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Good News for Moms: Having a Kid Boosts Your Memory
— Having a child may improve a woman’s memory, a new study suggests.
In theِ study, women whoِ wereِ newِ mothers scored betterِ on tests ofِ visuospatial memory — theِ ability toِ perceive andِ remember information aboutِ their surroundings — compared withِ women whoِ didn’tِ have children.
The findings rebut theِ oldِ belief thatِ women develop baby brain, orِ a decline inِ memory andِ cognitive function, afterِ they haveِ kids, saidِ study researcher Melissa Santiago, a doctoral student atِ Carlos Albizu University inِ Miami.
The study wasِ small, andِ the findings willِ haveِ to beِ replicated inِ larger, moreِ ethnically diverse groups ofِ people, Santiago said.
Santiago presented the study here this week at the American Psychological Association meeting.
Motherhood on the brain
Studies onِ rats show thoseِ with pups haveِ betterِ memory thanِ those withoutِ offspring.
Santiago analyzed information fromِ 35 first-time mothers whoseِ children wereِ ages 10 toِ 24 months, andِ 35 women whoِ hadِ never beenِ pregnant.
To test visuospatial memory, theِ women wereِ shown a paper containingِ six symbols forِ 10 seconds, andِ then asked toِ draw whatِ theyِ remembered.
Why does having kids improve memory?
In pregnancy manyِ physiological changesِ happen toِ theِ body, andِ the brain evenِ shrinks 4 toِ 6 percent.
But itِ returns toِ itsِ normal size sixِ months afterِ childbirth, andِ during thisِ time ofِ re-growth, theِ brain mayِ re-map itselfِ inِ a wayِ thatِ isِ responsible forِ the memory changesِ seen inِ the study, Santiago said.
As a mother ofِ two young children, Santiago said: I’m constantly searching myِ environment, scanning everywhere, toِ makeِ sure thatِ they’re notِ goingِ to harm themselves, they’reِ notِ goingِ to doِ anythingِ that willِ causeِ them toِ choke orِ to beِ endangered.