Pregnancy and Couvade

Pregnancy is an emotional time for women.  Hormones are but one small part of the massive changes occurring in a woman’s body and about to occur in her social and emotional world.  Pregnancy is a time when a woman is more vulnerable than ever, a time when she needs the love and support of her partner and of her village—the community of family and friends that she belongs to.  So, if you are pregnant and feeling stressed or disconnected from a larger community, seek help.  Getting all the support you need and deserve is important for your health and for the baby’s wellbeing.

Pregnancy can also be an emotional time for men. In highly emotionally attuned couples, it is not uncommon for men whose wives are pregnant, to experience real physical ailments—things like colds, stomach upsets, unintentional weight gain, irritability, nervousness, inability to concentrate, headache, restlessness, fatigue, and insomnia during various trimesters of pregnancy and the early postpartum period.  Anthropologists have long known of this phenomenon, called couvade, but western researchers have been slow to study it.  In our culture, the belief that only women experience hormonal changes with pregnancy and childbirth is deeply entrenched and hard to shake.  But research shows that when couples conceive in the context of an emotionally intimate and mutually attuned relationship, men also experience hormone changes during the pregnancy and after the birth.  These hormone changes in men seem to enhance or accelerate paternal involvement and responsiveness, but they also might contribute in some unknown way to paternal depression.  

Therapy with Dr. Sara

Dr. Sara Rosenquist is a Board Certified Clinical Health Psychologist (ABPP) and Fellow of the Academy of Clinical Health Psychology (FACHP).  She is a sex therapist certified by the American Association of Sex Educators, Counselors, and Therapists (AASECT), and an approved consultant, certified in the practice of hypnosis by the American Society of Clinical Hypnosis (ASCH).   DrSara helps families, couples and individuals with hypnosis, sex therapy, marital therapy, marriage counseling, sex addiction, postpartum depression, and infertility issues. She is the author of “After The Stork: The Couple’s Guide to Preventing and Overcoming Postpartum Depression”, and enjoys working with clients from her office in Cary, NC.