Confidently prepare for a positive birth experience – Join The Birth Class

Episode 386

Dr Sarah McKay

The first study on pregnant women’s brains was published in 2017. While the research may be new, it’s also profound; pregnancy prompts the greatest structural brain change in response to any life experience which can help you better understand yourself in the fourth trimester and early postpartum. In this episode, I chat to neuroscientist Dr Sarah McKay, who explains how the new mother’s brain goes into a state of plasticity which makes it very easy to learn. She also discusses changes to the non-birthing parents brain, oestrogen as a cognitive enhancer and the importance of prescribing sleep. It’s time to let go of the derogatory colloquial term baby brain so we can be empowered by the brain changes after birth.

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Sarah discusses:

  • the first study on the brain of pregnant women
  • third trimester oestrogen drives brain changes
  • new mothers are adaptable, flexible and learn quickly
  • high brain plasticity makes it easy to learn
  • intrusive thoughts
  • baby blues
  • depression and anxiety
  • postpartum psychosis
  • how babies communicate

You can find out more about Dr Sarah McKay’s book, Baby Brain The surprising neuroscience of how pregnancy and motherhood sculpt our brains and change our minds (for the better) here

Topics Discussed

baby brain, high brain plasticity, motherhood, Postpartum, Postpartum depression (PPD), postpartum psychosis

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