Brains of New Moms Grow, Study Reveals
Although the stress of motherhood may make them feel insane at times, new moms aren’t losing their minds. In fact, it’s just the opposite: Their brains grow larger in certain regions within months of delivering the newborn, a new study suggests.
And those moms who are particularly awestruck and gushy over their babies show more growth in the brain areas associated with motivation, reward and the regulation of emotion, the researchers said.
The team, led by Pilyoung Kim, a developmental psychologist who is now with the National Institute of Mental Health, used magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) to scan the brains of 19 moms two to four weeks after the birth of a child, then again up to four months afterward. Images showed small but significant increases in the gray matter in certain parts of the brain, including those responsible for sensory perception, reasoning and judgment.
A change in gray matter over such a short period is unusual among adults, according to the researchers.
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