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Stabroek News

Men who have symptoms ... when their wives are pregnant
published: Sunday | November 25, 2007

Misha Lobban, Contributor

Everton Facey, 40-year-old maintenance worker at Stony Hill HEART Academy, states that when his girlfriend became pregnant with their first child he knew, because he experienced bouts of nausea and upset stomach.

"I believe I have a strong constitution and very few things upset my stomach, but whenever I ate, I felt as if I wanted to vomit and I had to be eating icy mints every morning that week, to settle my stomach. I told her that she was pregnant and she laughed because she didn't believe it. Several weeks later, her doctor confirmed that she was pregnant."

Courtney Myers, 35-year-old chef, shares his experience when his wife became pregnant with their second child in 2004. "When she got pregnant, I started to experience upset stomach and vomiting. I lost my appetite for some types of food and found myself craving things that were salty or sweet. I was also sleepy and would come to work and fall asleep sometimes. This lasted for three weeks, but she never experienced any of these symptoms. Then when she was ready to give birth, I started to feel pains and cramps in my belly. I couldn't understand what was happening to me and just concluded that I was experiencing her pregnancy symptoms." Their son was born on July 6, 2005.

Radio disc jockey and gospel entertainer, Marshall Redwood, confesses that in 2004 when his wife was pregnant with their first child, he experienced dizziness and belly pains. "It would happen periodically throughout the entire pregnancy. I realised what was happening to me because I had heard about this from a couple of guys who had the same experience. During the second pregnancy, I also felt the same pains, but they were more severe, so much so that I swore I was the one who was pregnant."

No medical explanation

Dr. Errol Daley, consultant obstetrician and gynaecologist, acknowledges that while he is aware of these experiences, there is no medical explanation for this phenomenon. He explained that while women undergo serious hormonal changes during pregnancy that result in nausea, fatigue and other symptoms, men do not experience any such changes.

"During pregnancy, the human chorionic gonadotrophin in a woman becomes elevated, and that's what makes her nauseous and wants to throw up, and it gets worse whenever she gets hungry. With men, there is no such hormonal change and so it doesn't make any scientific sense that they become nauseous and have any other such feelings unless it is because they are anxious about the pregnancy."

Dr. Daley believes that anxiety is often the reason why some men experience nausea and vomiting, especially if they are anxious for their partner to have a baby, or if the pregnancy is unplanned.

He confesses that while this phenomenon does not make sense medically, he himself experienced nausea during his wife's pregnancy. "I have two children and it happened to me when my wife was pregnant. I really wanted us to have a baby and I was very anxious about the pregnancy. But I believe it has more to do with the mind. The mind is a powerful thing."


In emphasising the point about the power of the mind and its impact on what people experience, he explained that there is a condition called pseudocyesis, which occurs when a woman is extremely anxious to get pregnant, an she does not get pregnant because of what she believes in her mind, she actually doesn't have a period, her abdomen relaxes and appears as if she is pregnant, and she also has various pregnancy-related symptoms, such as tenderness in her breasts.

Pseudocyesis, also known as false pregnancy, can cause many of the signs and symptoms associated with pregnancy and can resemble the condition in every way except for foetal presence.

"Some women have actually experienced labour pains within the nine months and, in many cases, doctors have to do an ultrasound to show them that there is nothing there (in the womb). That's why I believe that what happens to some men during their partner's pregnancy has more to do with the mind than anything else," says Dr. Daley.

Dr. Lennox Jacobs, gynaecologist, also states that while he is aware of the stories that exist, he does not believe that there is any connection between the various symptoms experienced by some men and the fact that their partners are pregnant. He believes that this phenomenon is more a result of socio-cultural or traditional beliefs, as there is no medical basis for these experiences.

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