a strain on a relationship. It is also common for problems to continue after the baby is born, such as people going off sex with their partner, pain with sex or simply not enjoying it anymore. Dr Vanhegan, the Simply Better Birth’s Psychosexual Psychotherapist offers one to one psychosexual counselling for couples and individuals.
If you want more information about feeding your baby or any advice at all from a private midwife in the UK please contact Simply Better Births on 0844 880 1084 or firstname.lastname@example.org.