Why Men Put on Pregnancy Weight

Jul 06, 2009
Men seem to gain extra weight during their wives' pregnancy and one third of new dads will try to lose weight to get into pre-pregnancy shape, a new study shows. Scientists say that men need to be watchful of their diet habits since they put on weight when expecting, just like their partners do.

It is normal for women to gain 12 to 15 kg of weight during pregnancy, while their spouses may gain up to 6 kg on average and add around 5 cm to their waist.

There are several explanations why many men gain pregnancy weight:

Woman's Eating Habits

One of the most common explanations for men's weight gain during pregnancy is the availability of tasty foods. During pregnancy many women have food cravings and tend to buy a lot of snacks, full-fat dairy products, sweet food, which tempt their partners to eat more. There is no wonder that men are prone to overindulge in pizza, beer and chocolate when so many tasty treats is lying around the house.

Comfort Eating

For many partners anxiety over arrival of a new member of the family can become a main reason for pregnancy weight gain. It is normal for most men to feel doubtful and confused during their woman's pregnancy. With the main focus on pregnant mother, fathers often feel isolated and suppress their anxiety by overeating.

Couvade Syndrome

Many expecting experience a so-called sympathetic pregnancy, when they start experiencing all the common pregnancy symptoms, including sweet or salty cravings, morning sickness and weight gain. It is estimated that around 80 percent of fathers-to-be experience Couvade syndrome. Scientists say that such factors as unconscious rivalry with their partners, ambivalent feelings about pregnancy, infertility problems before conception and identification with the growing baby may play a role.


Pregnancy is considered to be quite emotional period for spouses. In general, men feel excited over their wives' pregnancy and thus eat better. The online survey conducted by OnePoll of 5,000 men study revealed that around 25 percent of all men eat more to make their partners feel better about their own weight gain.