Home motherhood/family/parenting Good News…Pregnancy Does Not Cause Brain Damage!

Good News…Pregnancy Does Not Cause Brain Damage!

by Kelly Crawford

Here it is, folks, our tax money hard at work. Seems a team of experts have concluded (after arduous research) that pregnancy and motherhood do not have negative effects on a woman’s brain. I’m not kidding.

“Researchers in the US found that contrary to the popular view that having children reduces a woman’s brainpower, having children actually improves her lifelong mental agility and protects her brain against the neurodegenerative diseases of old age.” Psychology News

“The research team, lead by CMHR Director Professor Helen Christensen, analysed information from the PATH through Life Project database and found that neither pregnancy nor motherhood had a detrimental effect on cognitive capacity….We found no effects of pregnancy on cognitive capacity and motherhood also had no detrimental effects.” From Medical News Today

I’m laughing. It took a team of scientists to inform us. I’d love to be in that serious-faced room when the research conclusions came in…

“A-hem…ladies and gentlemen, after a long and trying experiment, we’ve concluded that pregnancy is in fact, a natural, biological occurrence and does not make women loopy.”

Oh, and interestingly, the only negative thing they could find was that “women who have children become marginally less well educated than women who don’t have children in their 20s.”

You know what that tells me? There weren’t any homeschooling mothers in their control group 😉

As a matter of fact, seems their research on pregnancy unearthed some surprising news…

One of the most significant findings of this and other pregnancy and memory studies is that the added brainpower caused by pregnancy appears to be permanent. Increased memory retention and improved cognition appear to continue throughout motherhood; in fact, parenting only seems to contribute to a woman’s brain power, allowing her to become:

* increasingly motivated
* less fearful
* more empathetic
* better able to multitask and prioritize


“And she will be saved in childbearing...” I think that has a lot of different meanings.

And our Creator just shakes His head, amused, maybe.

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Ruth March 6, 2009 - 3:28 pm

LOL! Oh my… I’m laughing through tears.

Ooooh boy!

Marci March 6, 2009 - 3:54 pm

I guess I’m going to have to find another excuse! 🙂

ladyofvirtue March 6, 2009 - 3:57 pm


How many times have people told me that having kids would ruin my health. Now I find out that having kids makes me smarter–could it be that I’m actually 15 times smarter than I was before I had children?

Add to this the stats that breastfeading at least 4 children for I think at least 6 mo. or longer ensures that you will not get breast cancer, or that you also will not become diabetic later in life–yippee!

The good news keeps piling up–have kids, live longer and healthier!


Dani March 6, 2009 - 4:15 pm

That is great!! Love it!

Bethany Hudson March 6, 2009 - 4:37 pm

What a laugh!

And, personally, I’d be willing to bet that that stat on education has to do more with the fact that the impoverished young women in our nation are more likely to give birth to babies that they conceive (rather than to abort them) than the more priveleged classes. So, naturally, more women having children in their 20s (if a significant portion of those young women are from the underpriveleged classes who, unfortunately, are also the least likely to succeed in our current educational system–certainly less likely to continue to higher education than their wealthy peers) would be less educated than those who use contraception or have abortions and go on to college and grad school.

But, of course, we’ll need another team of experts and some millions of dollars to discern whether my hunch is correct 😉


PS I don’t think I told you (Kelly), but I’m doing a series on “Openness to Life” on Thursdays during Lent. There are three posts so far. Here’s the first, from which you can link to the other two: http://applecidermama.blogspot.com/2009/02/openness-to-life-inconvenient-truth.html
Just thought you might enjoy it.

Bethany Hudson March 6, 2009 - 5:49 pm

Kelly- I responded to your comments 🙂

Sleep-Deprived March 6, 2009 - 5:55 pm

I’ll delurk on this one. In all fairness, I think some of what probably brought on the study is the “fog” that often accompanies the arrival of a newborn.

After our first child I actually found myself believing that my mind wasn’t what it used to be (I kid you not, I lost almost anything that wasn’t physically attached to my body).

I don’t think anything prepares a person for the sleep-deprivation that accompanies nursing in those early months (especially when you start having babies in your 30s). Studies do show that lack of sleep definitely affects mental acuity and short term memory (so long as the sleep-deprivation persists). In my case, the Lord gave me a gentle kick in the pants to the effect of “there is no defect in your mind.” I realized that in my sleeplessness I had disengaged mentally. As I pressed into the Word, I found that my brain was still intact, but it took more energy and focus to retain information. That wasn’t the case with the children who followed because it was impossible to disengage with a little ones running around.

We now have four children – and I’m homeschooling the oldest two (actually they’re ALL homeschooled). I think that having children definitely increases the ability to multi-task, and I can add to that homeschooling my children has increased my retention and sheer joy of learning – there’s just nothing like teaching a subject to find out how well you know it.

Today I could have read the study and responded “of course not!” but in the throws of the fog of my first baby, I couldn’t have answered with such certainty. (Then again, I would have figured it out over time without paying for the study). Which is I suppose, your point 🙂

Mother of Dog March 6, 2009 - 6:01 pm

Pregnancy IS making you a little foggy, Kelly, lol, or you need to do some boning up before you tackle Geography with your children – because that was an Australian study. Which, as my public school education tells me, is not the United States. So your tax dollars had nothing to do with it. 🙂

Word Warrior March 6, 2009 - 7:29 pm


Actually, I looked at several studies, and quoted from two, one of which is a study from the US (see the one from “Psychology News). Sorry…I know you wish you could nail me 😉

Mother of Dog March 6, 2009 - 9:09 pm

I wasn’t really trying to “trip you up,” I was joking! But as an editor, I’m forced to point out that your mechanics really are wrong here:

“Here it is, folks, our tax money hard at work. Seems a team of experts have concluded…”

“The research team, lead by CMHR Director Professor Helen Christensen, analysed information from the PATH through Life Project database and found that neither pregnancy nor motherhood had a detrimental effect on cognitive capacity….We found no effects of pregnancy on cognitive capacity and motherhood also had no detrimental effects.” From Medical News Today

I’m laughing. It took a team of scientists to inform us….”

The structure of this post indicates that you are indeed referring to the above study from Australia, and NOT the later study mentioned.

Carry on. 😉

Muthering Heights March 6, 2009 - 10:45 pm

LOLOL…they really needed a scientific study to figure that out?? Too funny!!

Mrs. Taft March 7, 2009 - 1:07 am

Every blog has its troll 🙂

Persuaded March 7, 2009 - 5:11 am

Well, now I must admit that I have thought that mothering did indeed reduce my (for lack of a better word) sharpness, quick-wittedness, whatever-ness, lol. And honestly I do think that it has- my memory isn’t what it was, and I dread to think how I would handle some of the courses I used to breeze through.
Perhaps the change I feel is not so much from “reduced cognitive capacity,” but rather the result of changed priorities and expanded emotional capacity♥

Word Warrior March 7, 2009 - 8:56 am

Mrs. Taft.

*GRIN* And for those unfamiliar with the technical definition for “Internet troll”…(since I am, in fact, being graded for accurate, technical information, regardless of how tongue-in-cheek and off-the-cuff my posts are):

“An Internet troll, or simply troll in Internet slang, is someone who posts controversial, inflammatory, irrelevant or off-topic messages in an online community, such as an online discussion forum or chat room, with the intention of provoking other users into an emotional response[1] or to generally disrupt normal on-topic discussion.”

Cheri (aka "The Mom Lady") March 7, 2009 - 11:17 am

Good post! And nothing we didn’t already know, right? 🙂 As a fellow member of the “Labor Union”, I concur with your observations.

Living overseas 20 of my 32 years of marriage, I found a distinct lack of respect amongst the European men by and large (those that came to the house to do any work on it). Often they would condescendingly ask “Where is your husband? I need to speak with HIM.” I finally got business cards printed up with “Estate and Family Manager” as my job title and their attitude changed abruptly. It was always fun watching them try to figure out what I “did”.

I think the multi-tasking required of moms keeps the brain agile. One of the BEST compliments my husband give me is “You’re a lateral thinker”. I know now (after a few pouting sessions early on when that was said to me) that it is a high compliment from him indeed!

I enjoyed your post very much.

I also like the scripture about children obeying their parents so THEY may live long upon the earth! 🙂

Mother of Dog March 7, 2009 - 12:05 pm

Hurts, doesn’t it, when an unbeliever is right about anything? 😉


Mrs. Taft March 7, 2009 - 2:21 pm


Kim M. March 8, 2009 - 1:59 pm

🙂 I am like Marci on this one.

Michelle March 9, 2009 - 8:54 am

dang…there goes my excuse – because pregnancy and motherhood sure makes me feel loopy!

Tammy March 12, 2009 - 1:44 pm

Oh, Thank the LORD. ;o)

Lucy February 9, 2011 - 3:11 am

It was done because a previous study had shown that women who never had children had slower rates of cognitive decline over the years than women who had children. The original article can be seen here. http://neuro.psychiatryonline.org/cgi/reprint/15/2/161.pdf


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