In this new study, 45 women's MRIs were studied; 25 of these women became mothers for the first time during the study period, while the other 20 remained childless.
Women who were pregnant had another brain scan shortly after birth; the results were quite interesting.
The researchers discovered that the new mothers had significant reductions in the gray matter in some brain regions. In other words, these regions began to shrink.
The reason for the shrinking of these regions is that the unnecessary connections in the brain were being gotten rid of. Mothers’ brains were trying to strengthen their cognitive and emotional processing abilities…
These same brain regions were then found to become active when mothers viewed pictures of their own babies, but not when they saw other children.
This was seen as an important reason for the structural change in the brain since mothers need to act towards their baby's needs.
Two years later, the researchers conducted follow-up scans on all of the new mothers that hadn’t gone on to have a second child.
Brain alterations are also seen in rodent mothers.
In sum, the neurological impacts of giving birth appear to help new mothers provide for their babies!