A new study has revealed that fathers, just like mothers, experience hormonal changes likely to help with parenting.
The research found that men became more empathetic and motivated to care for their children once they became fathers.
Whilst it is widely known that women go through substantial hormonal changes during pregnancy which help them prepare for their role as mothers, this new finding suggests that men’s bodies also change in order to adapt to child rearing.
Oxytocin, which increases during pregnancy has traditionally been viewed as a ‘female’ hormone for its ability to help with birth, bonding with the baby and milk production, but the study confirms men also experience an increase in this hormone, which in fathers facilitates physical stimulation of infants during play as well as the ability to synchronise their emotions with their children.
Fathers who were given a dose of oxytocin during the study and then shown a picture of their children displayed increased neural activity in brain systems associated with reward and empathy, compared to placebo.
The researchers now hope to investigate why some men are more involved in caregiving than others.
Very many thanks to Dana for sharing this hugely interesting research with us.