Tuesday, February 28, 2017
Effects of Pregnancy on the Brain
Dr. Chad Hill has been the physician and owner of Siloam Springs Women's Center in Arkansas since 2012. Through his practice, Dr. Chad Hill provides prenatal care to women with both routine and high-risk pregnancies and delivers their babies.
A study published in Nature Neuroscience in February 2016 suggests that pregnancy changes the size and structures of the part of the brain that is sensitive to the feelings of others. Furthermore, these changes persist for a couple of years after the birth of the child. Testing also revealed that mothers who demonstrated the most significant changes to the brain experienced the greatest emotional attachment to their babies.
The test involved a brain scan for study participants before they had ever been pregnant, and then another one after they had their first child. The scans revealed that the women lost gray matter in brain areas associated with social cognition. The results may suggest that the reduction in gray matter is due to a streamlining of the area to increase motherly instinct.