OK, guys — what gives?
Ina recent podcast of The Body Odd, a listener from Seattle posed this question: If I’m the one who’s pregnant, why is my husband the one who’s gaining weight?
The mention of that awkward little issue sparked all sorts of e-mail traffic from listeners who shared stories about morning sickness, all-day sickness, cravings and compulsive snacking. Holly from Covington, La., wrote in with this gem of an anecdote: “My husband did gain weight, as he had the pregnancy cravings and not me. He once climbed into bed at 3 in the morning with an Italian sausage.”
And here’s another from Melissa of Albuquerque, N.M.: “I was so sick the first four months of my pregnancy that I lost 17 pounds, and before I knew it my husband had gained at least 15! He ate for the three of us! Burgers, fries, chips, ice cream — everything!”
Read on for more responses from moms, moms-to-be and the men who love them:
I, and most of the men in my childbirth class here in Gainesville, Fla., have put on nearly 10 pounds since our wives have been pregnant. I think this is due to my lax attitude towards regulating my wife’s diet. I’m right there with her through all the cravings whether it be fried ice cream or turkey melts. My sympathy for her is directly linked to my palate!
— Aaron, Gainesville, Fla.
I had a fairly easy pregnancy ... and YES, my husband gained more weight than I did! I’ve heard a lot of people call it “sympathy weight” and when I ate, he ate, and I ate A LOT! Plus all we did was hang out at home when I was pregnant and hardly did any exercising, so we just got really lazy and comfortable while we waited for our now not-so-little 14-month-old!
I’m 28 weeks. I’ve gained 21 pounds, my husband more than 30.
— Jill, Connecticut
My fourth and final pregnancy started with the worst nausea I had ever experienced. I was sure it was the flu, but nine months later I was still throwing up, on the operating table no less, as I was having my first Caesarean section. My husband got cravings for ice cream every night that year and we gained weight together for the first time.
— Georgette, Salem, Ore.
When I got pregnant with my first child my husband suffered morning sickness and gained weight — it was so cute to see HIM be the one suffering instead of me. If more men suffered this there wouldn't be as many children born — I can almost bet 100 percent on it. My husband actually vomited every morning and evening, and just the smell of some foods made him vomit, and he gained about 25 pounds. With my second child I wasn't so lucky — I suffered and he got a break.
— Cricket B. Lafayette, Ind.
I had morning sickness for the first five months. I was losing more weight than gaining due to my inability to keep food down. Although not proud to admit it, I actually became an expert at vomiting. I could leave a room, go vomit, come back and nobody would know what just happened. I also don’t know why they call it morning sickness — I was sick all day long! By the end of my pregnancy, I did put on the 30 pounds my doctor wanted and gave birth to a healthy 9-pound-13-ounce baby boy. ... My husband gained just as much weight as me, if not more.
— KML, Philadelphia
My husband had morning sickness, hemorrhoids and backaches the entire time I was pregnant with our last child 20 years ago.
I am 37 and just gave birth to my forth, and last child, gaining 11 pregnancy pounds total, but he must have put on at least 25+ pounds. How does that happen?
— Robyn, Sunnyvale, Calif.
Both times while I was expecting, my husband had morning sickness and craved sweets, which was really out of character for him. The old wives’ tale is that means you are really connected if he feels your pain. Sympathy pains, the doctor called them.
I’m seven months, and I don't have morning sickness: My husband does. He has the cravings too. I've lost weight — OB said pregnancy sped up my metabolism. Yah!
— Eupholia, Jacksonville, N.C.
When I was pregnant, my husband experienced a lot of heartburn — just like women when they’re pregnant.
— Yary, Waterbury, Conn.
My morning sickness was so bad that I lost 12 pounds in the first month alone and kept losing ‘til it ended. I couldn’t sit up, lie down or stand. I was trying to read a book during this time. Didn’t manage to finish it and to this day (29 years later) if I try to read that book I get extremely ill. My husband did not gain weight. ... In fact, he got mad at me for being so ill.
— Branwen, St. Louis, Mo.
Thankfully, I never had morning sickness. My husband has gained a little weight only because he had a snack whenever I did.
— Jaclyn, Delaware
I didn't have morning sickness or cravings. But my husband gained weight because he craved a lot of foods. He also got a lot of headaches and felt bloated a lot. It's like the things that should have affected me, affected him instead. Pretty nice, actually.
— LA, Des Moines, Iowa
My morning sickness was so bad, they taped a 30-gallon garbage bag to my desk at work. On my way to deliver my daughter as 12 at night, my husband had to pull over so I could throw up. Also, I couldn’t stand the smell of my husband when I was pregnant ... no matter how many showers or cologne.
— TJ, Los Angeles