Harry Ashby, 29, has been suffering from morning sickness. He and his fiancée Charlotte Allsopp, who is 19, are expecting a baby. He was diagnosed with sympathetic pregnancy or Cauvade Syndrome after visiting his GP with weight gain, food cravings and exhaustion problems. The security guard who is from Erdington, Birmingham, was signed off sick with these unusual conditions.
He says his problems began about two months ago after they discovered the pregnancy. Mr Ashby, who auditioned for both the X Factor and Britain’s Got Talent, started experiencing morning sickness and his stomach and breasts also began growing. He started feeling exhausted most of the time, just like his fiancée, and suffered chest and back pains. “He started throwing up in the mornings and we’d lie on the sofa and moan at the same time about our aches and pains,” Miss Allsopp, a hair dresser said.
Their baby girl is due sometime early next year and the father shares the same cravings for orange Lucozade and fatty foods like Chinese takeaways, just like his wife. Mr Ashby, who is a part-time model, began panicking when he realized he had added a stone and a half. They researched his symptoms online before he visited his GP and he was diagnosed with Couvade syndrome, commonly known as sympathetic pregnancy.
According to his doctor, he was the first man to ever get a sick note for this type of condition and his security firm boss gave him time off work, after the diagnosis. He felt better after knowing what was troubling him and it made him appreciate what his fiancée is going through.
He also said that he understood what the Duchess of Cambridge was going through (he has a severe case of morning sickness, called hyperemesis gravidarum). He also hoped that speaking out about his condition would help others with similar problems. His partner, Miss Allsopp however says that she gets tired of having to take care of him while he should be taking care of her.
They have lost a baby previously during pregnancy and believe that this trauma may have led to the unusual closeness, which fascinates their friends. Miss Allsop’s baby is due January the 2nd and she is not the only one anxious about it. “I’m a bit nervous, as some men who have Couvade syndrome also had bad labor pains when their partners give birth,” she says.
Cauvade Syndrome also known as the male sympathetic syndrome, comes from French ‘couver’ meaning ‘to hatch’. Medically, the condition is not recognized although a study done in 2007 showed that out of 282 fathers in the survey, 11 of them had visited their GP with similar symptoms to those their pregnant partners were experiencing. Symptoms include: vomiting, nausea, food cravings, weight gain, depression, tiredness, tooth ache and fainting. In extreme cases, the men develop a pregnant-looking stomach and breasts. The symptoms, according to some of the sufferers, subsided after some time while others claimed they lasted up to and also during labor.