Becoming a father causes hormonal changes

Becoming a father causes hormonal changes

Some studies prove that becoming a father is a complex and extraordinary experience, which causes profound changes in humans, even hormonal ones. Following this, it can affect the mood.

Becoming a father causes hormonal changes

Last update: 05 September, 2022

Becoming a father is a very intense experience for some men, to the point of being comparable to the feelings experienced by the woman who becomes a mother. This is proven by several studies carried out on men who became fathers who showed physiological changes similar to those of women.

These studies show that men have all the biological elements necessary to become fathers. One might think that some are not cut out for this experience due to the influence of cultural factors.

Just as being a mother takes on different meanings for a woman, too men have different ways of dealing with parenting. What we know for sure is that nature prepares the ground for having a child to be a rewarding and meaningful experience.

I think becoming a father inevitably changes your outlook on life. I don't sleep enough. And the simplest things in life are the ones that gratify me the most.

-Hugh Jackman-

Becoming a father and hormonal changes

Research conducted by Emory University and published in the journal Hormones and Behavior has been involved in analyzing the hormonal changes that occur when you become a father. The study participants were all men with healthy children, aged 1 to 2 years.

All participants were monitored by functional magnetic resonance imaging scanners. Each of the volunteers was shown a photograph of their child, one of an unknown child, and one of a stranger adult.

When they saw photos of their children, there was increased neuronal activity in the brain systems associated with reward and empathy. following an increase in oxytocin production, the famous "love hormone". Previous studies had shown the same in mothers.

These data confirm the conclusions of another study performed in 2014 and published in the US scientific journal PNAS. In it it is observed that fathers who have become exclusive guardians of the newborn show a brain activity very similar to that of women who have become mothers.

Postpartum depression

Postpartum depression is a condition of sadness, emptiness, and reluctance that many women experience after successfully carrying their pregnancy. It is estimated that it affects up to 30% of women and that in some it is so visible that it is easily confused with a psychosis.

A study published in the journal Pediatrics and directed by Dr. Craig Garfield shows another scenario: a number of fathers have clues to postpartum depression. The conclusions of the study showed that these traits were more visible in those who did not live with their children.

According to research, these symptoms are present in 10% of men who became fathers for the first time. It has also been established that unlike mothers in fathers the condition equivalent to postpartum depression appears between the third and sixth month of the newborn's life.

According to Canadian psychologist Francine de Montigny, one in 10 fathers suffer from postpartum depression. In her opinion, the fear of failure in the role of parent and the competition for the attention and affection of the woman would trigger this picture.

Fatherhood today

Fatherhood has often been underestimated, especially in typically patriarchal societies. It is widely believed that the father has an education based on responsibility rather than on affection. In recent years, however, many fathers have proved that it is possible to achieve a balance in this sense, discrediting this stereotype.

The studies cited prove just that: becoming a father causes positive hormonal changes. The increased production of oxytocin, observed in the first experiment mentioned, makes possible a mood similar to what we call happiness.

In the second study on postpartum depression, the factors that affect it are not so much physiological as psychological. Becoming a father is a wonderful experience, which if lived to the full increases personal well-being. It is now known, however, that men also need support and understanding to better face this experience.

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