Pregnancy is a period of major changes to all expectant. Hormones haywire, tummy is growing, and the ankles are always inflated. Most of the changes, visible to the naked eye, are quite predictable.
Changes that do not see can now become clearer, thanks to the latest research. A study published in the journal Nature takes us back to Neuro science sheds substantial through which the brain of a woman changes during pregnancy.
Namely, the brain becomes smaller and also more effective. According to the study, these changes are meant to prepare the future mum for the role of parent.
Researchers from universities in Spain and the Netherlands are the ones who first used computerized imaging (MRI) to see how it changes the structure of the brain during pregnancy.
Although scientists knew for some time the brain changes during pregnancy in female rodents, they still did not succeeded yet to understand what happens in humans.
This study reveals the main ways by which pregnancy affects women’s brain. History of the brain study shows a reduction in grey matter, that part of the brain responsible for fulfilling activities.
The greatest loss of gray matter has been found in the region of the frontal lobe and temporal.
These areas of the brain are responsible for a variety of tasks, including social cognition, i.e. the ability to interact with others. Loss of grey matter is located in specific regions of the mother’s brain.
These areas are the ones that contribute to understanding the beliefs and feelings of other people’s nonverbal signals. They also help in training specifically towards people. Although these transformations seem troubling, there is still good news.
The researchers found that women who suffer from a loss of gray matter in these regions also have stronger feelings and are more attached to children. In addition, these women have experienced fewer negative emotions related to their children.
So, while these areas are shrinking, “they” become more “powerful”.
The transformations of the brains of new mothers are meant to prepare them to better understand the baby’s body language, including their cry and baby talk.
These changes can also help them on new mothers to recognize danger, so as to be able to react more quickly to protect themselves both on themselves, especially the baby.
Are the fathers are affected by these transformations?
The study followed 25 women brains before pregnancy and then three weeks up to two months after the birth. The researchers also studied the brains of 19 men, fathers for the first time.
They concluded that the brain structure transformations occur only from mothers, not the fathers.
You didn’t lose your memory!
Short memory loss, memory gaps, or the depression in women after birth, are not found among these researches of this study. In fact, the study shows that there are no changes to the level of cognitive abilities compared to the period before pregnancy.
The power of these changes brought the researchers to a new research in order to find out how long it could take these transformations of the brain, so they asked mothers to return for new measurements from two years after the birth of children.
From the 25 women, 11 did not give birth to a second child and were not pregnant during this time frame. New scans have shown that changes in present soon after birth have remained unchanged.
Brain-child connection “Idea brain shrinkage should not worry us,” says Robert Froemke, neurologist at the Langone Medical Center in New York. “In fact, think as it gets smarter and more efficient.
There is a difference between an apparent reduction of gray and lower brain, “explains physician Healthline magazine.
“The brain itself does not shrinks. It is not clear but what happens when the gray matter is reduced. ‘
Think of this transformation as a form of spring cleaning. Make things more organized and coherent, rationalizate to prepare mothers for complexity and emergency childcare. ‘ Because of this study, it is now known the fact that changes in the brain remain unchanged for at least two years after the birth.
“The study did not reveal any change of memory-at least in the parameters tested by researchers.” The new mother is focusing now on the child’s needs. Now there are responsibilities and activities different from those before.
That does not mean the loss of memory or mental capacities. ‘ Raising children-and especially motherhood-are among the most complex and stressful events and behaviors that we live in our lives.
Thus, it is not a surprise that our brains appear some changes when they become parents.
Taking care of another person, especially a helpless baby, it’s a hard work and may require much or our full attention, said Froemke.
‘ Of course, it is a wonderful job and full of satisfactions, but that doesn’t make it less difficult.