Close to half of mothers admit that they actually spend more time on Facebook after giving birth than before, whereas the majority of fathers said it stayed the same, according to a new study.

The findings, published in the July issue of the journal Family Relations, also found that the Facebook 'habit' can also lead to more anxiety for new parents already coping with a stressful life event.

"Given all the stress that new parents are under and everything they have to manage, it wouldn't have been surprising if we had found a decrease in Facebook usage - but that's not what we found," researcher Sarah Schoppe-Sullivan, an associate professor of human development and family science at Ohio State University said in a university news release.

Researchers also found that mothers who visited their Facebook accounts more often frequently reported higher levels of parenting stress.

However, researchers noted that they could not tell from the available data whether more Facebook use caused stressed for mothers or if mothers with more stress spend more time on the social networking site.

Schoppe-Sullivan said that despite all the new demands of parenthood, spending time on Facebook may be worth it for new parents.

"I think the most likely interpretation is that mothers who experience higher levels of stress are looking for social support on Facebook so they visit more often," Schoppe-Sullivan said.

"I know that I see a lot of Facebook posts from new mothers talking about how their child wouldn't sleep, or how their second child was harder than their first. Stressed-out mothers may be using Facebook to vent and to find help," she added.

The findings showed that 44 percent of mothers reported that their Facebook use increased after giving birth, compared to 27 percent who reported that it decreased and 29 percent who said that it stayed the same.

Fathers, on the other hand, spent less time on Facebook than mothers.

About 31 percent of fathers reported that their Facebook use increased, while 19 percent said that it decreased and 51 reported that it stayed the same.

About 58 percent of mothers report visiting their accounts at least once a day, compared to 44 percent of fathers reporting the same.

Nearly all mothers in the survey, at 93 percent, said they had uploaded photographs of their baby to Facebook, while 83 percent of fathers reported doing the same.

Researchers said that the latest findings offer some clues as to how Facebook or social networking use may affect the adjustment to parenthood.

"These mothers may be taking time off from work, and may be far from family, so this network they created for themselves on Facebook can be very valuable in helping them cope," lead author Mitchell Bartholomew, a graduate student in human development and family science at Ohio State, said in a statement.

The study consisted of 154 mothers and 150 fathers, most of whom were white and highly educated, and study data came from questions asked nine months after the birth of their child.