Maybe it’s the tiny mews coming from a stranger’s passing stroller, the sweet smell of a friend’s new baby’s head or a glimpse of a onesie so cute it makes your ovaries hurt… whatever sets it off for you, most moms know the warning signs of baby fever. But while your mom and girlfriends might tease you about it, researchers from Kansas State University found that people—both men and women—actually do experience baby fever.
Husband and wife research team Sandra and Gary Brase spent almost 10 years studying the psychology of baby fever, or the physical and emotional desire to have a baby, and their research has just been published online in the American Psychological Association’s journal Emotion. As part of their study, they asked adult subjects to rank the value of sex, kids, and fame in order. They then asked about attitudes towards fertility and having children. The Brases found there were three major factors that determined whether a person came down with baby fever:
- negative exposure, like tantrums,
- positive exposure (holding a sweet, smiling little one), and
- trade-offs, like losing a social life when the kids get here.
Folks with positive exposure to babies were much more likely to want children. And as much as baby fever is supposed to be a woman’s thing, the Brases found men and women catch baby fever but to varying degrees. Funnily enough, women ranked having a baby over having sex and men tended to rank having sex over having a baby. Er, those two things often go hand-in-hand, don’t they?
When were you first struck by baby fever?