Daily Mail (UK) 12th October 2008
Becoming a mother ‘remodels’ the female brain giving lifelong improvement in mental agility and protection against degenerative diseases, scientists have found. The new research raises doubts about the popular belief that having a child harms mental skills. Although there may be a mental decline during pregnancy, this is countered by improving abilities when the baby is born which equip women for the bigger challenge of life with a child.
Crig Kinsley, professor of neuroscience at the University of Richmond, Virginia, told the Sunday Times: ‘Pregnant woman do under-go a phase of so-called baby brain, when they experience an apparant loss of function. ‘However, this is because their brains are being remodelled for motherhood to cope with the new demands they will experience. ‘The changes that kick in then could last for the rest of their lives, bolstering cognitive abilities and protecting them against degenerative diseases.’
Women often report problems with memory and reasoning after they become pregnant. A 2002 study by Angela Oatridge of Hammersmtih Hospital, London, found brain scans of pregnant women showed a four per cent decline in size. And last year two Australian researchers reported pregnant women consistently do worse on memory and verbal skills tests. But the new American research claims this temporary decline is just part of how the brain remodels itself.