A Pregnant Man!

Image Source: Express

Women get pregnant; men may get sympathetic pregnancies!

Willian Bennett, a resident of Sheerness, Kent, felt the same symptoms of pregnancy each time any of his four daughters got pregnant. Bennett had been pregnant 30 times by then, but at the time of presentation, he was 79 years old and found it too tiresome.

Whenever one of his daughters would get pregnant, he would have symptoms of pregnancy, including nausea, morning sickness, fatigue, and also swollen stomach. The symptoms would continue until his grandchild would be delivered.

Quite surprisingly, he never had any of these symptoms when his wife was pregnant with his kids.

This condition where men get pregnant when their partners or loved ones are pregnant is called Phantom pregnancy, Sympathetic pregnancy, or Couvade syndrome. Rarely seen, the word was originated to describe the custom in primitive communities of fathers imitating the mother’s condition during childbirth. The literal meaning of the French word ‘couver’ means to hatch.

Dr. Fitzgerald, Mr. Bennett’s general physician, confirmed that Mr. Bennett’s waist measurement increased by more than 30 inches when three of William’s daughters were pregnant at the same time. But his condition would persist only during pregnancy and not during childbirth. Doctors were perplexed by the swelling of the stomach and couldn’t find an explanation for it.

There was a study conducted at the St George’s University, London, on 282 Dads-to-be of ages between 19 and 55 years, to understand the “Couvade syndrome.” The dads undergoing the research reported symptoms similar to that of early pregnancy, including cramps, back pain, mood swings, food cravings, morning sickness, fatigue, depression, fainting, insomnia, and toothache, and increased abdominal girth in some extreme cases.

Most of the symptoms usually disappear completely after birth.

Dr. Arthur Brennan, senior lecturer at St Georges, who led the study said:

“These men were so attuned to their partners; they started to develop the same symptoms,”

Dr. Harriet Gross, senior lecturer in the Department of Human Sciences at Loughborough University said:

“It would be interesting to know whether there was a correlation between women who suffer the worst symptoms and what their partners experience. The symptoms, which often happen early in pregnancy, maybe a sign of impending anxiety – the beginning of a pregnancy is an uncertain time.”

The exact pathophysiology behind these symptoms in men is still unknown, and the role of hormones causing couvade symptoms is also unclear.


Men suffer from phantom pregnancy. (2007, June 14). Retrieved from BBC News: http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/6751709.stm

O’DONNELL, M. (2016, June 9). Medicine’s strangest cases: The man who kept getting pregnant and other weird true stories. Retrieved from Express.co.uk: https://www.express.co.uk/life-style/health/678253/medicine-strangest-cases-medical-weird-true-stories-man-pregnant

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Dr. Arsia Parekh
Dr. Arsia Hanif has been a meritorious Healthcare professional with a proven track record throughout her academic life securing first position in her MCAT examination and then, in 2017, she successfully completed her Bachelors of Medicine and Surgery from Dow University of Health Sciences. She has had the opportunity to apply her theoretical knowledge to the real-life scenarios, as a House Officer (HO) serving at Civil Hospital. Whilst working at the Civil Hospital, she discovered that nothing satisfies her more than helping other humans in need and since then has made a commitment to implement her expertise in the field of medicine to cure the sick and regain the state of health and well-being. Being a Doctor is exactly what you’d think it’s like. She is the colleague at work that everyone wants to know but nobody wants to be. If you want to get something done, you approach her – everyone knows that! She is currently studying with Medical Council of Canada and aspires to be a leading Neurologist someday. Alongside, she has taken up medical writing to exercise her skills of delivering comprehensible version of the otherwise difficult medical literature. Her breaks comprise either of swimming, volunteering services at a Medical Camp or spending time with family.


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