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- One theory suggests they feel more masculine having created a child in their own image
- Another possibility is they like women cooing over them when they're carrying the baby around
By Daniel Bates In New York
PUBLISHED: 11:04 EST, 9 April 2013 | UPDATED: 11:23 EST, 9 April 2013
Men feel more attractive once their partners have given birth, scientists at University of California-Santa Barbara suggest
Women may get a glow during pregnancy, but now it turns out that men feel they are more attractive as well - only after the baby has arrived.
In the first study of its kind, men said that their self image improved after the birth in what is being called a ‘hidden benefit’ of becoming a dad.
The scientists said that men could get the boost because they feel they they are more masculine having just seen a mini version of themselves enter the world.
They could also get a kick out of women cooing over them as they walk around with their baby.
Women by contrast did not experience such a lift about their appearance - possibly because the physical demands of raising a child left them a shadow of what they used to be.
The study examined 182 people who were all newlywed adults with an average age of 24 for a women and 26 for a man.
They asked them to give their verdict on their own wellbeing and appearance at the start of the study, the one year anniversary and the second anniversary.
One question asked them to rate how attractive they found themselves on a scale of one to 10 and how ordinary they thought they were on a scale of one to five.
For men who didn’t have children, notions of attractiveness remained stable.
But those who became fathers during the study’s timeframe felt more attractive after their child was born than they did previously.
Lead researcher Alicia Cast, an associate professor the University of California-Santa Barbara, said: ‘I was talking about this paper with my husband and he commented on the attention he got when he was seen in public holding our son after he was born.
One theory suggests men feel more masculine having helped create a child in their own image
‘Like: "Aren’t you a good dad", "Look at that new dad with his baby".'
'Women get that feedback, too, because everybody loves a new baby. But that (benefit) may be countered by other things she’s experiencing that he’s not, in terms of how her body has changed and being more physically tired.
‘There’s a lot of attention paid to how women think about themselves – particularly their bodies and their physical attractiveness – after childbirth.
‘But to our knowledge there’s been nothing that looked at men’.
It is a possibility that men feel more attractive because of the attention they get from women when toting a new baby around
Ronald Rohner, professor emeritus of family studies at the University of Connecticut, who was not involved in the research, added that it was an ‘intriguing idea’.
He said: ‘Whereas some women experience postpartum depression, some men experience a postpartum glow.’