Thanks to extreme hormone surges, pregnancy has major physiological and physical effects on the body - it is known. What wasn't known, until now, is that grey matter in certain areas of the brain is reduced during pregnancy.
Baby brain is real, you guys, and it can last for two years. Two. Years.
According to a study of 25 first-time mothers, the structural changes in the brain occurring during pregnancy can persist for at least two years, occur in regions that are involved in social cognition and also respond to images of the mother's infant. The extent of the changes can even predict a mother's attachment to her child.
Less radical hormonal changes — such as those seen during puberty — can modulate human brain structure and function, the structural changes within a mother's brain as a result of pregnancy have yet to be determined.
Dr Elseline Hoekzema designed the study examining first-time mothers both before and after pregnancy, comparing their brains with those of first-time fathers, men without children and women who had never given birth, and it has given us the first glimpse into the extensive changes in brain structure and function that result from first-time pregnancy.
The research team says these changes may prepare a woman for the social demands of imminent motherhood.