Neuroscientists at the University of Richmond, Virginia have discovered that an influx of hormones during pregnancy and labour turns women into super-women with super-powers.
Professor Craig Kinsley and colleagues found that women's brains are rewired during that period, making them faster, more strong and less stressed than before.
AdvertisementThe team said that transformation, that lasts a lifetime, is due to an influx of hormones, including estrogen and oxytocin, to the brain.
Professor Kinsley said that their revolutionary findings could pave the way for a new world of chemical therapies to transform "bad'' mothers or those who are not maternal into ``super mums''.
He said, if females with a deficit of the brain chemical oxytocin can be identified, then "when they are first interacting with the baby you can give them a boost of oxytocin at a critical time''.
He said that his research was inspired by his wife's ability to automatically attempt new tasks with the birth of their daughter.
His wife went from being "ambivalent'' about children to becoming a ``super mum," he added.
For the study, the team conducted laboratory tests on rats. The results showed that the "reservoir of hormones'' released improve a mother's ability to care for and protect her offspring.
Young mother rats showed better maze negotiation skills and memory, and reduced levels of stress and fear.
These improvements in behaviour last a lifetime until a woman is in her 80s, Professor Kinsley said.
"Our work is showing that, when a female becomes pregnant, her brain is changing dramatically. This is an important developmental period in her life," the Daily Telegraph quoted him, as saying.
He added that the findings are indicative of the power of motherhood, of how it makes the brain more plastic and flexible, enabling it to respond to the demands of survival.