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 April 18, 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 April 18, 2014).

Share This



More Mind & Brain News

Friday, April 18, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Study On Artists' Brain Shows They're 'Structurally Unique'

Study On Artists' Brain Shows They're 'Structurally Unique'

Newsy (Apr. 17, 2014) — The brains of artists aren't really left-brain or right-brain, but rather have extra neural matter in visual and motor control areas. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Is Apathy A Sign Of A Shrinking Brain?

Is Apathy A Sign Of A Shrinking Brain?

Newsy (Apr. 17, 2014) — A recent study links apathetic feelings to a smaller brain. Researchers say the results indicate a need for apathy screening for at-risk seniors. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Are School Dress Codes Too Strict?

Are School Dress Codes Too Strict?

AP (Apr. 16, 2014) — Pushing the limits on style and self-expression is a rite of passage for teens and even younger kids. How far should schools go with their dress codes? The courts have sided with schools in an era when school safety is paramount. (April 16) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Could Even Casual Marijuana Use Alter Your Brain?

Could Even Casual Marijuana Use Alter Your Brain?

Newsy (Apr. 16, 2014) — A new study conducted by researchers at Northwestern and Harvard suggests even casual marijuana use can alter your brain. 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