In recent years there have been many research studies looking into the hormonal changes men experience when becoming fathers. These studies have taken place all over the world and generally agree; men undergo hormonal changes when they become fathers. I imagine, with time, it will be discovered all family members experience similar metamorphous. We shall see.
Becoming a father is a major change in life. It affects everything; change in the relationship with baby’s mother, change in responsibilities, physical changes in less sleep, deep concern for ones new role, care for a helpless infant, financial pressures, etc. In addition, there are many pressures internalized through ones previous life experience, childhood, and expectations.
We will look over the research presently. As a postpartum doula I believe the previous mentioned pressures are a major factor in acclimating to parenthood. The new responsibilities and expectations are many. Very few postpartum professionals assist clients in considering the affect of these many changes in their lives. Yet, this is an area where we can smooth the way and provide a forum for consideration.
When I became a parent I felt an enormous responsibility. Suddenly I was caretaker to a literally helpless individual. Our son could not do anything for himself. He was dependent upon us for everything. The weight of this responsibility was staggering. Yes, it is apparent in every birth. Yes, nearly every parent survives their child’s infancy and more. However, no one had discussed the shear weigh of the responsibility. This surprised me. I don’t consider myself particularly introspective, and I am sure I am not the first new parent to be aware of these points, yet why had they not been addressed somewhere? This is another discussion……
Rather than my assessment of the following material I encourage you to read at least three of these studies and evaluate for yourself. I have included a small paragraph from each for your interest. Happy reading. JUDY
Fathers-to-Be May Have Hormonal Changes Too January 8, 2015
By Shereen Lehman Men waiting to become fathers for the first time experienced hormonal changes before their babies were born, and levels of some hormones appeared linked to those of the men’s wives, according to a new study.
New fathers may undergo hormonal, neural and behavioral changes
20 August 2017
Fathers’ hormone levels and brain activity may change when they spend time with their children, helping them adapt to parenthood in a way that has been overlooked until now, according to Professor Marian Bakermans-Kranenburg, who studies children and family relations at Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam and was until recently at Leiden University in the Netherlands. She is conducting a series of studies with new fathers, to investigate the role that hormones can play in how they bond with their children.
There is a lot known about the hormonal changes in mothers, but do they compare to what happens in new fathers?
Fathers-to-be experience hormone changes Wednesday 17 December 2014
“Men suffer pregnancy symptoms too: Fluctuating hormones make fathers-to-be … more caring,” the Mail Online reports. A small US study found evidence of changes in hormonal levels that may make fathers-to-be more able to cope with the demands of fatherhood.
University of Notre Dame
Fathers’ postnatal hormone levels predict later caregiving (Science Daily) October 3, 2018
Dads whose cortisol levels were elevated while they held their newborns on the day of their birth — either skin-to-skin or clothed — were more likely to be involved with indirect care and play with their infants in the first months of their lives.
The Biology of Fatherhood: Rewiring the New Dad Brain
Human dads show a decrease in testosterone immediately after the birth of their babe. The hormone stays low for up to three months. For the dads who actively participate in childcare (good for you!), testosterone concentrations are even lower than their counterparts taking on a less active child care role.