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I know. I know. I’ll get to the title and the article in a minute, not trying really for any theatrics here, but I can’t believe it has been a year since my last posting. What happened? Well, first there was this pile of articles on sleep apnea, acupuncture, medical marijuana amongst others that I just never seemed to be able to get to in a timely fashion. Then there was this photoblog that was infintely more enjoyable and way easier. My subscription to the Wall Street Journal expired (no joking) on top of it all, and then there was just life.

Don’t they say– good things happen to those that wait, LOL?

Well, I finally restarted my subscription to my biggest article source, the WSJ a couple of weeks ago. In it was The Plight of the Pregnant Man. It wa very interesting to read that “pregnancy symtoms” in men whose mate or partner or wife or whatever PC lingo one uses today — nausea, fatigue, food cravings, odor aversions, mood swings, weight gain –are actually caused by a rise in the level of the hormone Prolactin in the man! Prolactin is responsible for many of the physical changes women experience during pregancy, especially breast enlargement and weight gain. In men, it is also responsible for a lowering of the testosterone level, and a lesser interest in sex.

It is interesting to note that psychologists in the 1800’s came up with the term “couvade” for male pregnancy symptoms (french for “to incubate” or “to brood”, like a mother bird) and Freudians attributed couvade to “fetus envy”, but this has been around since antiquity. Oh where would Woody Allen be without all of that?

It turns out, that males with pregnant partners that experience pregnancy symptoms have been shown to have an elevated prolactin level, and the higher the prolactin, usually the more in sync they are with the expectant mother and the more “maternal” they are after the birth. Higher levels also cause more symptoms, of course.

It wasn’t quite clear how or why certain men got elevated prolactin levels and perhaps others no elevation. But, the take-away message for me is how many other “psychological” conditions are really chemically based, but we have yet to figure out how to assess or measure it? Psychodynamic psychotherapy has no place here, except to be supportive of the symptoms and only tends to pathologize something apparently biological or even evolutionary.

PS – I gained 15 pounds when my ex-wife was pregnant the first time!!!

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