4 Hormone Changes In Men During Pregnancy

Pregnancy is nine months of hormonal changes, morning sickness, mood swings and cramps for the to-be-mothers. A woman goes through a lot of changes physically and emotionally through this journey. But, what about the man? Nobody ever talks of what the man undergoes through these nine months of pregnancy. Pregnancy for a man might not be as hard as it is for a woman, but this doesn’t mean expectant fathers have it easy.

A recent study suggests that pregnancy affects expectant fathers’ bodies too. A study was conducted with 29 couples who were expecting their first child. Saliva samples of the couples were taken to measure the hormone levels in both the expecting parents in all couples. The tests were performed 4 times throughout pregnancy.


The test results showed some hormone changes in the expecting dads. It was seen that majorly 4 hormones were affected in all expectant dads. Read how these hormone changes affected the dads during pregnancy.


Though it is a known fact that testosterone levels drop after men have children, this study revealed that testosterone levels were altered even before the baby was born. The testosterone levels in the man seem to dropped down to a third in the three weeks prior to baby’s due date. The levels vary in different men, while some may experience a good decline, some men may have only minor blips. But irrespective of how intense these drops are, these reductions in the hormone levels are important. Testosterone is an aggression hormone, a drop in this hormone can be attributed towards the rise in paternal instincts and emotions for the baby, scientists point out.



Prolactin is the hormone that helps in milk production in women. So it would come as a surprise that men experience a hike in their prolactin levels during pregnancy. This hormone secreted by the pituitary gland stimulates milk production and is found in high amounts in expecting mothers. Studies have found that dads have the highest levels of prolactin right after the baby is born. But these high levels of prolactin don’t mean the man’s body is producing milk continuously.

Prolactin is also called the motherly hormone as it is responsible for the emotional connect and feeling between the baby and its parents. A recent Canadian study showed that high levels of prolactin in fathers meant they were more responsive to their babies’ cries. So while prolactin might not attribute to milk production in men, it definitely helps them be a better dad.



A study published in Evolution And Human Behavior stated that expectant fathers have higher levels of the stress hormone cortisol, especially three weeks prior to the baby’s due date. On the contrary, a study done in 2014 has different results, thus it is still unknown as to how cortisol levels change in men.

Cortisol is designed to alert us, make us capable of handling unexpected situations — which seems to be fairly something a to-be-father would need. New mothers tend to have high cortisol levels owing to the stress during pregnancy. It has been found that these high cortisol levels also help in the development of babies. Babies grow faster when the cortisol levels are high. Furthermore, here is a reason to blame the weight gain in men during pregnancy. Cortisol stimulates fat production and thus is responsible for the weight gain in men.



Estradiol levels drop in men during pregnancy. This may be due to the onset of the drop in testosterone levels, but estradiol in its own is very variant on estrogen. Estrogen is a female hormone and it doesn’t make sense how and why this hormone drops in men during pregnancy. The fact is, estradiol is also a factor for aggressive behavior in men. According to a research from 2014, it has been found that estradiol boosts male libido in men. High estradiol levels could mean men would be more aggressive and have a higher satiation for sex. So it makes sense why estradiol levels drop in men during pregnancy, after all, you don’t want your husband to get into brawls or walk with an insatiable sex thirst when you’re having a baby. The drop in estradiols makes expectant fathers more soft and affectionate towards their babies.

Pregnancy, therefore, is a phenomenon that affects both the expecting parents and, nurtures a couple from being man and wife to being mother and father.