It may sound like a fictional tale, but for one man experiencing the same symptoms as his pregnant girlfriend, it is no laughing matter.
Morning sickness, swollen nipples and a growing belly are just a few of his symptoms that began to show themselves as Mike Dowdall’s girlfriend began suffering the symptoms that go along with being pregnant.
After suffering from nausea and vomiting for two-weeks which Dowdall and his girlfriend, Amanda Bennet initially thought was a stomach bug, it was off to the doctor who diagnosed the 25-year-old with Couvade syndrome – a phantom pregnancy.
Though the condition isn’t medically recognised the bloating, weight gain, morning sickness and sore nipples are far from imagined.
Some believe Couvade syndrome to be a psychomatic condition while other postulate that hormonal changes are the cause of biological changes.
Researchers believe that those men who are very close to their partners can present similar symptoms as a sympathetic reaction to what their partner is going through.
Dowdall and Bennet say they have known each other since they were 11 and work and live closely.
Bennet, who appeared on UK show This Morning with Dowdall, said when her morning sickness began and ended – weirdly so did Dowdall’s.
“I was quite ill, I went to my GP and told him what I was experiencing at the same time as Amanda,” Dowdall told interviewers.
“I burst out laughing when he said it was a sympathetic pregnancy, as an avid gym goer and jack the lad.”
In spite of the unpleasant symptoms, Dowdall says his girlfriend’s pregnancy has been a wonderful experience.
“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.”
Right now, Dowdall’s main concern is that he may suffer from contractions when Bennet goes into labour – known as sympathy pains – or postnatal depression.
The couple are expecting a boy.