Mother Nature works in strange ways. More and more research is unveiling just how many changes an expectant dad's body goes through during pregnancy. So the next time you're tempted to throw the "You don't understand" cliché in his face, be prepared for him to turn around and say, "Oh, but I do, darling!"
It's the hormones, honey!
You read right, now pick up your jaw from the floor. It's a commonly known fact that a mother's estrogen and progesterone levels almost triple during pregnancy, but new research shows that fathers aren't that far behind, either. In a study published in Hormone And Behavior, Professor Ruth Feldman states that some pheromones that are released by the mother's sweat glands during pregnancy lead to a decrease in the father's testosterone levels and an increase in the prolactin levels. Simply put, prolactin is the 'empathy' hormone. It's the magic ingredient that turns men into fathers.
Want some more good news? Here you go.
Professor Feldman also claims that with the arrival of the baby, the level of oxytocin, the 'cuddle' hormone, rises in the father, enabling him to be a more communicative and sensitive father. Now you know how immature husbands transform into responsible fathers almost overnight.
Pass the smelling soaps and dry crackers, please
Okay, so you probably already know about the sympathy weight that some dads seem to gain when their wives are pregnant. But men are all out to steal the women's thunder. Research shows that as many as 80 per cent soon-to-be dads show symptoms of pregnancy! It is called the couvade symptom (derived from the French word 'couvee' which means 'to hatch'). It usually starts towards the end of the first trimester and continues throughout the pregnancy. Ladies, don't be surprised if your red meat eating husbands suddenly start craving mango pickles and salt crackers. And be nice, share!
While you're selecting the drapes and picking out the colours for the nursery, your husband is going through his version of the nesting syndrome. While women tend to focus on cleaning and decorating, men go into the workman mode-building the highchair, babyproofing the house, remodelling the furniture. Now's the time to take advantage of your plumber-cum-electrician-cum-mechanic on call!
Was that a pin I heard falling in the next room?
Pregnancy, quite literally, turns men into better listeners. No, that still doesn't mean you have a snowflake's chance in hell of being heard over a Man United vs Man City game, but what that does mean is that his auditory senses are sharpening in preparation of providing round-the-clock care to his baby when it arrives. Mother Nature rewires the brains' circuits of newbie parents to make them more alert and perceptive. While mothers still trump men when it comes to being able to hear almost imperceptible baby sounds, men are definitely hearing better as fathers. And not just hearing, they're listening too!
Mothers who worry incessantly, here's reason to rejoice. Just like your body syncs with your newborn's to follow a certain rhythm and pattern, your husband's body is primed to synchronise with your baby's, too. The upsurge of hormones and rewired brain are to thank for, for this. But mothers, you need to step away and leave your babies alone with your husbands for the changes to kick in. Research shows that dads behave differently, and better, with their kids when not under the watchful eyes of their wives. So enough of pushing them to the sidelines. That mani-pedi appointment you've been dying to make? Book it now.