You made it through pregnancy, and you’ve been through lots of changes—your body, your mood, your ability to sleep through the night. But did you know that your brain has changed, too? Keep reading to discover how pregnancy affects the brain!
YOUR BRAIN SHRINKS DURING PREGNANCY
Shocking, but true! Your brain gets smaller to be more efficient at a time when your body is already working so hard to grow a baby.
A 2016 study by Nature Neuroscience proved the structural changes in pregnant women’s brains by taking MRIs before, during, and after pregnancy. What they found was that the grey matter of your brain—responsible for many important processes, such as emotional regulation, memory, decision-making, responding to social cues, and speech—reduces in volume during pregnancy. The hippocampus, which plays a key role in memory and learning, also reduces in volume.
The study showed that new mothers who had experienced a reduction in grey matter in their brains also experienced greater attachment to their babies. The same new mothers in the postpartum group were observed through MRI scans while looking at images of their own baby and babies they didn’t know. The scans revealed greater neural activity in the parts of the brain that had reduced in size when the women looked at photos of their own babies. So that’s what’s going on in your brain these days during those epic snuggle sessions!
WHAT DOES THIS MEAN POSTPARTUM?
In the study, MRIs were also taken 2 years postpartum and compared to the pre-pregnancy and pregnancy scans. The conclusion was that mothers’ brains do not begin to recover volume in gray matter until at least 2 years later. 2 years! We’ll just let that sink in a bit.
So if you’re feeling like your mind has not fully recovered since giving birth, here’s all the validation you need. It hasn’t!
We’ve developed our Postnatal Vitamin to help you get out of the fog of baby brain. PPQ (pyrroloquinoline quinone) is a natural ingredient that helps improve alertness, concentration, and memory. Many new mothers swear by our postnatal (along with a healthy amount of note taking and phone reminders)!
Pretty fascinating how the body works, right? Now you can tell all the new moms and moms-to-be in your life that their brains have shrunk.