Pregnancies typically only last nine months, but science is providing some new evidence that show that it can have long lasting effects on the mother's brain. In a study that's the first like it to be done, research has shown that first-time mothers demonstrate a consistent reduction in grey matter volume.
It took more than five years for the study to monitor the brain scans of 25 first-time mothers before and after pregnancy. Nineteen male partners of the expecting mothers also had their brains scanned. Not surprisingly, the fathers also showed similar reductions. The effects of the grey matter volume reduction lasts for at least two years.
On the control side of the experiment researchers scanned the brains of 20 women who had never been pregnant along with 17 male partners. The results showed that there were clear differences between first-time mothers and all other study participants.
While losing anything in your brain sounds like the lead up to an absolutely terrible outcome, losing grey matter isn't necessarily a bad thing. This is suspected to be the brain's effort to automatically rewire and optimize the mother to care for the baby, especially during the first two years.