Now it’s a known fact that expecting women are swamped by changing hormones that bring in a plethora of changes in their lives, from morning sickness to sudden mood changes to cravings! All to be dads start finding themselves in unfamiliar territory, having to deal with so many changes in their partners, all of a sudden. But now dads to be, did you know it’s not only your partner’s hormones but your hormones as well, which changes during the pregnancy period?
Surprisingly, while both mom and dad are to be parents, 99% of the research on pregnancy is only on moms to be! But dads to be, here is some good news for you as well! Finally, research has been done on dads to be to see if they undergo any hormonal changes during the gestation period, and the results say yes, dads to be, too, go through their fair share of hormonal changes! Of course, they are not as bad as to be mommys, making you rush to the loo either to puke or to pee, or having to rummage through the refrigerator late at night for your favorite ice cream. But they are good enough not only to make you more gentle with less of aggression but also lower your sex drive, a bit!
Coming to this research, this was conducted on 29 first-time expecting couples whose hormones (testosterone, cortisol, estradiol, and progesterone) were tested during four different times during the pregnancy, at a gap of 8 weeks each, that is during the 12th week, 20th week, 28th week and 36th week. While in a woman, it was found that there was an increase in all four hormones, for men, there was seen a dip in the hormones testosterone and estradiol. Now while testosterone is linked with your aggression dominance and sex drive, the hormone estradiol is associated with caregiving and bonding. Here it is interesting to note that as per previous studies, fathers, in general, have a lower testosterone level compared to non-fathers, thus indicating that this hormonal shift during pregnancy could be one of nature’s ways to start tuning the to be dads for the dad roles!
As per Robin Edelstein, an associate professor of psychology at the University of Michigan and also a co-author of the study, having low levels of testosterone, especially when you are around a child is good since it not only reduces your levels of aggression but also promotes nurturance. Also, as per him, since previous studies have shown estradiol levels to increase after dads met their newborns, it could be that the levels were low till birth, after which they would increase, but this was again, just speculation.
Although Edelstein’s this research comes as a first of its kind for expecting dads when it comes to their hormone, more research is needed on the same, especially to compare these hormonal changes with men in non-prenatal circumstances. Researchers are still working on many similar aspects of this research, like, is it the lowering of the hormones that make men inclined towards nurturing, or is it the nurturing that leads to a dip in the hormone of the men. Also, scientists cannot entirely explain why this change in hormones of, to be, dads take place. As per some experts, it could be because to be dad’s bodies are reacting to the to be mom’s pheromones, which are chemical messengers secreted by the skin and sweat glands. These chemicals may trigger dad’s brain to start making the hormonal changes necessary for paternal behavior. Thus, in short, there is scope for a lot more research on these lines.
So how does to be mom’s benefit from these hormonal changes in dads? Well with lower testosterone levels, not only will he be lesser interested in sex (which is a benefit, because sex is exactly not easy with that bulging tummy), they will also be losing their cool less, and pampering you more and this is exactly what every woman would want when she is expecting. What could be better than to be dad helping you complete household chores to once a while cooking your favorite meal for you? All thanks to his hormones!