Imagine if your significant other called into work sick because of morning sickness – not yours, but his.
As if man flu wasn’t bad enough, it turns out some men really do go out in sympathy with their partners through the nausea, fatigue and weight gain. Not that that’s going to make you feel any better when you’re both reaching for a bucket.
As mum-to-be Charlotte Allsopp puts it, “he’s supposed to be looking after me”. Her fiance, Harry Ashby, was diagnosed with couvade syndrome, or sympathetic pregnancy – when men experience the same pregnancy symptoms as their partner.
As she has suffered morning sickness and food cravings, so has he. As her breasts have grown, so have his. He has even had to take time off work because of constant nausea.
“I hated the feelings at first but now I think every man should go through it because it helps you understand what your missus is facing,” he tells London’s Metro.
Ms Allsopp – who is due in January – says while she gets tired of looking after her partner, she’s “glad he is experiencing this because it shows him what it’s like”.
The Mayo Clinic in the US says couvade syndrome is common, but not recognised as a mental illness or disease. It’s most likely to occur in the first or third trimesters.
A 2010 study found about 31 per cent of Australian men suffered couvade syndrome. It said 45 per cent experienced “tiredness”, 37 per cent felt stressed or anxious, a quarter gained weight and 7 per cent reported “abdominal distension” – including phantom pregnancy.