Many women complain about feeling at their wits end when a new baby enters their previously calm world. Everything changes, their relationships, their body, their priorities, their amount of sleep, and oh yes, their brains. Yes, their brains definately take a hit, but it’s for their benefit.
New research has just unearthed what many women have known all along. Childbirth increases grey matter in the brain. Typically grey matter growth is stagnate in adults. If there is any growth, it’s nearly immeasureable and not over such a short period of time. This is not so with new mothers.
The amount of growth depends on the positive emotions felt toward the new child, says research. Scientists from this research explain that, “maternal motivation (hypothalamus), reward and emotion processing (substantia nigra and amygdala), sensory integration (parietal lobe), and reasoning and judgment (prefrontal cortex)” are the areas most positively affected. This is wonderful news for women all over the globe.
The mothers’ ages were widely diverse, from just 18 to their late 30’s. Many had other children already. Most of them nursed their babies (which has also been proven to increase mother-child bonding, positive emotions towards the child, better birth recovery for the mother, better health for the child, and increase intelligence of the child.) The more nurturing and positive the mothers felt toward their babies, the higher the grey matter growth and consequently, the more positively affected the baby’s nuerological system.
These same regions were adversely affected by postpartum depression and grey matter can actually be lost. The time spans of seeing brain growth was significant just within the first four months after giving birth. The sex of the babies was not a factor in this study. Culture, income, and demographical exponents were also eliminated from the results of this study. The only positive correlation was between brain growth and childbirth.
Good news for ladies still in their childbirthing years who are still considering having another child!