Morning sickness, sore nipples and two stone weight gain – how MEN can suffer pregnancy symptoms too
Mike Dowdall suffers morning sickness and sore nipples alongside his pregnant partner
Not medically recognised but often occurs with two very close partners
15:10 GMT, 10 September 2012
From strange cravings and morning sickness to painful contractions, pregnancy is no fun experience and women need the full support of their husbands.
But for one woman, there are no foot rubs and back massages because she has to comfort her partner who is experiencing the exact same symptoms as her.
Mike Dowdall, 25, is suffering from the rare Couvade syndrome with which he endures a phantom pregnancy.
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Mike Dowdall who is experiencing all his girlfriend Amanda Bennet's pregnancy symptoms has a rare medical condition known as Couvade Syndrome
Although it is not medically recognised, Mike from Manchester is experiencing morning sickness, bloating and even sore nipples – and his symptoms coincide exactly with his pregnant partner Amanda's.
Speaking on This Morning, the muscular tattoo artist said: 'I was quite ill, I went to my GP and told him what I was experiencing at the same time as Amanda.'
After some research it was identified that Mike was suffering from a sympathetic pregnancy.
'I burst out laughing when he said it was a sympathetic pregnancy, as an avid gym goer and jack the lad,' he said on the show.
The rare syndrome often happens to men who are very close to their partner- Mike and Amanda have known each other since they were eleven
His partner Amanda Bennet, who has just six weeks to go until the big birth, explained how when her morning sickness began, so did Mike's and it also ceased at the same time.
She said: 'I think I was about 9 weeks and I started feeling sick and being sick in the mornings, and he did and I thought “maybe we've eaten something”, but when it lasted two weeks you think maybe we should go and have this looked at.'
And although Amanda has been experiencing the side effects of pregnancy herself, she is very sympathetic towards Mike, who she is expecting a little boy with.
Gym regular Mike is annoyed about his two stone weight gain
'I did show him sympathy, I'd rub his back maybe,' she said.
And if the sore nipples and morning sickness isn't bad enough, avid gym-goer Mike has gained two stone, with all the weight piling up around his stomach.
'I don't want to believe it, I want to still go to the gym every day and lose the weight,' he said.
'It's been hard where friends are
concerned, I am quite a laughing stock at the moment but as far as me
and Amanda are concerned it has been the loveliest thing that could have happened to us.'
Resident doctor Jonty Heaversedge said: 'What is interesting is that the symptoms have coincided, it can't be serious but it clearly does correlate with this syndrome.'
Research states that men who suffer from this syndrome are often those who are extremely close to their partners.
Mike and Amanda, who met aged eleven at school and recently etched matching tattoos on each other, have worked together and have always been incredibly close.
The bad news for Mike is that he may even endure painful contractions and even post-natal depression.
He said: 'If afterwards I don't snap out of it then I will be banging on my doctors door, crying probably.'
COUVADE SYNDROME EXPLAINED
Couvade syndrome, also known as sympathetic pregnancy, is a condition in which a man experiences some of the same symptoms and behavior of an expectant mother- usually when the pair are very close.
The symptoms most often include minor weight gain, altered hormone levels, morning nausea, and disturbed sleep patterns.
In more extreme cases they can include labor pains, postpartum depression, and nosebleeds.
The labor pain symptom is commonly known as sympathy pain.
Couvade syndrome is not a recognised medical condition and some believe it to be a psychosomatic condition, while others believe it may have biological causes relating to hormone changes.