Pregnancy Brain Development-Dramatic Changes

Pregnancy Brain Development. Pregnancy causes dramatic changes in the brain. Functional magnetic resonance imaging revealed substantial brain alterations during pregnancy. Gray matter loss and default mode network reshaping during pregnancy caused mind wandering and identity. Pregnancy Brain Development.

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pregnancy brain development

Β A new study found that gray matter and self-perception regions change significantly during pregnancy.

The researchers stated these neural alterations may boost mother-baby attachment and may contribute to the identity shift many new mothers experience.

Β The study, published Nov. 22 in Nature Communications, found “important insights into the impact of becoming a mother on the human brain and hint to dramatic changes in brain structure and function” during pregnancy (opens in new tab).

Β These modifications “may offer adaptive advantages for a mother’s gestational and maternal conduct and the establishment of the new mother-child attachment,” according to Amsterdam University Medical Center researchers.

The same group of Spanish researchers found that pregnant women’s brains had less gray matter two years after giving birth. The Netherlands study look at more parts of the brain and tried to find out if the changes were link to certain behaviors and how close the mother and child were.

80 Dutch women who had never had children were followed. 40 research participants became pregnant. All women were brain-scanner at the outset of the trial and at various intervals later, including shortly after giving birth and one year postpartum for those who became pregnant.

Again, pregnant women lost gray matter after birth. The scientists claimed replicating their prior study’s findings suggests these results are reliable and seen in people in different nations. They claimed these gray matter reductions may be a brain “fine-tuning” that helps with new newborn care.

Nesting habits, such as cleaning the house or setting up the nursery, were connected to gray matter loss.

The default mode network, a group of brain regions that are most active when a person isn’t doing a specific activity, changed in pregnant women. The scientists noted this network is active when your mind wanders and involves in self-reflection, autobiographical memory, and social functions including empathy.

In addition, mothers with larger default mode network modifications had a stronger attachment with their newborn (as judged by a mother-infant bonding survey) and enjoyed interacting with their infant more. Women with larger default-mode-network modifications had fewer “bonding deficits” like baby resentment or wrath. The brain changes were also link to the attachment to the fetus. The more activity in the default mode network, the more likely women were to regard the fetus as an individual.

“Contributing to the transition in a woman’s identity and focus that commonly accompany new motherhood” may be changes to the default mode network during pregnancy, the researchers stated.

Finally, hormones may be causing these brain changes, according to the researchers. Using urine samples from 10 stages in the study, the researchers found that women with higher estrogen levels, especially in the third trimester, had bigger brain alterations than those without such a rise. Brain changes were unrelated to sleep, stress, or delivery.

Still, the researchers can’t say for sure that these changes in the brain aren’t cause by things like exercise, diet, or genetic markers that weren’t look at in the study. They called for further studies to investigate these issues.

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