RVA Parenting: What babies do to your brain

RVA Parenting: What babies do to your brain

(WWBT) - Moms, you've probably heard the reference to "baby brain" - well, you might not be entirely crazy.

Some research indicates there may in fact be a drain on the brain during pregnancy. We reached out to a behavioral neuroscientist. She studies the brains of new moms, using rats.

"There's this baby drain- this idea that we go a little crazy- or we're not too smart when we're taking care of children," said Dr. Kelly Lambert, Chair of the Psychology Department at Randolph Macon College. "During pregnancy, there might be a drain on the brain, but once the babies are here, that's really an enriching environment and nature helps prime and prepare our brains to be able to take care of that whole extra human being."

In fact, her research indicates women actually get a mental boost when it comes to postpartum parenting. That it's kind of like getting new circuitry or a new brain app for taking care of offspring! There is actually growth in certain areas of the brain involving caring and nurturing.

You'll also benefit in areas like empathy and problem solving.

"The brain changes in ways that makes them more effective and efficient at doing things like finding food and managing their emotions," said Lambert. "And recently we've looked at aging and maybe it helps protect against some of the aging related effects on the brain."

And good news for dads- and non-biological mothers- it looks like you might benefit from parenting, too!  The research is more preliminary, but it indicates you might be seeing similar benefits as well.

If you'd like to read Dr. Lambert's official research, click here!

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