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Couvade syndrome: Is sympathetic pregnancy real?By Mayo Clinic staff
Original Article: http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/couvade-syndrome/AN02137
- With Mayo Clinic endocrinologist
Todd B. Nippoldt, M.D.read biographyclose window
Todd B. Nippoldt, M.D.Todd Nippoldt, M.D.
Dr. Todd Nippoldt is a board-certified specialist in internal medicine and endocrinology and metabolism. He has special expertise in the area of hormone disorders affecting the pituitary and adrenal glands as well as the testes and ovaries. He has been a member of the Mayo Clinic staff since 1988.
He's a consultant in the Division of Endocrinology, Metabolism and Nutrition and works with patients who have disorders of the hormone-producing glands. Common disorders include diabetes, thyroid problems, osteoporosis and elevated cholesterol levels.
He's also involved in andrology, the study of male hormonal disorders, male infertility and male sexual dysfunction, and is an assistant professor of medicine at College of Medicine, Mayo Clinic.
Dr. Nippoldt, a St. Paul, Minn., native, has also contributed to "Mayo Clinic Health Letter," the "Mayo Clinic Family Health Book" and a Mayo Clinic CD-ROM. He's a fellow in the American College of Physicians and a member of the American Society for Reproductive Medicine, the American Society of Andrology, The Endocrine Society, The Pituitary Society and the American Association of Clinical Endocrinologists.
"I have found that those patients who have gone to the Internet and obtained accurate medical information come to their appointment with me very well informed, and the discussions regarding the evaluation and management of their condition are very productive and satisfying," he says.
"The key, however, is obtaining accurate medical information. As a medical editor, I hope to be able to ensure that accurate, relevant and up-to-date information is available for patients and their families."
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Couvade syndrome: Is sympathetic pregnancy real?
What can you tell me about Couvade syndrome? Can men really experience sympathetic pregnancy symptoms?
from Todd B. Nippoldt, M.D.
Couvade syndrome is a term used to describe a situation in which an otherwise healthy man — whose partner is expecting a baby — experiences pregnancy-related symptoms. While some research suggests that Couvade syndrome (sympathetic pregnancy) is common, it isn't a recognized mental illness or disease. Further studies are needed to determine whether Couvade syndrome is a physical condition with psychological causes.
Symptoms reported to be associated with Couvade syndrome vary widely and typically occur only during the first and third trimesters of pregnancy. Physical symptoms may include nausea, heartburn, abdominal pain, bloating, appetite changes, respiratory problems, toothaches, leg cramps, backaches, and urinary or genital irritations. Psychological symptoms that may be related to Couvade syndrome include changes in sleeping patterns, anxiety, depression, reduced libido and restlessness.
Whether Couvade syndrome is real or not, what's certain is that becoming a new dad can be exciting, emotional and stressful. If you're a man whose partner is pregnant, take steps to manage stress and prepare for fatherhood. Attend prenatal classes. Seek out advice and encouragement from friends and family. Talk to your partner. Understanding and planning for the challenges ahead can help ease your transition into fatherhood.Next question
Nausea during pregnancy: A good thing?
- Brennan A, et al. A qualitative exploration of the couvade syndrome in expectant fathers. Journal of Reproductive and Infant Psychology. 2007;25:18.
- Brennan A, et al. A critical review of the couvade syndrome: The pregnant male. Journal of Reproductive and Infant Psychology. 2007;25:3.
- Berg SJ, et al. Changes in testosterone, cortisol and estradiol levels in men becoming fathers. Mayo Clinic Proceedings. 2001;76:582.