Baby brain and changes to the maternal brain

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Episode highlights

Jodi Pawluski is:

  • a researcher at the university of Rennes 1

  • Editorial Board member - Archives of Women's Mental Health @AWMH_Journal.

  • Co-organizer Parental Brain Meeting 2018

  • Fellow International Behavioral Neuroscience Society •

We discuss:

  • Changes to the maternal brain known as neuroplasticity.

  • Functional MRI studies show the changes in the maternal brain.

  • We discuss the common references to “baby brain” or “porridge brain - over 75% of women report short-term memory loss/forgetfulness/loss of concentration/spatial memory deficits.

  • The positive reason for the changes in the maternal brain is an evolutionary trade off with cognitive abilities so we can care for our offspring.

  • Maternal responsiveness is not exclusive to mothers but can apply to other care givers.

  • In pregnancy the brain size reduces and then returns to pre-conception levels by around 6 months' postpartum.

  • Parental brain conference sees experts in the field meet every 3 years.

  • There was an article in the news which suggested baby brain is increasingly misleading but this is not entirely accurate according to Jodi.

  • Maternal stress can affect the plasticity of the maternal brain.

  • Pregnancy/motherhood well documented time for reduction in response to stress.

  • Jodi's main goal in researching this field.

  • What women can do with this new research.

  • What services Jodi would like to see available to women in an ideal world.

  • The need for more focus on the mother's developmental changes as current focus is mainly centred on the baby.

Relevant links

Connect with Jodi: Twitter: @JodiPawluski

Parental Brain Conference Twitter: @ParentalBrain Facebook Group: Parental Brain

-Editorial Board member - Archives of Women's Mental Health @AWMH_Journal

-Co-organizer Parental Brain Meeting 2018: 

-Fellow International Behavioral Neuroscience Society •

Boston Globe Article: Pregnant Women Care Ignores One of the Most Profound Changes New Mom Faces