Does pregnancy make women smarter?

Parents may have a notion that pregnancy and motherhood makes women more forgetful, but the research doesn’t support that conclusion. Professor Helen Christensen, director of the Centre for Mental Health Research at the Australian National University, began studying a group of women in 1999. She soon found that there was no link between pregnancy and memory loss, although parents indicated their belief that pregnancy had a negative effect on recall. Pof. Christensen has found that mothers are marginally less-educated than women who have no children, probably because of the delays in education that occur when one has a child.

Research with rats has found that mother rats show less fear and are better at multitasking than rats without children. These differences allow mother rats to navigate mazes more easily. Christensen believes that human research may mirror these findings, surmising that motherhood allows fewer opportunities for mothers to ruminate about problems.

Did your (or your wife’s) pregnancy affect your concentration or memory? Leave us a comment.

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One Response to Does pregnancy make women smarter?
  1. Brenda Nixon
    March 12, 2009 | 8:28 am

    Interesting article – if it’s all true then I’m two-times smarter and fearless for having two kids. Although, when you have kids they think you’re pretty dumb. (I thought my parents didn’t know anything until I had kids.)

    Seriously, on my second pregnancy I had difficulty with concentration and memory. It’s funny now but, at the time I ruined and burned many meals because I couldn’t remember details…like turn off the heat!