New US research has found that “mommy brain,” which is thought to leave new mothers feeling forgetful and less able to pay attention to things, doesn’t last, and in fact, a mother’s attention may actually improve.
Carried out by researchers at Purdue University, the new study looked at 70 non-mothers and 60 mothers who were at least one year postpartum, and compared their reaction times for a computer test where they had to press a button that corresponded to the location of an arrow on the screen.
The participants also completed a survey which asked them questions such as, “How sleepy do you feel?” and “How do you think your attentiveness is?”
The findings, published online in the journal Current Psychology, showed that the mothers performed just as well or even better on the computer test than women who had never been pregnant or had no children, and even though the mothers were, on average, ten years older than the non-mothers.
“For this particular study, we recruited moms who were past that first year postpartum because we wanted to see the long-term effects of maternity,” said researcher Valerie Tucker Miller. “Overall, moms did not have significantly different attention than non-mothers, so we did not find evidence to support ‘mommy brain’ as our culture understands it. It’s possible, if anything, that maternity is related to improved, rather than diminished, attentiveness.”
“In most studies, however, attention and memory tests are given to mothers very early postpartum,” explains Tucker Miller. “There are few