Baby ate your brain? Turnabout is fair play.It starts the minute we see two lines on the pee stick: we start feeling dumb, and we chalk it up to hormones. My sister calls it “placenta brain,” and I thought the whole idea was sexist and fake 'til I got pregnant and lost my mind.
Well, here's good news: Once the pregnancy is over, a new study says, we may think we’re operating at reduced capacity ... but actually, our post-baby brains are growing.
Does that translate to extra smartitude? Or is it impossible for growing gray matter to keep up with all the new stuff we have to learn?
The study appears in the latest issue of Behavioral Neuroscience, so of course you read it, right? (It’s right next to People and Us in my bathroom.) Anyway. The study took MRI readings of 19 moms after they gave birth, and then again four months later. They all showed increases in gray matter in the parts of the brain that control sensory perception, reasoning, and judgment.
Here’s what they don’t know: Is it the way we take care of babies that makes our brain grow? Or does the brain grow first, and that’s what makes us care for our babes the way we do?
Moms whose brains grew the most were also the gushiest moms -- the ones who couldn’t stop boasting about how gorgeous, special, and perfectly awesome their babies are. (My brain must be freakin’ huge.)
The study only followed 19 women, and none of them suffered from PPD. That’d be interesting to see. Anywho, the next time you think you’re losing your mind, don’t worry: it’s just outgrowing your skull! (Eek!)
Does your brain feel bigger or smaller since you gave birth?
Image via Evil Erin/Flickr