Skip to content
Surprising Science

How Mom’s Brain Changes

A new mother’s body goes through many changes—among them, key parts of her brain get bigger. And the more these areas grow, the greater the mother-infant bond seems to be.

A project to map the brains of women before and after giving birth is providing insight into how motherhood changes the mind. “Structural changes in animal brains, says National Institutes of Health neuroscientist Pilyoung Kim, are critical to getting mothers to take care of their offspring. Similar changes in human mothers, she observes, might be necessary for attentive parenting and ultimately forming long-term emotional bonds, and now there is evidence suggesting that possibility. Using MRI, Kim and her colleagues at Yale University and the University of Michigan at Ann Arbor produced detailed maps of the brains of 19 new mothers a few weeks after they gave birth….”

Boys are four times as likely as girls to develop autism. Girls are nearly twice as likely to experience depression. The immune system may be a player in these and other brain-health disparities.

Up Next
Similar to the way Google crawls the Internet, scientists have mapped a three-dimensional circuit of connected cells in the cerebral cortex, allowing them to navigate the mind’s jungle.