Male Weight Gain During Pregnancy

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By Matt Stone

Your average person, your doctor, your personal trainer, even many health researchers believe, foolishly, that weight is a simple matter of moving more and eating less.  Those that are ever-so-slightly higher on the intellectual totem pole (or lower, I’m not sure) believe that weight is a simple matter of eliminating one or several dietary villains.  It’s the wheat!  It’s the carbs!  It’s the fructose!  It’s the “bad” fat!  It’s the animal products!  It’s the hormones!  GM Freaking O’s!!!

So it’s not surprising, with the religiosity people have about their dietary beliefs combined with their mental need to simple-mindedly pin it all on one Satanic dietary and lifestyle entity, that real conversations about the multifactorial, nebulous, and complex causes of excessive body fat storage get people all worked up.  And heaven forbid I say something that isn’t “scientifically proven,” like proposing that idea that feelings of guilt or restraint when it comes to eating may trigger hibernatory mechanisms in the body, as stressors are known to do.

One of the things I strive to do is get people to be less sure about everything.  Being sure about something that has no definitive cause is just dumb, and fosters that kind of stubborn arrogance that prohibits a real conversation from taking place.  If I’ve noticed anything after nearly a decade-long journey through the colon of health discussion and debate, it’s that most people are far too busy knowing everything to learn the truth.

Well here’s a great example of one of the most mysterious phenomena… Couvade Syndrome.  When you let Couvade Syndrome sink in a little bit, hopefully it will help you feel a little less certain about pretty much everything you think you know.

What is Couvade Syndrome?  Couvade Syndrome is where a man, when his partner is pregnant, gets a host of pregnancy symptoms himself.

If obesity is just a simple thing.  Eat less, exercise more, blah blah blah.  Then why, in a survey of 5,000 males, did the average man gain 14 pounds during his wife’s pregnancy?  And who could even begin to blame this on one type of food?  Sadly, the articles I’ve seen written about this finding all look to explain this away with simple explanations, such as increased availability of snacks, or the Inspector Gadget length reach of this statement…

“One more explanation for the weight gain during “male pregnancy” is that many couples spend more time visiting restaurants and pubs for dinner, in a bid to enjoy each other’s company most of their time before the baby arrives.”

Interestingly, some research has shown changes in cortisol, testosterone, and prolactin levels in males during and after their partner’s pregnancy.  This pattern of a rise in cortisol and prolactin and dive in testosterone is known to be part of the metabolic syndrome profile.  These changes are synonymous with insulin resistance, type 2 diabetes, a decrease in fat metabolism, belly fat gain, and so forth.

Snacks cause this?  Enjoying each other’s company at restaurants?  This is insulting.

In reality, pregnancy can cause stress and anxiety, which can lead to these hormonal changes that favor the metabolic changes that favor fat storage.

But Couvade Syndrome, in its entirety, goes much deeper.  It appears that males are hard-wired to respond to spending a lot of time around a baby or pregnant woman in a certain way.  Just holding a baby can decrease testosterone levels significantly.  It is thought that this metabolic change is a natural change that occurs with parenting, to help dads make the switch from wanting to make babies and slam them up against walls when they make noise, to being a lot more patient, kind, caring, and gentle.

Anyway, I hope this helps to greater complexify the issue of body composition in your mind.  It’s just not that simple, and having kids, for both the mother and the father, increase your risk of being chubby.  That’s not something to be ashamed of or take on as being all your fault somehow, embarking on a low-calorie or low-carb diet that further reinforces elevated cortisol and prolactin and decreased testosterone and thyroid.  Take it easy man.  Throw in some Blues Clues, kick back, and enjoy singing along to songs about taking a dump.

Would love to hear any personal experience with changes in body composition, mood, demeanor, and so forth that any dads have experienced.  Would not love to hear from parents who didn’t gain any weight and take all the credit for it, as if their amazing diet and lifestyle practices or superhuman ability to restrain themselves from snacks was the reason for it.  We already know that you are awesome and that everyone else is weak and lazy.


  1. Nobody saw this yet? Really? First post. Reading the article now.

    • Now that I’ve read it… With both of my wife’s pregnancies, I gained at least 14 pounds with no appreciable deviation from my normal dining fare. We have always enjoyed trips to restaurants whenever we could make the time, so that was no change. With the second pregnancy, I gained about 25 pounds which is on par with my wife’s gain.

      Differences in mood: I found myself overall to be more placid, although sleep deprivation will make any but the most saintly of us want to scorch the earth around us.

      With regards to body composition, I noticed an increase of “moob”. Booooo. There you have it: increased estrogen and prolactin. My belly got a nice, rounded and almost pregnant look to it as well. Of course, I haven’t been at a “normal” weight since 3rd or 4th grade. That was many lifetimes of small rodents ago.

  2. 2 trimesters in and I have gained about 1cm of belly fat. Had quite some stress lately, but reasonably stress free this last month. Gaining weight (2-3kg) could of course be because I started reading this forum. Is there a study showing average weight gain related to reading 180? Could subtract that from the weight gained the last 6 months…
    Also, first:)

  3. Actually, I would like to hear from men who didn’t gain weight. Maybe there’s something they’re doing (stress reduction practices, etc, etc) that would be helpful.

    Also, just to play devil’s advocate, maybe the men are eating more because their pregnant wives are eating more and having cravings – in a diet-obsessed society it’s possible. Other thoughts are maybe they’re missing out on sleep because of what their wife is going through, maybe they’re sex-deprived. Hormonal changes to prep for the baby does make sense, but I happen to know from photos that my dad didn’t appear to gain weight when my mom was pregnant and neither did my grandfather when my grandmother was preggers. I really question if this is a new phenomenon.

  4. My husband gained 30 pounds my first pregnancy! We blamed it on lots of things, but it still felt strange, since he stopped gaining when I had the baby, and then gained more my second pregnancy (and repeat with my third, too!). Great thoughts, Matt.

    • Hi Kelly,
      Would you be available to join us on HuffPost Live to tell of your and your husband’s story during your pregnancy? Pls email me: Thanks so much!

  5. Loved this. Can I speak for my husband, because I can guarantee he ain’t going to get on *the* Matt Stone’s blog and reveal his extra poundage that his two loving little people caused him to gain. Haha. He would say his weight gain with our first was a result of not having the same amount of time to exercise. But now that we have two, he has come around to the idea that stress also plays a huge role. With our first we had some unfortunate events happen when baby was 8 weeks old ( house fire and having to move in with my parents for 3 months) that compounded the new parent syndrome we already had. Then we moved away from family to the next state over when baby was 20 months old and husband started new job. Then second baby came 3.5 years later and when she was 9 months old we again moved even further away. Then we moved into another house 7 months later. Add to all of this the fact that said second child was and still is a terrible sleeper. I’m pretty sure having a wife who used to be a nutrion nazi did not help. He does appreciate Matt’s influence on said wife’s health mentality as we are currently living a much more laid back lifestyle and trying to find ways to keep the stress low and enjoy the food. To conclude, husband has gained a considerable amount of weight over the last 7 years, but maybe some of it is also due to the fact that when he was in his 20’s he went on Atkins to rid himself of the weight he had gained as a result of the stressful events of that time in his life.

  6. Wow. I would like to know what proponents of the “availability of snacks” argument and others like it explain what happened to my husband and I during my most recent pregnancy. My husband ended up gaining about 12 pounds. I ended up losing three…before I had the baby. I think I’m probably around 20 pounds lighter than before I got pregnant.

  7. My husband did not gain weight when I was pregnant. He knows he did nothing special – and continues to do nothing special. He ‘cannot’ gain weight if he tries – and he’s tried many times. I’m grateful to be married to a guy who ‘gets it’, because I, on the other hand, don’t seem to be able to lose.

    Feeling particularly sensitive about weight today after I was treated to a conversation that made me feel thoroughly judged by one of the ‘awesome’ ones who are the way they are because of their lifestyle practices and superhuman ability’ (or as Tom Naughton refers to them ‘born on the finish line’ ) so I really appreciated today’s post.

    BTW, I can’t speak for all women – but many women’s sex drive increases during pregnancy.

    • You’re describing me. Could not gain weight no matter what I did. The pregnancy was fine, lots of sleep and enough sex. That turned upside-down after the birth – bad sleep, almost no sex, high stress, but I did not gain a pound either.
      It has all changed when I actually started counting calories and found out that my intake was really pathetic. I am very tall, so I WAS eating a lot compared to others, but overall you get the picture.
      As I look back, stress was always by my side, some times more severe than other, but still strong. I guess that stress + not eating enough is a strong combo that creates emaciated and feeble men.

  8. This is an interesting topic! Especially since I’m nearing the end of my pregnancy with baby #2 and my husband has put some fat on around his abdomen, maybe 15 pounds? But he’s been getting up for work at 4am for the last few weeks, working overtime, and we’re trying to get settled in our new house before the baby arrives. We also go out to eat more often because I have no energy to cook. He typically gains weight when he’s stressed. I, on the otherhand struggle to gain weight, but you don’t want to hear from people like me! But believe me its not because of my superb diet! I eat whatever my body wants and can handle (struggled with nausea and reflux this time) I have gained around 30 pounds this pregnancy, first about 16-17, but don’t look much different! My boobs are bigger though.

    It will be interesting to ask him what he thinks about this ‘couvade syndrome’, he gets very self-conscious about fat gain.

  9. ” a decade-long journey through the colon of health discussion and debate”

    that’s quite the extended transit time.

    my husband gained weight for each of my pregnancies and swore up and down that sometimes his uterus hurt. i tried to explain gently to him that he doesn’t have one… but this is the guy who can develop a headache instantaneously if he hears the word. what about suggestibility, and developing in ourselves what we see around us? some people really do begin to look like their spouses or pets (depending on which they like better.)

    • We have powerful mimicry programs that cause us to homogenize with those around us both physically and ideologically, to be connected to a social group and in harmony with the surrounding way of life. Yes, hanging out with unhealthy people can make you develop similar health problems. Sad but probably true.

  10. I have a friend whose husband gets serious morning sickness every time she gets pregnant. I didn’t believe that happened in real life until she told me about it.

    • My sister in law found out she was pregnant because her husband had morning sickness!

  11. I’m 9 months pregnant, and my husband always jokes that he will gain weight along with me, so I can feel like I have company. The first two of my pregnancies, he didn’t gain a pound. Then I lost a pregnancy, and this one’s been a miserable go-round. Thankfully, it’s almost over & everything looks to be healthy. Here’s where I’m going to get to the point. My husband is very well-known for his ability to handle stress very well. He sleeps when he needs to, eats whatever he wants (although I cook very healthy at home) when he is hungry, and includes a lot of laughter. He has a very high-stress job and is the only male in our household, yet his honestly good attitude puts me to shame most of the time. Oddly enough, he’s put on a little weight around his middle this pregnancy – not much at all, but he’s well-built enough that you can tell. But he’s definitely been picking up the slack around our house & doing a lot to take care of the other kids while not getting enough attention himself. I’m positive he’s had no change in habits other than absorbing the stress that I’ve been creating during this pregnancy and that’s what’s put on a little padding.

  12. Also, just realized something I did not before watching the video. “A greater number of men” are experiencing couvade syndrome… sounds like an environmental change to me….

    • There is a mass scale feminization of men and masculinization of women. That has been going on for over a half century, and isn’t just physiological but represents what I believe to be a large philisophical shift in thought. I don’t think this is necessarily a bad thing or a sign of deterioration. Just less of a societal need for very polarized gender roles.

      • Hmmm….I would be more convinced of this if it weren’t for two factors: 1) this is actually happening in nature as well, with male amphibians being born with undecended testes and other feminization issues; and 2) male sperm count has declined over the past few generations. My money is on endocrine disruption, not philosophical shifts.

        (not to mention Weston A. Price’s research showing the effects of poor nutrition on female and male physiques – females got more masculine body shapes and vice versa)

        • Definitely a possibility. One documentary on Couvade also pointed out that males are spending 2 hours with children doing activities with the kids per day compared to 15 minutes a generation ago. It’s probably still best not to get overly romantacized about Price’s findings though. Being more masculine or having higher testosterone isn’t something synonymous with health or longevity per se. I happen to like the 21st century fusion of gender roles myself, so I’m not complaining.

          • Eck.. I do not love it. I was raised by an angry feminist, and my masculine side is waaaaaay developed. It’s exhausting. I think it’s gone way past balanced to swing in the other direction…and I think there’s a ton of societal pressure for men to suppress masculine instincts, and for women to suppress their feminine instincts. I think that plays a big role in the health issues we are dealing with these days.

            I’m not talking about starting a political debate about gender roles…. I’m talking about the energies naturally running through us…. What we are allowed (or not) to acknowledge and express has a huge impact on all these internal systems.

          • Yes, yes, yes!! I could not agree more. This is one thing I love about my relationship and why it works so well – he is the man and I am the woman. Love it.

          • I agree ladies. I believe this is an elitist agenda. It is all part in parcel of the “ruining” of family. It is all about controlling the masses. Food, meds, poisons, propaganda, air (contamination), water ( purposeful poisoning as well). Just my 2 cents.

          • Hey, as long as I can be a stay-at-home dad with no kids I’m happy!

          • Haha! :D

          • Several generations ago (like on the frontier), dads spent way more time with their kids (especially their sons) and didn’t seem to feminize.

            Personally, I’m not a fan of gender merging at all, and from my experience it doesn’t make biological sense, though I am n=1. I happen to be an extremely feminine woman (face, waist-hip ratio and behavior) and men tend to be very attracted to me (when I lost my curves, and likely hormones, during my eating disorder, I did not attract as many. Additionally, when I went off the pill men I definitely attracted more men – a noticeable difference that really surprised me). In turn I am extremely attracted to very masculine men who clearly ooze testosterone. My boyfriend is a total alpha male, and we have insane chemistry – we just seem to be drawn to each other at all times (non-sexually, too). This all feels very biological in nature. Two non-fertile people (girly man and manly girl) being drawn to one another doesn’t seem so appealing to me, and I think some of the powerful chemical attraction you get from feminine + masculine would get lost, but maybe it’s different if you’re the girly man or manly girl. Personally, I want a manly man.

          • I think that there just needs to be polarization for there to be attraction. It’s physics, no? We all have both the masculine and feminine within us, but we are naturally more dominant one way or the other. I think embracing the inner opposite sex energies is healthy and desirable. It’s powerful. But I think there has been a serious demonization of both the masculine and feminine in Our culture… A deep disowning of self that can only contribute to misery and ill-health. I am also very feminine physically and energetically, though I have disowned that most of my life. And boy has that been confusing and painful. And tiring… Problem is, people associate power and strength with masculinity, when the feminine is its own deeply, and equally powerful strength. They are complementary, not in competition.

          • I agree. I feel a lot of pressure at work, too, to be more “masculine.” I also grew up in a household that did not value femininity (my mother was not big on vanity and femininity and cut my hair short like a boy, and my sister was tomboyish to the point of butch; both preached absolute male-female equality). Somehow I came through it all with my femininity intact, because it’s always been my true nature, but I spent years of angst feeling like there was something really deficient about me and I was vain and selfish and weak. Nothing like feeling guilty for being who you are to create stress and emotional issues!

          • Skye,

            Good point. I don’t really have a dog in this race about whether it’s ‘good’ or ‘bad’ to have less polarized gender roles, but I can agree that in my own experience, it does impact attraction. I didn’t grow up in an explicitly feminist house, but I didn’t have a dad around and had few good role models of mature masculinity. I caught on to the idea that the best way to be a ‘good man’ was do be overly accommodating and to downplay the ‘dude’ qualities I had. Not being pushy, showing how comfortable I was with emotions and my feminine side would be the ticket to landing an awesome lady, I thought. Turns out, that stuff doesn’t keep the passion going, even if it’s good in small doses.

            The whole manosphere on the internet, however rife it can be with misogyny and reactionary tendencies, has helped me understand how valuable polarization often is to maintaining attraction.

          • This conversation kind of cracks me up because by almost everyone’s standards, women one hundred years ago were more masculine than most women today. I wager if the statistics are correct, and testosterone is dropping in men, it is also dropping in women. At the very least the HPA axis, which itself produces some testosterone, has gotten generally weaker from shitty modern diets.

            My point? I think what most people in this thread refer to when they say ‘feminine’ traits is really just acting like a little girl, with a cute voice and being needy. Women back in the day were not overly needy. They could shoot guns and kill rattle snakes when the husband was not around. They could work long hours.

            These allegedly ‘traditional’ relationships often come across as more of a father/daughter dynamic than a partner/partner dynamic. Sure, in the old days women dressed different than men, had different tasks at the household, but they were probably not as non-confrontational as we might think.

            I take Korean culture as an example. It is still much more traditional and patriarchal than American/Euro culture. But I have lived with Korean families and I can tell you the women will put up a fight (verbal not physical). They will speak their mind and make it known up front how they feel. I have seen multi-day battles between the husbands and wives. Not saying that is something to aspire too necessarily, but it does show how a stay at home mom has leverage in conflict, rather than fits the role of subservience.

        • Boy?

        • Ha ha…

          That would be a young lady. I was heavily influenced by Price, so I made sure that my wife ate both a nutrient and calorie rich diet during pregnancy. Little girl came out jacked. She crawled by 4 months and was walking by 8 months.

          • What a sturdy and healthy-looking child! You obviously did things right.

          • 2nd that!! She looks incredibly healthy!

  13. Granted I haven’t watched the video yet, but I wonder if there’s any thought given to what a lot of people do before they get pregnant– try to get really “healthy” by dieting and exercising– which, of course, would cause a bunch of weight gain during and after pregnancy. Just a thought.

  14. Man this blog is getting chick-ified.

  15. I didn’t gain any weight through my wife’s pregnancy, or afterwards. That includes not sleeping for ~40 hours of labor+delivery+newborn, and not getting a decent night’s sleep for the past 22 months since then (all while having a moderately stressful job and a house that needs almost constant repair).
    What’s my secret? I don’t have a f**king clue!
    I could go into more history, but it’d only end up confusing everyone, including myself.

  16. Well there’s definatly more stress surrounding the anticipation and act of labor & new born care than say a thousand years ago. Peacefull homebirths (nothing really to plan for, “learn” or decide) babywearing, breastfeeding, & co-sleeping without any negitive social effects probably helped keep stress low & give more sleep.

    • Good call! I recently read a book called “bringing up bebe” about how the French go through birth and child-rearing, and it was all way less stressful than in the US. They don’t read tons of books like “what to expect when you’re expecting,” and seem way less stressed about the whole process. They are modern, but they go and have their low-stress pregnancy, a low-stress birth with epidural and don’t let the baby take over their life (getting it on a good sleep schedule is top priority). You could criticize a lot of what they do (like the no-breastfeeding and epidural), but it really drove home for me how much healthier it must be to be low-stress about the whole experience.

      • That there French way is way disconnected from natural practices when it comes to pregnancy, birth, and beyond. On one hand, it’s less stressful to just follow current mainstream thinking – numerous ultrasounds, medical intervention, formula, cry it out, but those steps all go against the body’s (child and mother) natural, instinctual drives, and have physical, mental, and emotional consequences. on the other hand, doing natural birth and chid rearing practices puts you out on the fringe, and finding good support for that is much harder than getting support for the aforementioned practices. It’s stressful, either way….though, I have to say that the bonding I’ve experienced through attachment parenting pretty much beats out any other joy I’ve experienced in my life… Every mama has to make the decisions that are best for herself and her family. I don’t thinking making convenience one of the top priorities is the healthiest choice, but you do have to find the balance between what is needed and what you have to give, or everyone loses.

        • Very well said. I can absolutely agree… we’ve not done full out attachment parenting, but my wife and I both agree that going by instinct and responding to crying, feeding-on-demand, etc have established a much greater emotional bond, environment of trust and are overall less stressful than the “modern” practices of child rearing. But, in every approach, finding balance and minimizing stress are both the answer and the ongoing challenge for families.

    • Babywearing is not really the best, though. Well at least, excessively it would be quite bad. :P Because babies need to spend lots of time on the ground crawling for correct neurodevelopment. Crawling organizes their brains. Also, exploration is positive. :)

  17. Both fathers of my kids did not gain ant. But then I am totally relaxed during pregnancy and my libido is insatiable, which is likely destressing for boys. I myself was not left wirh ant excess the first 4 pregnancies (1 ended in a late miscarriage), but have gained lots after baby 4 was born. In the meantime I have ended up with 35 kilos extra.weight. she is 4. And I gain it in odd bouts of 5 to 10 kilos in about 2 weeks at a time and am then stable for monrhs again. Got to have a talk soon Matt, as this is killing my joints which are already damaged by child hood prednison.

  18. Couvade Syndrome is too hard to remember. I call it the Firstborn Fifteen. I, too, experienced this. I’ve been thinking about other common stressfull situations in which people gain weight. I’m thinking we should change the name from the Freshman Fifteen to the Stressman Fifteen.

    Do you think it would be safe to say the weight gain most people attribute to “stress eating” can actually be attributed to the stress itself?

  19. Wondering if someone can help me out here. A few weeks ago there was a link to an ebook that was about sports (possibly extreme sports or wilderness sports, but not sure) and taking care of your health while out doing these sports — reading body clues and such. The link was to one page and I did find the book, wanted to read it all, but now can’t find the link. One of the things the author talked about was using a refractometer. For some reason, I’m thinking it was in the body of one of Matt’s blogs, but it could have been in the comments. Anyone know where I can find that link again? It would be really appreciated! Thanks!

  20. I;ve definitely seen this first ahdn and fifn;t know it had a name.

    My husband gained nearly 30 during my first pregnancy. I gained somewhere near 57 mostly in his belly. He came out of it with seriously low testosterone, no interest in sex and lethargic. Once he started working out and eating less of the hamburgers and french fries that I seemed to need every day of my pregnancy, he lost most of it but never got back to “normal” and regained most of his sex drive. I got back to normal very quickly. That one was a boy.

    With my 2nd, a girl, he only gained 10 (I gained 44). Of course, I didn’t crave hamburgers, mostly veggies… and I’m the one with the lingering weight and changed body composition.

  21. ^^^holy typos. Sorry about that. Great way to edit your first post…

  22. It all boils down to “snorking” right alongside someone who is not worrying about their weight at the moment. Pregnancy doesn’t even have to be involved. Try living with a bunch of skinny guys who sound like vacuum cleaners at the table or who sit beside you on the couch, snorking away while watching TV late at night. It’s just license to eat even if you aren’t even hungry.

  23. I may be deviating a bit from the topic, but would love to hear Matt’s view on what happened to me during both pregnancies.
    I admit it, I am overweight/obese. But when I am pregnant, I lose weight. A lot!
    With the first kid, the day before I gave birth I weighted 1,5kg LESS than on the day that he was conceived. I never had any nausea, I never restrained food, I literally ate anything and everything and anytime I wanted and I still lost weight, nourishing the foetus. I was sensitive to the smell of not-exactly-fresh-meat, but that was all. Kid turned out to be just average size, nothing wrong or missing. I had no milk (even the best lactation help in area couldn’t believe), but now I think it was a psychological, not a physical or hormonal problem.
    With the second kid I lost 10kg during pregnancy (yes, day before I gave birth was 10kg less than at the very beginning). This time, however I felt terrible. Untill mid-6-month I threw up even when brushing my teeth; at 7 months I developed tachycardia with no apparent cause and no reaction to medication (with maximum allowed medication I was at 24h average 97beats/min). Still – I ate anything, everything and anytime I wanted, though sometimes this would mean 300g of boiled green beans throughout a whole day. Kid turned out largish, almost no problems with breastfeedeing.
    I remember having a good sense of what I wanted to eat, but through both pregnancies I ate all kinds of stuff, from self grown veggies to cakes to fast food (McDonald’s type!). I didn’t notice much difference in amount of food and maybe slight towards what is widely considered “healthy”.
    Because of the tachycardia I met *many* doctors and midwives and none of them has ever seen losing weight during pregnancy (past morning sickness, of course). My OB always said that losing wight was okay, ’cause I there was enough of me to give up some kilos.
    Have you ever heard of something like that? How could it happen? Btw, pregnant or not, my temp is always at 37deg C (98.6F), so I don’t think there was much metabolic difference.

  24. I don’t know about weight gain, buy my dad said he threw up every morning during the first three months of my mom’s first pregnancy. She was never sick during the pregnancy, but her curly hair all fell out and came back straight and my sister was completely bald for the first three years of her life! Crazy.

  25. 40 year old male, one year old child. No weight gain. Salivary and free testosterone double normal for age.

    Yes, I’m perfect and superior in every way. Or, my T is high from my screaming kid. Something that has been studied, funny as it is.

    • Maybe you’re onto something here. Maybe the higher testosterone levels protect against the hormonal changes that happen. No idea if this is accurate or not, but it would make sense given that couvade syndrome is more common and testosterone levels are lower across the male population.

  26. My husband gained probably 30 pounds my first pregnancy. I never thought about it too much before now! I joked that we should do a belly photo shoot together; he was not laughing! The snack theory doesn’t hold up for us because I didn’t have cravings and also gained30. I wonder if it’s every pregnancy or just the first? I don’t think he gained as much strung the second one. Any stress he was under was self inflicted; I am super low stress and have about the easiest pregnancies, labors and births possible.

  27. Reminds me of that Jane Goodall recent Disney movie, Chimpanzee. The male pack leader adopted an orphaned cub (his I believe) and proceeded to ‘raise’ him. Meanwhile, the competing local males started to group together to depose him sensing that he was weak. Social or physiological? Didn’t see it, saw Ms. Goodall discuss it on Daily Show. She says they both make it through though. Whew!

  28. Well I didn’t gain any weight with my wife’s two pregnancies, but I think that is because I was so metabolically f-ed before hand.

    I did undergo the psychological changes… I really resonated with the “switch from wanting to make babies and slam them up against walls when they make noise, to being a lot more patient, kind, caring, and gentle.”…fits me to a T. Hulk SMASH to Pansy….

    It was right around the time of my second child that I did exude diabetic signs, so the increase in stress was definitely there. I’ve been looking into using different amino acids to deal with the stress (ie glycine (think broths), taurine, and gaba) Any thoughts, or any more effective methods of sure fire destressing?

  29. Ok, this is so funny, just the other day I was discussing this phenomena with my Dad (who experienced it with me being the ahem cause.) I have a couple of friends and they both experienced this when their wives were pregnant. I believe that its the hormones on her skin. Your skin is very permeable. Her hormones go for a serious ride during her pregnancy, you pet her, give her foot rubs (unless you are a total jerk and take off.) and you do everything you can to be by her side (as you should be!!!). Right? Besides, you should at least feel some of her pain, you can experience the joys of weight gain and weight loss post pregnancy together!!

    • Alisha- I like this. It seems plausible to me. The skin is really permeable- it’s like those ads for hair loss pills that say pregnant women shouldn’t even handle them. That always threw me for a loop that you could get messed up just from touching a pill, not even ingesting it.

      So anyway, that seems like a believable explanation- hormonal transfer via skin contact. Anyone know more about the science of this?

      • Rob A. and Alisha- I agree with this completely. I am a nurse, and all nurses (especially women) have to DOUBLE glove when giving certain prostate medications to patients due to the hormones in the med. Nurses who are pregnant or nursing are advised to not even handle the medication at all. I’m not pregnant or nursing, but it still makes me a little nervous…I don’t want anything messing with my hormones! This doesn’t help explain much about the science but I thought it was interesting and sort of relates.

  30. I know of a friend whose beard began to grow much stronger during his wife’s pregnancy, after the baby was born the strong beard growth stopped and went back to normal…..

  31. This happened to us! My husband and I were both slim when we met and we both put on weight when I got pregnant.

  32. t’s that most people are far too busy knowing everything to learn the truth.

  33. I don’t know lets test it out Matt. ;)

  34. My extremely lean husband gained a significant amount of weight for the first time in his life during my first pregnancy. He did lose it, but gained with each of my subsequent pregnancies and now has close to 30 extra pounds with him on a permanent basis. I do too…. but at least I have the babies to show for it ;)

  35. This syndrome is undoubtedly for real. I have three girls, and have experienced varying degrees of pregnancy effects with all three. I wouldn’t get throwing up morning sickness, but instead go 10-16 weeks of upset stomach/GI and almost IBS like symptoms. In addition, I definitely gained weight in my midsection with our third girl (both my wife and I gained a lot–partly because of a much higher protein diet, but packed on mostly pounds, not size). Additionally, my testosterone levels were lower and have remained slightly lower over all three pregnancies.
    As far as contact… due to my ongoing health issues beforehand (chronic fatigue, adrenal issues, insomnia) we had been sleeping in separate beds for months, during the entire third pregnancy. So… I think it definitely is more either a) sharing of energy/frequencies or b) such huge hormone output it’s in the air in the house because I worked away from home and slept in a different room for months. So not buying the skin contact, especially since skin contact happened mostly in the evenings when I felt the best.
    The stress, however, makes probably the most sense. With all three births, life circumstances created LOTS of stress, ongoing, especially pertaining to finances, security, etc and I already had wacked out cortisol/insulin levels from adrenal issues + hypoglycemia. This kinda makes the most sense to me, since I’ve become much less stressed from fully trusting/surrendering the stressors to Jesus Christ over the past several months, particularly in the last part of pregnancy/early weeks of birth of our third. Consequently, I’m more peaceful, sleeping MUCH better, awakening more rested, which = more energy, more testosterone, more sex drive, weight loss around midsection & in general, less hypoglycemia, etc, etc.
    Regardless…. the syndrome is VERY REAL!! We have used my symptoms to confirm her symptoms in knowing we were pregnant, even before tests showed up positive!!

  36. Late to the party, having just discovered your blog, but…

    I can be a n=1 guinea pig for you. My wife is 7 weeks pregnant. My weight has always been pretty stable at 78kg, give or take 1-2kg (sorry, I’m from a metric lovin part o’ the world). If I put on about 6kg by the time the baby pops (due late March) I’d be surprised, since my weight rarely fluctuates, but who knows!

  37. My wife is 5 months and I’ve always been in great shape, mma, powerlifting, etc.. and I’m the heaviest I’ve ever been in my life. And I’m still working out hard and dieting!

  38. Great post Matt and funnily enough its me too with some interesting caveats. Went on honeymoon in December at 83 kgs..gained 2-3 kgs. Found on Honeymoon that my wife was pregnant too. Since then weight has crept up to 91 kgs and have given up trying to shift it with adjusted food intake and exercise. My mood became more irritable, libido dropped down massively the last few months and the last few nights as my wife couldn’t sleep with the baby kicking and me snoring, I slept in the other bedroom. Well both mornings i woke up with the ability to hold up a tent.

  39. Another slow replyer….

    As an endurance athlete (advanced amateur) I carefully monitored both my food intake and my training schedules.

    My weight had been around 84 kg for 3 years. Six months into the pragnency, I saw a whopping 92kg on the scale, actually this morning. If anything, my training intensified during those 6 months and calory intake ranged for most of the days between 80% to 100% of what I needed just to sustain my weight (given BMR and calories burned in excercise).

    I can’t really relate to other effects or phenomena.


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