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Mommy Brain

  • By: Stephanie Wasserman
  • In: Encyclopedia of Motherhood
  • Edited by: Andrea O'Reilly
  • Subject:Sociology of Gender, Parenting, Maternal Health

The term mommy brain was coined in the 1960s, and began in popular culture rather than science: it is intentionally cute, although many women find it demeaning. It is used to refer to the significant emotional, sensory, and cognitive changes a woman's brain undergoes during the radical transformation into motherhood. Popular culture aside, recent research has uncovered substantial hormonal interactions and structural brain changes that underlie this transition. Brain chemistry changes within a mother's limbic system have an effect on behavior, motivation, and emotion related to motherhood. As a result, these changes cause a increased focus on maternal activities, and even an enhanced experience of satisfaction during these activities, such as breastfeeding and caring for a newborn.

Maternal Brain Chemistry

A woman's brain is primed to find ...

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