Fathers Also Show Biological Changes After Pregnancy: Study Explores First-Time ‘Dads’

Researchers show that men, much like women, may also experience some physiological changes in their cerebral cortex, even though they were not directly involved in pregnancy.

By studying fathers, researchers have had the opportunity to understand how pregnancy changes the brain that they may not be experiencing directly.

When it comes to childbirth, it’s common to talk about the changes a mother’s body undergoes before and after pregnancy. It’s natural. Their biological involvement in procreation makes the discussion pertinent. However, according to many experts, the physical and psychological changes that fathers can experience during and after pregnancy are overlooked in the conversation.

Several studies are now identifying a “dad’s brain” that may develop after childbirth. It shows that they may experience some physiological changes in their cortex. These changes allow them to experience more empathy and see things more visually than before.

Studies have shown that the transition to parenthood can be a window for parents into adult neuroplasticity. It can be both structural and functional. By studying fathers, researchers have had the opportunity to understand how pregnancy changes the brain that they may not be experiencing directly.

transition to paternity

the study First-time fathers show reduced longitudinal gray cortical volume was an international collaboration between two laboratories in Spain and California. Researchers collected structural neuroimaging samples of 40 pregnant fathers before and after the birth of their first child. The control group she included 17 childless men. The samples were tested to see if the transition to paternity caused any structural changes in brain cortical volume, area, thickness, and subcortical regions.

The results of this study showed slight contractions in the brain, and these changes were primarily in areas that regulate empathy and visual processing. According to some cited experts, these physiological changes occur to make fathers more adaptable to their children’s nonverbal communication, as they may require better sensory information processing. Other studies have shown that men also show hormonal changes after giving birth, such as lower levels of cortisol and testosterone, leading to less aggression and more empathy. No males showed such changes.

Changes may occur after birth

Studies have shown that unlike women, these physiological changes can occur when men are likely to interact with their children during the postpartum stage. Although it is not necessary to experience hormonal changes during pregnancy, fathers may also exhibit the same neural networks that mothers develop to process infant-related stimuli.

More research from a male perspective is needed

Pregnancy and childbirth are two subjects that have been partially studied from the perspective of women, according to experts. and postpartum mothers. Although many common changes were observed between mothers and fathers in these studies, there may be changes that are unique to first-time fathers.

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