How a Man’s Chemistry Is Changed After Becoming a Dad
You’ve heard it said before: No single life event changes a man more than fatherhood. It isn’t just a change of the heart; fatherhood changes a man’s hormonal and brain chemistry too. We’ve compiled a list of scientifically-proven ways that men are changed from the inside.
Hormonal and Brain Chemistry Changes Caused by Fatherhood
- Cortisol levels spike. Levels of the stress hormone called “cortisol” (behind the ancient “fight or flight” response) spikes about 4 to 6 weeks after men learn they’re going to be dads. This puts Future Dad’s brain on alert and warns him that he better start preparing for some major changes! His cortisol levels will even out again as the mother’s pregnancy progresses.
- Testosterone levels fall. The “male” hormone associated with competitiveness, aggression, and sex drive drops by roughly a third about 3 weeks before the birth of the baby! Some scientists believe this redirects a man’s focus from procreating to caretaking.
- Prolactin levels rise. A man’s supply of the hormone prolactin, which aids a mother to produce milk, rises by 20%. Research suggests that prolactin is involved in nurturing and bonding.
- Dads become more responsive to babies crying. Before fatherhood, women are much better than men at hearing babies cry and responding to them, but after fatherhood, the gap between genders closes.
- Other parts of a man’s brain are used more after fatherhood. Men who are fathers show dramatically different brain responses in regions, like the amygdala, that are involved in attention and emotional processing, than non-parents of both sexes.
Changes for the Better
The body changes a mother goes through as she becomes a parent are more obvious to observe, but fathers go through incredible body changes as well! It’s an amazing thing to know that the human body is equipped to evolve a man’s chemistry in order to make him a more nurturing father!
by Pamela Laney
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Members, review the lesson on the 3 Types of Parents found.