Fathers-to-be experience ‘pregmancy’

One in four expectant fathers experience ‘pregmancy’ symptoms, including mood swings, imaginary pregnancy pains and food cravings

A quarter of expectant fathers experience ‘pregmancy’ symptoms, including mood swings, food cravings and even imaginary pregnancy pains, according to a new study.

The research, which involved 2,000 men aged between 16 and 65, found men have become increasingly involved in their partners pregnancy, with more men attending antenatal classes and scans than ever before.

‘Many men now attend the 12 to 14-week ultrasound scan where their bond with the child is first formed,’ says Professor Mary Steen, who has been a midwife for 25 years. ‘As a result, they are more likely to attend antenatal classes and the birth.

‘With this in mind, perhaps it’s not surprising that some expectant fathers are so finely tuned to their partner’s physical and emotional changes that they begin to feel them too.’

The study discovered, of those men affected, 56 per cent experienced increased nesting instincts such as tidying up, 26 per cent experienced mood swings, 10 per cent experienced food cravings, and 3 per cent experienced imaginary pregnancy pains.

They all said they started experiencing these changes only after their partner was pregnant.

‘My wife thought I was going mad when I developed cravings for apples and Marmite and started getting emotional during soppy films,’ says Matthew Downing, a shop keeper whose wife gave birth to their first child last December. ‘It brought the two of us closer and I found my emotions became very much aligned with hers.’

‘Many fathers-to-be are overwhelmed by the prospect of becoming a father and need support and reassurance during their partners pregnancy,’ says Professor Steen, a consultant for Pampers, which carried the research.

‘The expectant mother will always be the main focus during any pregnancy,but it is important to recognise how pregnancy can affect the expectant dad.’

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