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What is Couvade syndrome?

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Couvade syndrome is a condition where a father-to-be experiences pregnancy symptoms, according to Mayo Clinic. It is also known as sympathetic pregnancy. Although common, Couvade syndrome is not a recognised mental illness or disease.

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In most cases, a man begins to experience the symptoms of Couvade syndrome during the third month of his partner's pregnancy and the penultimate weeks before child birth, claims Babycenter.

The symptoms of Couvade syndrome may vary from person to person, notes Mayo Clinic. They can either be physical or psychological symptoms. The physical symptoms may include nausea, abdominal pain, heartburn, bloating and breathing problems. Other symptoms are appetite changes, leg cramps, toothaches, genital irritations and backaches. The psychological symptoms include sleeping pattern changes, depression, anxiety, restlessness and lessened libido.

The most effective treatment for Couvade syndrome is to make the man feel that he is crucial to the pregnancy process, and he should be actively involved, says Babycenter. Couples should plan for the baby's future life to quell men's fear over the experiences of parenthood. A man should learn how to manage the stress, emotion and excitement associated with fatherhood, advises Mayo Clinic. To do this, he should attend prenatal classes and seek advice from his family members and friends.

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