Ever Wonder How Your Brain Changes When You Become A Mom? There are so many new brain demands that occur in motherhood. It feels like overnight you are required to learn a whole new set of skills and capabilities. So it’s NO surprise that our brain has to make huge shifts during pregnancy and after birth. What are those shifts- let me tell you!
Oxytocin hormonal shift happens. This is shift is key to help with bonding between mom and baby. Oxytocin is released during the birthing process, and it’s also associated with breastfeeding. The oxytocin hormone is the center point for trust, intimacy, and healthy relationships. Studies show that the oxytocin receptor gene plays a huge role in maternal engagement and reflective of behavioral temperament. Moving on oxytocin stimulates dopamine.
Dopamine is a neurotransmitter in the brain. It is considered the “feel good” chemical is working hard postpartum trying to create a close bond and helps keep mom motivated to care for her baby. It is key in satisfaction and reward system seen between mom and baby.
Amygdala is part of the brain whose job is to deal with memories, anxiety, and fears. It has been shown to become very active postpartum to help us become more aware and sensitive to our baby’s needs. Studies have found a poorer quality of maternal experience can be related to reduced amygdala response.
Mommy Brain Is Real
Mommy brain + Memory loss has been studied and found that in postpartum there are particular functions of the brain that are sacrificed. This is so our brain can give all its resources into more specific motherhood-supporting brain capabilities. So if you are experiencing fuzziness and brain fog there is a scientific reason behind what is going on.
Past Mental Health Conditions
Postpartum is different for every mom—each mom handles the role of motherhood in a different way. It’s been found that different conditions can affect how responsive the brain is to a mother’s new role. Studies have shown that a mother with postpartum depression, PTSD, postpartum OCD, may have a decreased responsiveness to their baby’s cries. Even brain scans have shown the postpartum brain looks different for moms with previous mental health conditions. This is not to shame anyone who has a previous mental health condition ( which includes me). This is to shed some light on why one mom might be experiencing a totally different postpartum than another mom.
Prepare and Educate
As a new mom, there is no way to know how will react to motherhood. Prior to delivering the baby start EDUCATING and PREPARING for postpartum.
- Take the time to research the physical & mental changes that can happen postpartum.
- Find a support system before the baby is born, letting them know how you will need support.
- Talk to your partner about your fears and needs prior to the baby being born.
- Sleep when you can, studies have found less sleep increases your chance for depression.
- Show yourself some self-love and compassion, remember this is a learning process, you don’t have to figure it out all at once.
- If you need help seek it. Talk to your doctor about going on a possible medication or look into talk therapy. Due to my past anxiety and life experiences, I knew I would need some extra help postpartum. So I found a great therapist and even got on a medication when I needed it. ** all sources linked for you**
**Just a reminder you’ll never see me promote something I don’t believe in or use. And please remember The Modern Practitioner and the materials on here are not intended to treat, diagnose, cure or prevent any disease. All material is provided is for educational purposes only. Please seek the advice of your physician or another qualified healthcare provider for any questions.