Word of the Day

Sunday, June 20, 2010


\koo-VAHD\ , noun;
A practice in certain cultures in which the husband of a woman in labor takes to his bed as though he were bearing the child.
Whether men experience couvades or not, there are plenty of other birth rituals for them to partake in: sitting through prenatal classes, going to ultrasound appointments, strapping on thirty pound lead empathy bellies, attending coed baby showers, making smalltalk during epidural sessions, photographing the birth, cutting the umbilical cord. . .
-- Tina Cassidy, Birth: The Surprising History of How We Are Born
Although husband involvement in the birth process is not uncommon in preindustrial societies, as we showed in Chapter 5, the emerging American practice of having the husband present at the delivery itself is almost unique in world societies. The increasing popularity of this new form of "couvade" in the United States is particularly intriguing theoretically and represents an unexplored issue in social-psychological research.
-- Karen Paige, Jeffery M. Paige, The politics of reproductive ritual
Couvade comes from the French couver, "to incubate or hatch."
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