Motherhood generates important changes in mothers’ brains

Motherhood generates important changes in the brain of mothers due to the hormonal variations that promote the adaptation of this organ from the fertilization of the ovule in the womb, said today a specialist from the National Autonomous University of Mexico (UNAM).

In a statement released on the eve of the celebration of Mother’s Day in Mexico, the researcher Teresa Morales Guzmán, of the Institute of Neurobiology of the UNAM campus Juriquilla, explained that with motherhood the brain usually becomes more empathetic.

“Memory is improved in the short and long terms, particularly in spatial learning, better resists stress, reduces neuronal aging, and is key to milk production, all for better care of children,” he said.

He explained some of these changes are permanent and others are not. “There are several studies in rodents that show that, in general, adaptations in physiology return to their pre-pregnancy state, but there are cognitive variations that persist even until aging,” he said.

The specialist in neuroplasticity and neuroprotection in the maternal brain pointed out that these adaptations facilitate or promote a mother to cope with the challenges of caring for her children.

He also explained that these changes “begin in gestation, in childbirth and culminate in the period of lactation.”

For half a century, Morales Guzmán recalled, the first signs of changes in the mother’s brain were found due to the pregnancy hormones.

Research has shown, for example, that oxytocin stimulates contractions of the uterus for birth and releases milk stored in the mammary glands; In addition, acting in the brain favors maternal behavior.

Changes in different regions of the mother’s brain not only occur in neurons; They also include the glial cells, which give support and energy to the neurons, said the university student.

But these changes for motherhood do not only occur in mothers. According to studies, they also appear in men who are involved in the care of their children, although to a lesser extent: they become more empathetic with the needs of the child, and the same happens with those who adopt babies.

“The clearest example is that they become more sensitive to crying,” said the specialist.


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