Yes, you read us correctly – while new moms go through the most noticeable physical and hormonal changes, new dads also experience hormonal changes.
A new father’s body might not make any prominent physical changes like a new mother's, whose body and mind will both act in unfamiliar ways. But, a new father can experience hormonal and brain cell level changes, too.
According to an article published in Psychology Today, fatherhood can make a man experience a biological sea of change that he may not have experienced since puberty.
After childbirth, a mother gets a flood of oxytocin, the bonding hormone. But this also plays a significant role in the father, too.
A new mom might experience high levels of Oxytocin during the quieter and peaceful parenting moments, such as while hugging, caressing, or merely gazing into the baby’s face. A new father, on the other hand, shows an upsurge in Oxytocin, by more stimulatory parenting responsibilities, such as tossing the baby in the air, trying to engage him in some activity, pulling him up to sit, or simply trying to make the baby laugh. Like in mothers, another trigger can be skin-to-skin contact with the child.
In fact, these changes in father start even before the baby is born. According to a study, a dad goes through his share of hormonal shifts with the approach of the due date. During the prenatal stage, a first-time dad shows a noteworthy decline in testosterone and estradiol, a hormone associated with caregiving and bonding. Fathers, in general, have lower testosterone than non-fathers, and this might be a natural way of getting them ready for fatherhood.
Testosterone primarily controls aggression and sex drive. While this drop might be due to the relationship change between them and their partners, it can also depend on how much these men are thinking about nurturing and parenting.
However, there’s a difference between new mothers and fathers - mothers do not have any control over their hormones, but fathers do!
A would-be father's or a new father's hormonal shift happens to depend on their behaviour – if you are an expecting father, to enjoy pregnancy more closely and to prepare yourself for the child, start spending more time with your partner.
As new fathers, your hormonal shifts depend on the choices you make. If you do not spend much time with your family and children, you may not experience any difference. To experience the right hormonal activity, you need to play with your kids, do your share of diaper changing or feeding, and spend time with them.