maternal brain

Today’s podcast is all about the maternal brain and the neuroscience of pregnancy, birth, postpartum and parenting.

A few months back I shared an article about the maternal brain on my Facebook page and it went a bit nuts. It’s since been shared over 40 times which is unprecedented for my Facebook page. It also received tons of comments, many of which were saying how the article helped them to better understand what they were going through. So I knew I had to cover this topic on the podcast.

I reached out to the expert that was quoted in the article, Jodi Pawluski, and was thrilled when she agreed to come on the podcast to talk about all things maternal brain.

Jodi Pawluski is a perinatal mental health expert and Research Associate at the University of Rennes in France. Her research aims to promote maternal mental health: enhancing the health and well-being of both the mother and child. Her research focus is to determine the behavioral and neurobiological processes underlying maternal mental illness and use this information to improve mental health in women during the perinatal period. In other words, she knows a thing or two about the maternal brain!

The Maternal Brain

During our conversation, Jodi talks about

  • the changes that are happening to our brain during pregnancy and how it’s an important evolution for becoming a new parent
  • how we have new brain circuitry coming online that provides us with the ability to tune into our infant by enabling us to experience a feeling of reward from our child and a feeling of attachment
  • changes to the mood and emotions during pregnancy
  • the role of the environment on the maternal brain aka “pregnancy brain”
  • how quickly a mother can tune into her infant

After half an hour of touching your baby’s hand, you will recognise your baby’s hand from touch alone.

Pregnancy Brain

We talk about whether this is a “thing”. Some articles have stated that it’s not a thing, so we talk about what it could be instead and why it might feel that it really IS a thing.

15% of women during pregnancy will have a high level of anxiety

We touch on the important topic of anxiety and depression during pregnancy and taking medication when pregnant.

And, we also cover the brain changes happening to dads…. there is so much in this conversation!


Further Resources

The Neurobiology of Postpartum Anxiety and Depression.

The adaptive human parental brain: implications for children’s social development.

The Neglected Neurobiology of Maternal Anxiety and Depression

Alexia Leachman
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