A study has found that it may actually be possible to predict a man's parenting style before the baby is born.
Although there have been many studies about the bond between new moms and their newborns, there's not so many about new dads.
Well, until now, that is! A recent study has decided to observe dads-to-be during their partners' pregnancy. A small study published in the journal Developmental Psychobiology looked at thirty-nine men during their partners' pregnancy, and then again after pregnancy at 3 months postpartum.
The study found that levels of oxytocin and activation in certain parts of the brain may help predict how men will behave as parents.
In the study, the expectant fathers were asked how or why a task was being done. During this, an MRI was used to record the areas of the brain that activated in the soon-to-be fathers. The men also provided blood samples to record their oxytocin levels.
Oxytocin is the hormone that in women triggers labor and lactation and in men has a role in moving sperm.
After birth and at 3 months postpartum, the men returned to the lab to complete a parenting philosophy questionnaire.
The dads who had shown strong activation in brain regions that support theory of mind, the foundation for social interaction, were reported to use a more empathetic form of parenting, USC Dornsife reports.
Those same fathers with a large theory of mind activation also tended to have higher levels of oxytocin in their blood.
As per Insider, the fathers with a greater theory of mind and higher oxytocin levels reported a more baby-led parenting style.
Sofia Cardenas, a psychology Ph.D. student at USC Dornsife and lead author of the study, said: "Our study suggests that prenatal neural activation in theory of mind regions does seem to be related to a postpartum father's self-reported endorsement of an intuitive parenting style."
The sample size of the study is only small, however Cardenas hopes this "will contribute to larger studies."
"Although a handful of studies have looked at oxytocin levels in new mothers," she said. "Fathers have mostly been ignored within this neurobiological research. We hope that will contribute to larger studies that investigate how fathers bond with a baby."