Pregnancy causes lifelong changes in a woman’s brain: study

Pregnancy causes lifelong changes in a woman’s brain: study

Pregnancy not only affects women’s body but also causes lasting changes to parts of their brain, a new study conducted by a team of neuroscientists at Leiden University in the Netherlands revealed.

Study lead author Elseline Hoekzema explained via email that she and her colleagues compared brain scans of dozens of women before and after pregnancy, and discovered certain differences in around a dozen locations in the brain.

They concluded that the alterations might help women prepare for motherhood. Such as, for enabling the mother to better understand the needs of their babies.

Pointing to hormonal effects on the brain, Bruce McEwen of NY-based Rockefeller University commented, “The brain is being shaped all the time, and sex hormones are part of the whole orchestra of processes that change the brain structurally.”

Hoekzema started working on the study while she was at Spain’s Autonomous University of Barcelona. The study included 25 Spanish women whose brains were scanned before and after their first pregnancies, as well as 20 women who did not get pregnant during the study.

The neuroscientists reported the results of their research in the Dec. 19th edition of the journal Nature Neuroscience.


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