New Dads Gain Weight

One dad 'weighs' in on revealing new study

A new study shows men gain weight when they become fathers.

“Fatherhood can affect the health of young men, above the already known effect of marriage,” lead author Craig Garfield, a Northwestern University associate professor, said in a release. “The more weight the fathers gain and the higher their BMI, the greater risk they have for developing heart disease as well as diabetes and cancer.”

Here is the thing. Every dad on the planet knows that when your wife gets pregnant and starts eating “for two,” so do we guys.

The French even have a term for it, which isn’t surprising, since the French have a term for everything related to food and sex. The term is “couvade,” French for “Hmm, I wonder what’s in the freezer.”

I packed on a good 30 pounds during one of my wife’s three pregnancies. People thought I was expecting.

A more accurate translation might be “sympathetic pregnancy” — the tendency for men to empathize with what their wives are going through and mimic some of their emotions and behaviors. And to hover over them more, thus spending less time at the gym.

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It might also have to do with the fact that at different times of the pregnancy, sex is about as desirable to a woman as a colonoscopy is to us guys, so we have to do something to feel good.

I packed on a good 30 pounds during one of my wife’s three pregnancies. People thought I was expecting.

When a woman is pregnant, all of the attention rightly goes to her. Her emotional needs and her physical needs become paramount. But guess what? We fellas have feelings, too. Just saying.

We’ve got hugely mixed emotions going on. And we’ve got a lot of fear:

  • We want the baby to come out healthy, with 10 fingers, 10 toes, all factory-installed parts working fine.
  • We wonder whether we’ll be up to the task of fatherhood if it’s our first one, or going from man to zone coverage if it’s not.
  • We realize we’ll never be No. 1 in our wife’s eyes again, and that makes us downright mournful.
  • We recognize that having sex is going to be a lot more complicated and potentially a lot less frequent.
  • We have concerns about our abilities to provide financially for the new arrival. Last time I checked, college is expensive, and so are the 18 years preceding it.
  • And we know that our routines will be disrupted, in some cases, forever, and that even small things like getting to the gym will be harder as the pregnancy continues and the baby arrives.

But we can’t bring up our emotions or our worries to our wives without looking, well, unmanly. So we swallow our feelings, along with a nightly pint of Ben & Jerry’s.

Hey, it’s better for us than Budweiser, and nobody ever got a ticket for driving while overweight.

Next time you see a guy and he looks like he could drop a few pounds, say a prayer for him.

It took a lot longer for me to get the weight off than it took getting it on. And once I did, my wife got pregnant again … and then a third time. It’s why I can identify with the title of Tom Arnold’s memoir, “How I Lost 5 Pounds In Six Years.”

The good news is that I finally dropped the weight and kept it off, and now I have the pleasure of working out at the gym and doing 5Ks and 10Ks with my kids, three of whom are now teenagers.

I also got a really great wardrobe. It was hanging in my closet. I just didn’t fit into it for a while.

So the next time you see a guy and he looks like he could drop a few pounds, say a prayer for him. Chances are his wife is pregnant. He’s eating for two — himself and his wife.

Or if you count the baby, he’s eating for three.

Cherry Garcia, anyone?

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