What Motherhood Does to Your Body

Your brain

It only seems as if having children makes you more stupid and forgetful. Animal studies show that pregnancy hormones can actually facilitate learning and memory, says Craig Kinsley, Ph.D., an associate professor of neuroscience at the University of Richmond, in Virginia. You may feel that you're doing any number of daily tasks more ineptly than you used to, but it's the "any number" part that's crucial, he explains.

"It's like multitasking on a computer -- remember 10 or 15 years ago, when it was a big deal to be able to run two programs at once? That's your brain before kids. And now, of course, you can have tons of different windows open at once -- that's your brain after children," Dr. Kinsley says. "You're keeping so many different areas of attention running at once that though you may be less than thrilled with how well you're doing each one, the total amount of brain power that you use in a day is much higher."

Copyright © 2000 Catherine Clifford. Reprinted with permission from the August 2000 issue of Parents magazine.

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