News | Published:

The Couvade

    Naturevolume 150page734 (1942) | Download Citation



    IN the recently published September issue of Folk Lore, Mr, L. F. Newman discusses the curious but widespread and ancient custom named 'couvade', which consists in the illness of the husband during his wife's pregnancy, parturition and puerperium.He classifies the theories as to its origin in three groups according as they are held by (1) the classical school, who follow Apollonius Rhodius, Strabo, Plutarch and the other early writers ; (2) the historians, who base their views on authors such as Marco Polo, Bacon, Butler and others ; and (3) the anthropologists, who are influenced mainly by scientific data and records -from the life of the more primitive peoples. Mr. Newman comes to the conclusion that a number of quite diverse customs have been grouped together under the name of the 'couvade', and that many are not different types of one definite custom, but are survivals of recorded instances of separate customs and are of multiple origin.

    About this article

    Publication history

    Issue Date



    By submitting a comment you agree to abide by our Terms and Community Guidelines. If you find something abusive or that does not comply with our terms or guidelines please flag it as inappropriate.

    Newsletter Get the most important science stories of the day, free in your inbox. Sign up for Nature Briefing