Fatherhood Changes the Way Mens Brain Works

Published Date : Jun 17, 2014

A new research states that fatherhood changes the brain of men in the same way as it does following motherhood in women. Effectively, the brain nurtures a “baby sense” in men too after they become fathers, which is a sense of nurturing and extra care giving to babies, often recognized as a womanly trait. 

Researchers have only recently tried to delve in the neural and hormonal mechanisms developed while parents prepare themselves for the added responsibilities that come with childbirth. The evidences suggest that the similar neural circuitry is used by brains of both - a mother and a father, while taking care of their children. This causes the brains of men to show the similar emotional and cognitive patterns that are normally seen in mothers. 

The study involved analyses of brain activity in 89 new parents as they watched videos, some also involving the parent’s own children. The subjects studied belonged to three parenting groups - new mothers that were the primary caregivers of their children, fathers who assisted their partners with childcare and gay men who raised their children without the help of women and were the prime caregivers to their children. All the three groups of parents showed brain activities related to emotional bonding and social understanding. 

Especially in fathers who were the primary caregivers to the children, the brain activity was found very similar to that in the group of primary caregiver mothers. This suggests that parenting brain network follows a similar pattern in both sexes. 

A recent study (but different) has also revealed a rise in hormones such as estrogen, oxytocin, glucocorticoid and prolactin in men after they become fathers.