Every mum-to-be has experienced the emotional highs and lows, and forgetfulness associated with pregnancy, but far from being a problem to be endured, scientists now say that 'baby brain' is a help, not a hindrance.
Psychologists at Royal Holloway, University of London, examined the neuropsychological activity of 19 pregnant women and 20 mothers with little ones averaging nine weeks old.
And what they discovered is that those heightened emotions are designed to help expectant mums to prepare for childbirth and bond with their baby when the big day arrives.
The women participants were asked to look at images of adult and baby faces ranging from the positive to the negative, and those who were pregnant used the right side of their brain, typically associated with emotion, far more than the new mums who tended to use the more logical left side.
Researchers believe this increased activity in the area of the brain related to emotional skills suggest that all those hormones activated during pregnancy are essential for helping a woman understand the needs of her baby from that first magical moment when she holds them in her arms.
Dr Victoria Bourne, whose study is due to be presented at the British Psychological Society's annual conference today, told the Daily Mail: "Our findings give us a significant insight into the 'baby brain' phenomenon that makes a woman more sensitive during the child bearing process.
"The results suggest that during pregnancy, there are changes in how the brain processes facial emotions that ensure that mothers are neurologically prepared to bond with their babies at birth."
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