Pregnancy changes women's brains

The external evidence of the physical changes that occur during the pregnancy They are patent. Now a group of researchers from the Autonomous University of Barcelona and the Sea Institute of Medical Research has found that women experience more changes during pregnancy. Specifically, their brain structure is modified to adapt to motherhood and the challenges that this entails.

The mature woman

As highlighted by those responsible for this study, to date, numerous investigations have focused their efforts on finding the changes women are going through at the international level. bone or hormonal. However, few have devoted themselves to observe how the brain evolves during gestation.


To learn more about how you can change the brain of the woman in the pregnancy the investigators put under several resonances to different first-time mothers before and after the childbirth. We also chose another group of women who had never been pregnant to buy their data with those who did.

The investigation was accumulating data during five years both of the group of first-time mothers and of women who had never given birth. The results of the study showed a symmetric reduction in the volume of gray matter in the anterior and posterior cortical midline, as well as in specific sections of the prefrontal and temporal cortex in pregnant women. These areas form a map that coincides, to a large extent, with a network that neuroscientists associate with the processes involved in social relations.


This means that first-time mothers eliminate parts of their brain focused on more idle work so that their ability to concentrate increases with pregnancy. As the researchers indicate, this alteration could be a mechanism that the woman's body has to adapt to the challenge of motherhood. In short, women experience a accelerated maturation of his personality during pregnancy.

Synaptic pruning

This process is defined as synaptic pruning. Although a priori it may seem that the reduction of gray matter it's bad, is a habitual process in the growth of people and that occurs in other stages such as adolescence. These changes respond to an evolution of the brain that eliminates those connections weaker and that can hinder some activities in adults.

Eliminating weak brain connections causes the brain to increase capacity of concentration. "The results suggest that this brain plasticity inherent to pregnancy has an evolutionary purpose for the mother to effectively inflate the needs of her baby," explains Erika Barba-Müller, one of the responsible for this research.


Damián Montero

Video: Your Brain Changes All the Time, but Being a Mom Changes It Forever


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