Neurobiological Improvements Over the Peripartum Period

Pregnancy and the transition to parenthood is an important period marked by dramatic neurobiological and psychosocial changes that may have implications for the health of women and offspring. Although human and non-human animal research suggests that the brain undergoes alterations during the peripartum period, these changes are poorly understood. Here, we review existing research, particularly human neuroimaging and psychophysiological research, to examine changes in brain structure and function during the peripartum period and discuss potential implications for the health of women and offspring. First, we discuss the potential causes of these changes across pregnancy, including physiological and psychosocial factors. Next, we discuss the evidence for structural and حوامل  functional changes in the brain during pregnancy and into the postpartum period, noting the need for research conducted prospectively across human pregnancy. Finally, we propose potential models of individual differences in peripartum neurobiological changes (i.e. hypo-response, typical response, hyper-response) and emphasize the need to consider trajectories of change in addition to pre-existing factors that may predict maternal adjustment to parenthood. We suggest that the consideration of individual differences in neurobiological trajectories across pregnancy may contribute to a better understanding of risk for negative health and behavior outcomes for women and offspring.

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