'Baby Brain'? It's Real, And It Helps New Mothers Bond

When I worked for a large corporation back in the '80s, and they did these things, I went on a weekend jaunt, along with my department, to a workshop on how the brain works.  I remember being singled out by the teacher because some drawing or diagram I did showed that I had extreme activity in my right brain. Supposedly that meant I was very creative.

Well, I am definitely right-brained (my husband might call it no-brained, at times, like when I broke my wrist last winter running on ice), and now a new study has found that pregnant women, too, mostly use their right brains during child-bearing. 

According to medicalnewstoday.com (MNT), "New findings from scientists at Royal Holloway, University of London in the UK reveal that pregnant women exhibit increased activity in the right side of the brain - an area related to emotional skills."

They say that might explain "baby brain," what most pregnant women go through where they're in an almost constant state of fog and dreaminess, dropping things, losing things, forgetting names.  Oh, wait, that was only me.  

"Our findings give us a significant insight into the 'baby brain' phenomenon that makes a woman more sensitive during the child bearing process," the Web site quotes Dr. Victoria Bourne, from the Department of Psychology at Royal Holloway.
Previous studies have suggested that slight decreases in learning and memory during pregnancy help to prepare the mother for cognitive benefits once the baby is born.
"The results suggest that during pregnancy, there are changes in how the brain processes facial emotions that ensure that mothers are neurologically prepared to bond with their babies at birth," Dr. Bourne says at MNT.
The team found that pregnant women employed the right side of their brains more than new mothers did, and this was particularly the case when they were processing positive expressions.
"We know from previous research that pregnant women and new mothers are more sensitive to emotional expressions, particularly when looking at babies' faces," Dr. Bourne adds. "We also know that new mothers who demonstrate symptoms of postnatal depression sometimes interpret their baby's emotional expressions as more negative than they really are."

Can't say I ever did that, or, and now, don't judge me, felt particularly close to my baby, in the beginning.  It was all so new, and I still felt shell-shocked, for quite a while.  But eventually the fogginess gave way to love, and I barely remember those sweet, numb days of floating in what felt like pure bliss and euphoria.


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