This custom is or was once on every continent, and I am about curious on your take about it? Not every society had it, but it was present on 17% of societies.
the father of the child, seemingly instead of the mother, lies in bed, looks weak, fasts, and is attended by the women, in short, behaves just as if he were the person who had given birth to the child and were suffering pains.
Missionary were really negative about these customs which you can see from this example
I discovered that a case of couvade occurred in Elbasan on January 28th, 1924. A certain Gjon Pal Poplekaj, a Roman Catholic belonging to the tribe of Dushmen in North Albania, had come to work in Elbasan and married an Orthodox girl from that town. On the birth of their first child, Margarita, the Orthodox women went to congratulate the mother and to their horror found the husband in bed beside her on the floor. ‘It made us feel very shy,’ (na erth shum turp) my informants say. His mother-in-law, who had no doubt been scandalized enough herself, explained that he was following the custom of his distant tribe…Unhappily the good folk of Elbasan so laughed at the man that he has not dared to do couvade at subsequent births, and even denies that he did so at Margarita's. His mother-in-law also denies his doing so, though both know how many Orthodox women caught him in the act, and what an outcry it caused. There is thus no hope of extracting an explanation of the custom from him or her. Perhaps some old woman in Dushmen might be more communicative.