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Postpartum Gray Matter Changes in the Auditory Cortex

  • luders, eileen
  • gaser, christian
  • gingnell, malin
  • engman, jonas
  • poromaa, inger sundström
  • kurth, florian
Publication Date
Nov 29, 2021
DOI: 10.3390/jcm10235616
University of Ljubljana
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After giving birth, a mother&rsquo / s brain undergoes functional adaptations fostering the ability to properly respond to the needs of her newborn. Tuning into and understanding her baby&rsquo / s crying is among the top skills required and executed in the early stages of motherhood. However, surprisingly little is known about potential changes in the anatomy of the maternal auditory cortex. Therefore, in this longitudinal study, we compared the brains of 14 healthy women between immediate postpartum (within 1&ndash / 2 days of childbirth) and late postpartum (at 4&ndash / 6 weeks after childbirth), focusing on areas of the primary, secondary, and higher auditory cortex. We observed significant volume increases within all auditory regions and subregions examined, which might reflect rapid adaptations of the mother&rsquo / s brain in relation to reliably interpreting her newborn&rsquo / s cries. There was also a trend for a larger postpartum increase within right-hemispheric regions compared to left-hemispheric regions that might be specifically linked to the ability to discern the pitch, sound, and volume of a baby&rsquo / s crying. Follow-up research is warranted to replicate these findings and evaluate their current interpretation.

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