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Int J Psychiatry Med. 1991;21(1):57-69.

Couvade syndrome: male counterpart to pregnancy.

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University of Texas Medical Branch, Galveston.


Couvade is the common but poorly understood phenomenon whereby the expectant father experiences somatic symptoms during the pregnancy for which there is no recognized physiological basis. Symptoms commonly include indigestion, increased or decreased appetite, weight gain, diarrhea or constipation, headache, and toothache. Onset is usually during the third gestational month with a secondary rise in the late third trimester. Symptoms generally resolve with childbirth. Couvade has been seen as an expression of somatized anxiety, pseudo-sibling rivalry, identification with the fetus, ambivalence about fatherhood, a statement of paternity, or parturition envy. It is likely that the dynamics of couvade may vary between individuals and may be multidetermined.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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