How pregnancy can change your brain
By understanding how the maternal brain changes during and after pregnancy researchers hope to help at-risk mothers to cope better and give a reason behind what is commonly known as <i>baby brain</i>.
By understanding how the maternal brain changes during and after pregnancy researchers hope to help at-risk mothers to cope better, and give a reason behind what is commonly known as baby brain.
Studies lead by psychologist Laura M. Glynn of Chapman University, California, and her colleague Curt A. Sandman, of University of the California, Irvine are looking at how the massive hormonal fluctuations that pregnancy inflicts affects cognitive behaviour and other mood-related changes in the brain.
"We are trying to fill the significant gap in our understanding of this critical stage of most women's lives," Glynn explains.
The study shows that reproductive hormones ready a woman's brain for the demands of motherhood, helping her to be more attuned to her baby's needs. But there is a trade off which is sometimes shown as impaired memory or "baby brain". However "the benefit is a more sensitive, effective mother", says Glynn which might be why mums wake up when the baby stirs while dads snore on.
The review published by the journal Association for Psychological Science compares how the mother can affect the foetus, but more interestingly how the foetus affects the mother.
It is easy to comprehend how a mother can affect the baby as the report backed up earlier findings that there is evidence that a woman's nutritional intake and state of mind during pregnancy can have an effect on the baby during pregnancy.
For example, maternal anxiety early in pregnancy which increases stress hormones can affect the baby's cognitive development. Also, a baby in-utero whose mother does not receive the nutrients required, or is malnourished can adapt better to a similar diet or lack of food once born, but may become obese if he/she eats normally.
But how does the baby affect the mother? The study found that foetal movement, even when the mother was unaware of it, had significant effects, such as raising her heart beat and signalling hormones that could lead to emotional behaviour.
Glynn said she was exited to further investigate that when the cells from the foetus passed through the mother's bloodstream, finding which region of the brain they were attracted to, could also have an effect on maternal behaviour.
Although the research is mostly conducted on mice and rats, Glynn encourages more research to finding a comprehensive picture of the persisting brain changes brought about by pregnancy could help many women with pre- or post-natal depression.
This study opposes the Australian study lead by Professor Helen Christensen from the Australian National University, who said that "baby brain" is a myth.
Watch Ms Christensen defend her claim in the video below.
1:30PM, Dec 22nd 2011
Healthy ways to enjoy Easter WITHOUT all the chocolate!
A beautiful activity for your kids to enjoy as they anticipate a visit from the Easter Bunny.
Fun and practical presents to give this Easter time.
mother and baby Elle Macpherson is 51. She and her husband, Jeffery have copped a bashing online this week after it was revealed they are having a baby. Our online writer, Lauren Sams has a thing or two to say to the keyboard warriors. Click the link on our profile to read what she has to say 👏👏👏More from the team
mother and baby Aussie ironwoman and new mum @candyfalzon with her gorgeous baby, Ivy Mae are on the cover of our April M&B issue. Click the link on our profile to read how Candice coped through a touch-and-go pregnancy and how she juggles motherhood while keeping up with fiancé's @davidwarner31 busy cricketing schedule 💕More from the team
mother and baby We have 4x family passes to the @sydney_royal_easter_show to giveaway. To enter share this post and tag @motherbaby_au with the hashtag #eastershow2015 and tell us what you'd love to show your kids at the Easter Show this year. Make sure your profile is public so we can see your entry 👍🐣💕🐰 Entries close Sunday 29th March, 2015 at 11.59pm AEST. Each prize is a family pass for 2x adults and 2x children to gain entry to the Sydney Royal Easter Show.More from the team
mother and baby Looking for Easter gifts for your kids - without the chocolate? Kelly @beafunmum has shared her top ideas for Easter pressies including this adorable baby bunny onesie from @peteralexanderofficial 💕🐰👏 Click the link in our profile and search "Easter Gifts" for more sugar-free Easter ideas 🐣👍More from the team