Yes, men do get pregnancy symptoms when their partners are expecting. Watertown Daily Times’s Armin Brott explains:
Men’s symptoms are often similar to women’s: food cravings, mood swings, weight gain. Other common symptoms are a bit stranger (but plenty of women experience them too), including toothaches, headaches, nosebleeds, cramps (admittedly, pretty weird for a guy) and cysts.
Couvade symptoms in men tend to appear at the same time as their partner starts showing — around four months. They may fade after a month or so, but will often reappear a month or two before the baby is born. For most, symptoms tend to disappear right after the birth.
Why does this happen? No one knows for sure, but there are plenty of theories. The first has to do with the way that men in our society are expected to be the providers and protectors, keeping families safe and easing their pain. Unfortunately, in the case of pregnancy, there’s nothing we can do about our partner’s pain. So our brain decides that the next best thing is for us to share it — especially if we’re feeling guilty about being responsible for the partner’s pain in the first place.
Another theory is that couvade may be a subconscious attempt by the expectant dad to get people to pay some attention to him. Everyone asks him how his partner is doing, but rarely does anyone ask how he’s doing.
Interestingly, there may also be some biological reasons that cause men’s pregnancy symptoms. We’ve all heard of the hormonal roller coaster that women are on during pregnancy.
According to several recent studies, expectant dads’ hormone levels (we all have the same ones, just in different amounts) follow a similar up-and-down pattern as their wives’, rising and falling at the same times. This may explain why most expectant dads find themselves paying more attention to children in the months before their own are born.