What are sympathy symptoms? An aspect of pregnancy that is common but not often spoken about, ‘sympathy symptoms’ are experienced by many expecting dads while their partner is pregnant. The following excerpt from Birthing Naturally, a book by Dr Mahima Bakshi explains the concept further while discussing what these symptoms can be and why Mr Husband aka dad-to-be might be experiencing them.
Feeling curiously . . . pregnant? As many as half, or even more of expectant dads suffer from some degree of sympathetic pregnancy during their partners’ gestation. Symptoms include nausea and vomiting, abdominal pain, appetite changes, weight gain, food cravings, constipation, leg cramps, dizziness, fatigue and mood swings.
Any number of emotions in your psyche can trigger these symptoms, from sympathy (you wish to feel her pain, and so you do), anxiety (you are stressed out about the pregnancy or about becoming a parent) to jealousy (she’s under the spotlight and you want to share it). But there’s more to sympathy symptoms than just sympathy. In fact, there are actually physical factors in play.
Believe it or not, your partner’s female hormones aren’t the only ones surging these days. Research shows that pregnancy and the postpartum period step up a father’s supply too.
Although you and many others like you aren’t churning enough hormones to grow breasts, you might produce enough to grow a little belly or salivate at the sight of your favorite burger or run to the fridge for a midnight pickle fest. These hormonal fluctuations aren’t random or a sign of Mother Nature’s twisted sense of humor. They are designed to get you in touch with your nurturing side. This not only prepares you for diaper changing, but helps you to cope with the changes that both of you are facing now.
These hormonal shifts make it easier for you to channel those sometimes uncomfortable feelings into productive pursuits. Apply your sympathy in cooking dinner; work through your anxieties by talking them out with your partner and friends. These symptoms will soon disappear after delivery. Some others may crop up in the postpartum period. And don’t stress out if you don’t have a single sick or achy day during your partner’s pregnancy. Not suffering from morning sickness or putting on weight doesn’t mean that you don’t empathize and identify with your partner, or that you are not destined for nurturing. You just have to find other ways of expressing your feelings. You can also practice breathing exercises and follow a healthy diet to stay fit during this phase!
Disclaimer: The following extract has been excerpted with permission from Penguin Random House India.
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