Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Pregnancy And Lactation May Affect Maternal Behavior And Coping Skills

Date:
September 21, 2006
Source:
Tufts University Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine
Summary:
Hormonal changes occurring in female rats after they give birth to and nurse their offspring may cause long-term endocrine and neuroendocrine changes that help produce better mothering skills with each pregnancy and reduce the mother's anxiety levels as she matures, according to scientists at Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine at Tufts University and the University of Otago Medical School.

In the October 2006 issue of the journal Endocrinology, a collaborative research study by scientists at Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine at Tufts University and the University of Otago Medical School in Dunedin, New Zealand, shows that pregnancy and lactation in rodents produce long-term changes in hormone receptor actions in a mother's brain that may affect maternal behavior as well as her response to stress.

"It appears that hormonal changes occurring in rats after they nurse their pups may bring about endocrine and neuroendocrine changes that help produce better mothering skills with each pregnancy and reduce the mother's anxiety levels as she matures," said Robert S. Bridges, PhD, the senior author of this paper and head of the reproductive biology section at Tufts' Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine.

In this study, female rats that had undergone a single pregnancy and nursed their offspring displayed higher levels of prolactin hormone receptor activity in the brain, as well as a greater receptor response when treated with prolactin weeks following the last contact with their young. Prolactin is produced by the pituitary gland and plays an established role in a range of reproductive functions, including milk production.

The present study is the first to demonstrate long-term changes in the prolactin neural system, a system that Bridges' research group previously identified as crucial for stimulating the establishment of maternal behavior. In addition, since prolactin is known to reduce the stress response of nursing mothers, the implication of the present findings is that prior reproductive experience may reduce the female's response to stress well beyond weaning.

"These new findings indicate that the maternal brain is a dynamic and changing structure, and suggest that increased activity of the prolactin receptor system in females who have given birth and breast fed their offspring may help mothers improve their abilities to both nurture children and manage stress," Bridges added. "This possibility warrants further investigation as to how reproductive experience alters the mother's physiology and behavior."


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Tufts University Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

Tufts University Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine. "Pregnancy And Lactation May Affect Maternal Behavior And Coping Skills." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 21 September 2006. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2006/09/060920193112.htm>.
Tufts University Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine. (2006, September 21). Pregnancy And Lactation May Affect Maternal Behavior And Coping Skills. ScienceDaily. Retrieved April 25, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2006/09/060920193112.htm
Tufts University Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine. "Pregnancy And Lactation May Affect Maternal Behavior And Coping Skills." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2006/09/060920193112.htm (accessed April 25, 2014).

Share This



More Health & Medicine News

Friday, April 25, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Deadly Fungus Killing Bats, Spreading in US

Deadly Fungus Killing Bats, Spreading in US

AP (Apr. 24, 2014) A disease that has killed more than six million cave-dwelling bats in the United States is on the move and wildlife biologists are worried. White Nose Syndrome, discovered in New York in 2006, has now spread to 25 states. (April 24) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Companies Ramp Up Wellness to Lower Health Costs

Companies Ramp Up Wellness to Lower Health Costs

AP (Apr. 24, 2014) That little voice telling you to exercise, get in shape and get healthy is probably coming from your boss. More companies are beefing up wellness programs to try and cut down their health care costs. (April 24) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Blood From World's Oldest Woman Suggests Life Limit

Blood From World's Oldest Woman Suggests Life Limit

Newsy (Apr. 24, 2014) Scientists say for the extremely elderly, their stem cells might reach a state of exhaustion. This could limit one's life span. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
FDA Wants To Ban Sales Of E-Cigarettes To Minors

FDA Wants To Ban Sales Of E-Cigarettes To Minors

Newsy (Apr. 24, 2014) The Food and Drug Administration wants to crack down on the use of e-cigarettes, banning the sale of the product to minors. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins