Why Dads Gain Pregnancy Sympathy Weight And How To Prevent It

Put down the gross craving sandwich and do some prenatal yoga.

Originally Published: 
A man sits behind his pregnant wife on their bed, holding her.

Gaining sympathy weight during pregnancy is totally normal. Even though you’re not carrying your baby, you may well gain weight over the 9-month journey to fatherhood. This “sympathy weight” isn’t a myth. In fact, a 2009 study found that men reportedly gained an average of 14 pounds during their partner’s pregnancy. Here are some reasons why men said they gained pregnancy weight:

  • Eating outside the home with pregnant partners more often. (Because it’s not like you’re going to say no to her Buffalo Wild Wings cravings. Or her Cheesecake Factory cravings. Or her Dairy Queen cravings. Or…)
  • The explosion of new snack options in the house. (Because you need the ingredients for that peanut-butter-pickle-Dorito-sandwich around if you’re going to make them on demand.)
  • An overwhelming desire to make their partners feel better about their own weight gain. (Because why should she feel like she’s the only one who grunts when she tries to stand up?)
  • Being served portion sizes for two, just like her. (Because asking for less would be rude and, let’s face it, you don’t want to be rude when she can be a little…unpredictable.)

Sadly, things don’t get much better after the kid arrives. A 2015 study that followed 10,000 men for two decades found that dads gained an average of four pounds. The single dudes without children? Those jerks lost over a pound, probably because of all the sex they were having.

So, how to fight pregnancy weight gain? Here are some simple steps to make sure the sympathy stays on your lips and not on your hips:

Get Outside With Her

There are plenty of activities your partner can do while pregnant that will help keep her own weight gain within healthy parameters. Join her on walks, swims, or even low-impact weightlifting. Just make sure you know what’s safe.

Hit The Yoga Mat

If she’s into doing prenatal yoga, you should be into it too. All of the good things it does for her — including increasing strength, flexibility and lowering stress levels — will help you, too.

Turn Your Home Into A Gym

Seriously, gym memberships and two-hour workouts are so last decade. These days, it’s all about getting your workout in fast, without ever having to leave the home. And post-2020, there are many options widely available.

As for the food? Just stop eating so much of it. Seriously. That’s it. Besides, those peanut-butter-pickle-Dorito-sandwiches are just nasty. What are you even thinking?

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