couvade(redirected from Couvade Syndrome)
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the customs and rituals of childbirth creating the illusion that the father rather than the mother is giving birth to the child. Thus, the father pretends to be ill, adheres to a diet, groans, sometimes dresses in women's clothes, and later accepts congratulations and cares for the infant while the mother returns to work immediately after giving birth. There is evidence that the custom of couvade existed among the ancient Celts, Thracians, Scythians, and many tribes of America, Asia, and Oceania. Most Soviet ethnologists regard the custom as a reflection of the transition from a matrilineal to a patrilineal society, although some interpret it as a sign of the transition from group to paired marriage. Couvade also includes elements of magical aid for the woman in labor and of concern for the child.