Hormone changes are thought to alter only in mums-to-be, but, in fact, dads-to-be can also experience some complex changes that are hard to explain, let alone empathise with.
From panic to learning to cope, a baby is a big game changer in most people’s lives, but the changes are taking place way before the delivery room doors are bursting open with pride and joy.
According to a US neuropsychiatrist, Louann Brizendine, men undergo major hormonal changes as they get to grips with a new baby on the way. Men become more sensitive to the needs of a child and their environment and happily get on with tasks that they didn’t think they would be getting involved in, such as nappy changing.
Many needn’t think they have to be supermen, bouncing around at 3am in the morning. it is actually hormones, and the sudden change of becoming mature, that ramps up their involvement in their baby’s upbringing and the dawning that they are now a parent.
My, how you’ve gown?
What a baby actually provides is a crash course manual for their dad on how to become adept in many tasks, from helping to feed, to changing nappies, bathing and everything else. The survival mode of a male, and father, begins to kick in.
Brizendine found heightened levels of the stress hormone, cortisol, that peaks for men at about six weeks, when reality hits that they going to become a dad.
There are many solutions to coping with the increased anxiety levels, such as finding out more about childbirth and talking to other dads who have gone through the same process.
In contrast, testosterone, related to aggressiveness, will fall by a third, within a month of the due date, says Brizendine. This is based on the needs of the species: a young one will thrive better if there is a dad helping out in the home, rather than one parent battling away.
What the future holds
Find out what will happen in the future on the next page…