Want To Boost Brain Power? Have A Baby!

ss_BPH088For years many women have thought that becoming a mom was the cause of a tired, jumbled brain. But now, a new study, published by the American Psychological Association, suggests that this life-changing event could actually enhance your brain function and make it grow.

The authors of the study, led by neuroscientist Pilyoung Kim, are of the belief that hormonal changes right after birth may contribute to the reshaping of a mother’s brain, according to an American Psychological Association press release.

Researchers took brain scans of 19 new moms at two to four weeks after birth and then again two to four months later, and found that their brains showed growth in midbrain regions involved with the experience of pleasure and in the prefrontal cortex, which is linked to reasoning, planning and judgment, the release states. In adults this kind of change does not occur so significantly unless there is major learning, brain injury or illness, or major environmental change.

The findings are especially true for new mothers who seemed to take more pleasure and joy in their role as a parent. Those who chose more positive words from a list of adjectives, such as “ideal,” to describe their infants, and words such as “proud” and “blessed” to describe their experience of parenthood, saw greater growth in their emotion-processing regions.

And, interestingly, Kim found that mothers who had had more nurturing from their own mothers during childhood had larger brain volumes in areas related to reading faces and empathy, and that these mothers showed more activation in these regions in response to infant cries.

Did you feel like your brain power increased as a result of having a baby?

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  1. by Kathleen

    On October 29, 2010 at 11:08 pm

    I’m not so much a believer in the idea that a woman’s brain power increases, but I do believe that a mom does whatever she has to in order to “get the job done”. It’s amazing what a mother of young children accomplishes in a 24 hour period…my hat is off to all those young moms that do it ALL and usually with very little sleep. BRAVO!!!

  2. by Cessione del quinto

    On October 31, 2010 at 5:26 pm

    Well surely a baby means lot of work so it’s not surprise you have to improve your skill

  3. by Jen

    On November 1, 2010 at 3:30 pm

    I don’t know if I believe that our brain power increases, but I do know that I feel more “scattered” during the day, and I do get a lot more done now that I have kids, than I did before kids. I know that on very little sleep, new moms are able to do amazing feats, including getting up, dressed, fed and get other children as well as a newborn ready for the day. If you have anywhere you have to be at a certain time, that takes real concentration and lots of luck! : ) Good luck new moms! : )

  4. by Crystal Anderson

    On November 1, 2010 at 7:47 pm

    Having a baby changes you physically, emotionally, so why not increase your brain power. As a person with a disability with my first baby on the way, I understand this increase. Since I have many physical obstacles daily, it causes me to rethink and problem solve which exercises my brain and strengthens it. Since I’ve been pregnant, I am constantly thinking about this baby and obstacles that we may face. This thinking engages my mind and strengthens it just like work out equipment strengthens the body. Babies truly are a blessing!

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