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 October 2, 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 October 2, 2014).

Share This



More Health & Medicine News

Thursday, October 2, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Pregnancy Spacing Could Have Big Impact On Autism Risks

Pregnancy Spacing Could Have Big Impact On Autism Risks

Newsy (Oct. 1, 2014) A new study says children born less than one year and more than five years after a sibling can have an increased risk for autism. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Robotic Hair Restoration

Robotic Hair Restoration

Ivanhoe (Oct. 1, 2014) A new robotic procedure is changing the way we transplant hair. The ARTAS robot leaves no linear scarring and provides more natural results. Video provided by Ivanhoe
Powered by NewsLook.com
Insertable Cardiac Monitor

Insertable Cardiac Monitor

Ivanhoe (Oct. 1, 2014) A heart monitor the size of a paperclip that can save your life. The “Reveal Linq” allows a doctor to monitor patients with A-Fib on a continuous basis for up to 3 years! Video provided by Ivanhoe
Powered by NewsLook.com
Attacking Superbugs

Attacking Superbugs

Ivanhoe (Oct. 1, 2014) Two weapons hospitals can use to attack superbugs. Scientists in Ireland created a new gel resistant to superbugs, and a robot that can disinfect a room in minutes. Video provided by Ivanhoe
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:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Health & Medicine

Mind & Brain

Living & Well

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