New Mothers Grow More Brain Tissue
We learned earlier that pregnancy can make a woman younger. Now we learn that becoming a mother can make a woman brainier!
Scientists at the US National Institute of Mental Health looked at brain scans for women just before giving birth and within a few months of giving birth. They found that the new mothers had grown significant amounts of new grey matter in certain areas of the brain.
The researchers at the National Institute of Mental Health in Maryland scanned the brains of 19 women who gave birth to 10 to boys and nine to girls.
A comparison of images taken two to four weeks and three to four months after the women gave birth showed that grey matter volume increased by a small but significant amount in various parts of the brain.
In adults, grey matter does not ordinarily change over a few months without significant learning, brain injury or illness, or major environmental change.
The authors speculated that hormone levels and the need to cope with the challenges of a baby led to the increase in brain cells.
The areas affected are involved with motivation – the hypothalamus -, reward and emotion processing – the amygdala – senses – parietal lobe – and reasoning and judgment – the prefrontal cortex.
The findings were published in the journal Behavioural Neuroscience. _Telegraph
Taking care of a small infant is an incredibly demanding task, requiring a resourcefulness that few people naturally possess. Apparently the female brain is programmed to respond to childbirth and child-raising by growing additional grey matter -- to assist in the challenging task of being a mother.
The combination of intensive training in motherhood plus more grey matter can result in a more powerful mind and personality.