The Science Of Dad

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At some point in our lives we've all had a dad, and 80% of men become a father. But despite fathers making up half the parental population, the vast majority of scientific research has focused on the mother.

But studies have started to reveal the impact of fatherhood on both the dads themselves and on their children. We're seeing how fathers play a crucial role in children's behaviour, happiness, and even cognitive skills.

Oscar Duke, a doctor, new dad and author of How To Be A Dad, discovers how pregnancy, birth and childcare affects the father, bringing about physiological and hormonal changes bigger than puberty itself. Only 5% of mammal fathers invest in their offspring, and human males have evolved to undergo key changes upon the birth of their children.

Dads living with their pregnant partners are affected by the 'love hormone' oxytocin, nature's way of tightly bonding a couple as they prepare to parent together. At birth, a dad's testosterone level dramatically falls - never to return to pre-birth levels - increasing affection and responsiveness in the new father and preventing polygamy. And with more fathers taking on a hands-on role in bringing up their children, how can these new discoveries about the science of dad help support them?

Dr Oscar Duke discovers how pregnancy, birth and childcare affect the father