Having a baby is a huge decision, with many women worrying that they won't be ready for such a big change. But apparently, becoming a mum automatically rewires your brain.
A new study has revealed that new mum’s brains are rewired to put their baby first, so there’s no need to worry that you won’t be able to care for your child properly.
Scientists at the University of Massachusetts has revealed that the power of motherhood can subconsciously programme your brain to put your baby before anything else.
Study author Dr Mariana Pereira, found two specific areas of grey matter that are behind this phenomenon, giving new mums the instinct to care for their baby.
As a result, she hopes this will help women improve their mental health during pregnancy.
She revealed, “There are powerful tools, such as brain stimulation methods and a technique called chemogenetics that can manipulate the activity of discrete brain structures.
“These have good translational potential for psychiatric disorders – including drug use.”
Womens’ brains go through multiple changes once they’ve given birth, but this study has focused on the pre-frontal cortex which is responsible for parenting and addictions.
Dr Pereira explained this, saying, “Motherhood takes over the brain’s decision-making regions to prioritise caring for offspring.
“The brain recruits the discriminating powers of the infralimbic (IL) cortex (a part of the pre-frontal cortex) to prioritise offspring over competing desires.”
This study has been important in learning more about the mental health of new mothers, including how to better understand and treat addiction.
Dr Pereira added, “There are very limited treatments for addiction. Understanding the brain circuits underlying natural resistance to drug seeking provides critical knowledge that has implications for everyone with a substance use disorder.”
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