Characterizing the Brain Structural Adaptations Across the Motherhood Transition

Magdalena Martínez-García, María Paternina-Die, Manuel Desco, Oscar Vilarroya, Susanna Carmona

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articleResearchpeer-review


Women that become mothers face notable physiological adaptations during this life-period. Neuroimaging studies of the last decade have provided grounded evidence that women's brains structurally change across the transition into motherhood. The characterization of this brain remodeling is currently in its early years of research. The current article reviews this scientific field by focusing on our longitudinal (pre-to-post pregnancy) Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) studies in first-time parents and other longitudinal and cross-sectional studies of parents. We present the questions that are currently being answered by the parental brain literature and point out those that have not yet been explored. We also highlight potential confounding variables that need to be considered when analyzing and interpreting brain changes observed during motherhood.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)742775
JournalFrontiers in global women's health
Publication statusPublished - 2021


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