Experiencing a pregnancy is one of the most wonderful experiences a woman can have. Being able to nourish and carry a child in your womb is nothing short of a miracle.
However, pregnancy itself brings a lot of changes to a woman’s body and many of them are unfamiliar. With each passing week during your pregnancy, new symptoms will arise as your body prepares for delivery.
The brain in particular goes through many fluctuations during pregnancy and new studies are starting to reveal just how much pregnancy affects a woman’s mind.
We often hear the term “pregnancy brain” used by expecting mothers and mothers that have had children previous. This phrase refers to the sudden memory lapses and unpredictable emotions pregnant women experience and have little control over.
The Journal of Nature Neuroscience conducted the first ever study to confirm that the emotional changes of pregnancy can’t be attributed just to an increase in hormones.
Research indicates that a woman’s brain physically changes from being pregnant. Dr. Karysse Trandem, obstetrician and gynecologist, explained, “Not just the surface (of the brain) is changing, but deep inside of the brain. Those changes are causing women to have a heightened sense and ability to have emotions and relate to others.”
The study published by The Journal of Nature Neuroscience stated, “pregnancy alters the size and structure of brain regions involved in understanding the thoughts, feelings, beliefs and intentions of others.” Many of these “brain changes” can be present for up to two years after giving birth.
Studies of new mothers have shown a loss of gray matter in the areas of the brain associated with emotional intelligence. The reduction in gray matter occurs in the prefrontal and temporal cortex of the brain in pregnant women. The loss of the gray matter does not mean there is a loss of function. The changes may actually help women forget the difficulty of pregnancy and pain of delivery.
For the ease of worry during high-risk pregnancies, Maternal Resources is here for you. We provide comprehensive services to pregnant women in the high-risk community.