Related Topics: Hormones, News, Pregnancy

Men Get Hormone Surge When Baby Is Born

Levels of oxytocin and prolactin rise in new fathers to help them bond well with their babies.

AnnA Rushton

I am constantly amazed at how often men seem to want parity with women. There is always some new story or other about the male menopause and phantom pregnancy in men and now those baby hormones are also apparently theirs too.

Becoming a father is said to increase what is referred to as “the cuddle factor” (or oxytocin if you prefer the technical term) and prolactin is one of the hormones linked to milk output in new mothers. Certainly they are both believed to be an important factor in helping to bond mother and baby.

A new study by Professor Ruth Feldman of the Bar-Ilan University, Israel has indicated that this rise in the two hormones may well be evolution’s way of helping men turn into good parents and bond with their baby.

New fathers were studied cuddling and playing with their kids, showing strong linkage between hormone levels and how good they were at playing and communicating with their babies. Professor Feldman also believes that in the months after becoming a father, the hormones rewire men’s brains, steeping them in greater empathy.

Well I am certainly all in favour of that and the research shows that the greater the amount of daily contact and encounters with the child the greater the increases in prolactin and oxytocin. It certainly seems to explain why some men appear to be reformed personalities after having children but that is not to discount the very real bond, affection and caring that is also apparent in most new fathers – with or without a rise in their hormone levels.

As far as I know, men have not so far laid claim to having PMS but I await the press release with baited breath.

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