Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Pregnancy Does Not Affect Cognitive Functions, Despite Mothers' Fears: Australian Study

Date:
October 14, 2008
Source:
Australian National University
Summary:
Pregnancy and motherhood may make us all go a little gooey, but it's not turning mums' brains into mush, according to mental health researchers in Australia.

Pregnancy and motherhood may make us all go a little gooey, but it's not turning mums' brains into mush, according to mental health researchers at The Australian National University.

The study – conducted by the Centre for Mental Health Research (CMHR) at ANU – suggests that despite fears mothers may have that pregnancy affects their cognitive functions, there is no evidence to suggest that is true.

The research team, lead by CMHR Director Professor Helen Christensen, analysed information from the PATH through Life Project database and found that neither pregnancy nor motherhood had a detrimental effect on cognitive capacity.

The PATH Through Life Project began in 1999 by recruiting and interviewing 2500 young people aged between 20 and 24. The group were subsequently followed up in both 2003 and 2007. After eight years of the study, 223 of the women had become mothers and 76 had been pregnant at the time of the research interview.

"Our research suggests that although women – and their partners – think there may be a link between brain capacity and pregnancy and motherhood, there are certainly no permanent ones that we can find," said Professor Christensen.

"We found no effects of pregnancy on cognitive capacity and motherhood also had no detrimental effects.

"One thing we did observe was that women who have children become marginally less well educated than women who don't have children in their 20s. While this is hardly surprising, as having children will interrupt education, it is something to watch in the future as early mothers may be disadvantaged later on if they do not continue with further training," she added.

Professor Christensen said the study was only able to look at the effects of motherhood over a relatively short time, and she hoped that future human data will align with findings about mother rats.

"Rodent data shows that mother rats have improved multi-skilling capacity and less fear responses than non-mothers. The rat data suggests that mother rats navigate mazes more efficiently, have less anxiety and fear and excel at multi-skilling. That sounds to me like almost every mother I know and I hope that the human effects eventually mirror those findings," she said.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Australian National University. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

Australian National University. "Pregnancy Does Not Affect Cognitive Functions, Despite Mothers' Fears: Australian Study." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 14 October 2008. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/10/081010100459.htm>.
Australian National University. (2008, October 14). Pregnancy Does Not Affect Cognitive Functions, Despite Mothers' Fears: Australian Study. ScienceDaily. Retrieved July 25, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/10/081010100459.htm
Australian National University. "Pregnancy Does Not Affect Cognitive Functions, Despite Mothers' Fears: Australian Study." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/10/081010100459.htm (accessed July 25, 2014).

Share This




More Mind & Brain News

Friday, July 25, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

New Painkiller Designed To Discourage Abuse: Will It Work?

New Painkiller Designed To Discourage Abuse: Will It Work?

Newsy (July 24, 2014) — The FDA approved Targiniq ER on Wednesday, a painkiller designed to keep users from abusing it. Like any new medication, however, it has doubters. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Can Watching TV Make You Feel Like A Failure?

Can Watching TV Make You Feel Like A Failure?

Newsy (July 24, 2014) — A study by German researchers claims watching TV while you're stressed out can make you feel guilty and like a failure. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
China's Ageing Millions Look Forward to Bleak Future

China's Ageing Millions Look Forward to Bleak Future

AFP (July 24, 2014) — China's elderly population is expanding so quickly that children struggle to look after them, pushing them to do something unexpected in Chinese society- move their parents into a nursing home. Duration: 02:07 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Idaho Boy Helps Brother With Disabilities Complete Triathlon

Idaho Boy Helps Brother With Disabilities Complete Triathlon

Newsy (July 23, 2014) — An 8-year-old boy helped his younger brother, who has a rare genetic condition that's confined him to a wheelchair, finish a triathlon. 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