The long and complex months of pregnancy change women in the most beautiful ways. The physical changes and challenges bring tremendous pressure in the life of pregnant women. But the brain is also shaped by this process and experience. Scientist recently arrived at the conclusion that pregnancy produces long term changes in the brain of women.
Studies have shown that women lose grey matter during pregnancy. Some of the changes in the brain will last up to two years after giving birth to the baby. The change in grey matter is still being analyzed but until now scientists link it to lack of sleep, a change in diet, stress and to another important factor, that is the need of the mother to develop new skills while raising her baby. The brain is not losing grey matter in a way that is necessarily negative, since some of the connections in the brain are restructured and work even more efficiently. This change in the structure of the brain is supposed to also happen because of the hormonal imbalance women go through while being pregnant.
The change in the brain and the fact that some regions decreased has been found to be significant. The most important link for this process is the fact that the brain is helping the mother adjust herself easier to the new role she will have once the baby arrives. The brain needs to adjust itself to all the new things motherhood implies, like nurturing, educating, caring and a whole new level of empathy and understanding of another human being. So all these changes seem to serve an evolutionary purpose, helping mothers bond with their children and even play a big role in the attachment between mother and child. There is an evolutionary link because as long as mothering skills are improved, children will be better cared for.
To be more specific, the area of the brain that is highly modified is the area that is responsible for empathy and understanding, the structure that helps us perceive feelings and perspective of those around us. So after pregnancy, women become better at understanding thoughts, feelings and beliefs of the people around them, including their children. This might also been seen as a way in which the woman evolves and matures more rapidly during this time, to be able to face this new stage of her life. Since the body and the mind constantly adjust to the needs of the mother and the new born baby, it’s safe to assume that regarding this the body will also go through all the necessary changes in order to create a safe, nurturing environment for the arrival of the baby.
The impact of giving life can create the biggest feeling of fulfillment and provide the opportunity to experience a new type of love, deeper and closer than you could have ever imagined before. Pregnancy and motherhood can’t be fully understood unless experienced and change women in magnificent ways. Find joy in the person you have become while being shaped by pregnancy and motherhood and share it with those around you.