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How Common is Morning Sickness in Men?

By S. Gonzales
Updated Mar 03, 2024
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Morning sickness in men is much more common that the average person thinks. It's a symptom of Couvade syndrome, or sympathy pregnancy. Occurring across different cultures and socioeconomic classes, it can be the result of strong emotions regarding the pregnancy and the changing social roles of men.

Feeling sick to the stomach in the morning is just one part of Couvade syndrome. Also known as phantom pregnancy, the syndrome is a condition that results in an expectant father experiencing pregnancy symptoms as his mate does. These symptoms can also include weight gain, altered hormone levels, sleep pattern disturbances, nosebleeds, postpartum depression and even labor pains.

It's difficult to say exactly how common sympathy pregnancies are in men, since it depends on which symptoms people associate with the phenomenon. Using the common symptoms as a reference, research suggests that sympathy pregnancies can occur in as much as 80% of expectant fathers. Rarer symptoms, including belly growth and labor pains, might affect only 5% to 10% of fathers-to-be.

Morning sickness can begin for men as early as the first trimester and can last until the third trimester. It appears that symptoms are more common during the late stages of pregnancy and are likely to be more severe then, too. Expectant fathers should experience a total alleviation of symptoms after the birth of their child.

Sympathy pregnancy symptoms, including morning sickness, can occur in any ethnic group or socioeconomic class. Men around the world experience the phenomenon, and it is not limited to any particular generation. Sympathy pregnancies are more likely to occur in men who have deep emotional attachments to the fetus or the mother. One study found that 92% of men with a deep emotional investment in the pregnancy suffered from sympathy pregnancy symptoms. It's been suggested that those who have had trouble conceiving with their mates might be more likely to experience Couvade syndrome.

While many expectant fathers might suffer physically from sympathy pregnancies, the condition's legitimacy still is debated by experts. European research has questioned the condition's validity, but other experts argue that the condition continues to grow among the male population. These experts believe that the increase in occurrences is because of changing social roles in some cultures. They contend that these men are more likely to experience sympathy pregnancies, including morning sickness, because they are encouraged to be more nurturing and active during pregnancies and as fathers.

The Health Board is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
Discussion Comments
By anon993002 — On Oct 17, 2015

Pregnancy is always a possibility when sex has occurred. So I've been secretly worried. Our first time together was spontaneous and unprotected. About 24 hours after, he woke up with nausea. And again the next morning and the next. Yesterday he was actually puking his guts out. A neighbor asked him if he'd gotten someone knocked up.

We are convinced I'm pregnant. It's too early to tell on a home test. I have been really emotional and I too have had nausea, but it's not in the morning. Mine is every evening around 4-4:30. It's bad enough that I have to lie down. I think there my be something to this Couvade Syndrome. We'll see in a couple of weeks when I do a test.

By Emma32 — On Oct 02, 2015

My brother's fiancee is expecting a baby. It's early stages, but when she gets the cramps he gets the nausea and the other night he threw up for half an hour, but before he was sick he was fine. It just came on all of a sudden. Could he be getting the morning sickness?

By anon972688 — On Oct 06, 2014

I'm on my fifth pregnancy and its the best one yet. My other half has all the symptoms: morning sickness, heart burn, back ache, disturbed sleeping, weird dreams and cravings,

Meanwhile, I'm six months pregnant and I don't even feel it.

By anon349968 — On Sep 30, 2013

My children's father had morning sickness with all three of our babies and had cravings and his boss used to make fun of him for puking his guts up every morning at work.

By anon314930 — On Jan 21, 2013

I'm going to have my first baby in February or March, and my boyfriend has got morning sickness, and feels when the baby moves/kicks -- you know, that fluttery feeling -- and he also gets the cravings before I do. His aunt and daddy don't believe me that it happens. Guess I'll have to show them this, won't I? I wonder if he'll get my labor pains too.

By anon280804 — On Jul 20, 2012

My daughter is pregnant and I have dreadful morning sickness. I have had it for a few weeks now so I know its not a bug. After I had a hysterectomy, I used to have period pains along with her while she still lived at home. I sure hope this doesn't last through her pregnancy as I hope to goodness I don't get her labor pains!

By anon257857 — On Mar 29, 2012

My husband and I are pregnant. I saw this because I'm carrying our first child and he is having the morning sickness. Before he told me of this, I had never heard of such a thing. I wasn't having any sickness at all during the day at anytime. He, however, has been waking up every morning puking his guts up.

He told me the same exact thing happened to his parents when his mother was pregnant with him. We think it may have something to do with all the Native American Indian blood running through his family.

When his mother went to the doctor after testing positive on a home pregnancy test, her husband was having morning sickness. The doctors told her she just had a venereal disease. Her husband told her there was no way and that the doctors were wrong and she was in fact, pregnant. Turns out he was right and they were wrong. Obviously.

Anyway, I enjoy not have the morning sickness, although I hate when he rushes from bed straight to the bathroom all the time. His father also experienced labor pains, when his mother did not. We'll still have to wait and see for that one.

We should be due around December 20. Which is funny cause that's my husband's birthday.

By pastanaga — On Jun 04, 2011

I have to say, and I know it sounds bad, that I would be flattered if my husband experienced morning sickness when I was pregnant. Especially since male morning sickness seems to occur when the father is especially close to the baby. I wouldn't want him to suffer, of course, but it would be a good sign, wouldn't it? Not to mention, it would help him to see how I was feeling, something that he couldn't ever really experience.

I guess the cure for morning sickness for men is the same as for women. Just eat a few crackers and some water and try to think of something else. Either that or endure it until it goes away.

By Mor — On Jun 02, 2011

I wonder how much the number of children the father has already had can effect the symptoms. I don't mean to doubt what is clearly a real phenomenon, but feeling sick over your first baby might simply be nerves. It's tough to be a good father and someone who cares deeply about a pregnancy, particularly if they had trouble conceiving, might simply feel nervous and ill from the nerves.

If that was the case, the morning sickness symptoms might not be as strong with the subsequent children? Because the father is more used to the role, and knows what to expect.

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