Phantom pregnancy, in men

Photo by Flickr user Emery Co Photo. Click for sourceABC Radio National’s Life Matters has a brief segment on the fascinating Couvade syndrome, also known as sympathetic pregnancy, where male partners of expectant women start feeling the physical effects of being pregnant.

This can range from aches and pain, to food cravings, to morning sickness, to full on ‘pseudocyesis’ or phantom pregnancy which involves abdominal swelling and lactation.

The programme discusses some fascinating research that has found that men have raised levels of the hormone prolactin when their partner is pregnant.

Prolactin is most associated with breast-feeding but raised levels can cause lactation in men as well (incidentally, due to the fact that many antipsychotic drugs raise levels of this hormone, male lactation can be an unpleasant side effect of this medication).

The programme mentions that a special documentary about Couvade syndrome for the Australian TV science show Catalyst was just shown on TV, so if anyone discovers a torrent for it, do let me know or post it in the comments.

The documentary’s webpage has some additional material, and, if you live down-under you can watch a streamed version, but sadly its not available outside of Oz.

Link to Life Matters on Couvade syndrome.
Link to documentary webpage.

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