Tag Archives: maternal instinct

Mommy Brain, it exists and it’s a super power!

Happy Monday Tribe!

I hope you all had a wonderful weekend!.  Last week we talked about the importance of the tongue and it’s mobility effecting the brain.  If you missed it, don’t forget to catch the replay here:

http://www.drrachelhamel.com/blog-post/the-tongues-effect-on-your-brain/

______________________________________________________________________

This week we are going to be talking about MOMMY BRAIN.

First of all, it’s probably best to chat about what mommy brain is, and if it exists right?

Many women who are pregnant claim that they feel like there are lots of things happening in their brains that they don’t understand.  Their memories get foggy so it’s hard to carry on a conversation or remember whether or not they put the an ingredient in the recipe.

Some researchers say there is no such thing as mommy brain, but still there are others and many women that would say otherwise.  The American Psychological Association concluded that 50-80% of women reported decreased concentration and memory while being pregnant.

However, we have learned that this isn’t necessarily a bad thing.  Some researchers are saying that these symptoms actually are changes in the brain that may end up making the woman smarter and better equipped to keep her child healthy and safe. WHAT?!
This flood of reproductive hormones may actually prepare the brain for demands of being a mother.
This makes her more sensitive and a more effective caregiver, less irritated by stress and more in tune with the needs of a newborn.

Another doctor says this is why mothers can hear the babies stir, while the fathers are fast asleep. Also, when the fetus moves inside the womb of the mother, it can raise her heart rate and skin conductivity, all signs of an emotional response.  Meaning the mother will be better able to bond with her infant even before its born!

The placenta is a sac like membrane that is created to help feed and nourish the growing baby from the mother.  But fetal cells can also enter the mother’s bloodstream through the same means.  This could influence the changing of the brain preparing her for the needs and love of the infant. 

What about the actual brain size?

They have found through MRI scans that a woman’s brain may physically shrink 3-5% during the third trimester of pregnancy! 
BUT, the shrinking is not just a loss of brain cells as we might think, it’s actual do to changes in cellular metabolism that happen.  Brain circuits are being restructured to prepare for more connections that will be needed.  And some areas of the brain even grow larger when others are smaller.

After about 6 months postpartum, the brain goes back to its original size (the body is so cool), but with a better circuit system.  Women who’ve never had children don’t have this, meaning they aren’t as resistant to stress or enhanced memory and cognition (stinks for me).

But to the mother going through that change, that’s where the fogginess comes from .  It’s like a construction zone.  But once the infant is born, and those changes start to become organized, the brain is actually MORE efficient and focused.  

——-

Here’s another interesting change in the brain.  When a woman is early in her pregnancy, her sense of smell changes right?  She’s more aware of odors.  This is because it is a protective mechanism.  It makes her more sensitive to the smell of food that may be bad for her and her child.  It also makes her actually like the smells given off by her baby, part of the bonding process guided by the brain.

Other areas of the brain also change and grow after motherhood.  The hypothalamus, PFC and amygdala, the motivation and reward centers grow.  This highly motivates the mother to care for her child and makes her feel that sense of reward with interactions from the child. These areas of the brain are also crucial for planning and foresight, something that’s needed to anticipate the child’s needs “maternal instinct”.

The brain fog can also come from the fact that the brain is changing priorities.  Mother’s have better memories about things related to their infant.  Its important for them to remember what is really important and needed for them to remember at that time.

In the workplace this could also be a benefit!  More efficient, perceptive, motivated and empathetic.  No wonder there are so many mom entrepreneurs, as we know a lot of trade jobs are actually going out and will go out in the coming years.

So that being said, it seems there IS such thing as a mommy brain.  But it actually happens for a reason as we’ve seen and actually makes them more of a SUPERHERO!, benefitting her for her entire life.  A little fogginess may results in a new level of focus and attention.

Since the need is GREAT for your brain during this time in particular, it’s important that your brain is healthy to be able to create these new circuits. 

This means women should think BEFORE going into pregnancy different, and take care of themselves differently as well as during and post partum.  The demand is high for brain use, this means more focus needs to be put on enhancing it.  Just like how I talk about in children the biggest growth of their brain is 0-2 years old so we need to make sure we allow it to grow most effectively.

How do I prepare, or what should I do to enhance my brain for mommy brain?

1.  Get cranial care.  If there’s pressure on the brain, it will be less likely to be able to process new information when it can’t even handle it’s current load. We said the hypothalamus, PFC and amygdala all grow, so we need to be able to give them that space to do so. Craniopathy care helps dramatically take the stress off the brain, decrease inflammation and allow WAY less fogginess.

2. Proper nutrition.  Since your using a LOT of brain power you need to feed the brain.  Lots of good fats are needed, and supplementation is critical.  Supplement with a high grade OMEGA supplement is always warranted pre during and post partum.(not all supplements are created equal remember, some could be TOXIC, so please consult me before taking if you haven’t already).  Additionally, looking at the exact vitamin and mineral needs are also important.  This requires specific testing, as a one size fits all prenatal vitamin just doesn’t cut it anymore.

3.  Exercise.  Exercise helps the brain make more NRF2.  This enhances the brain function, reduces stress, builds stamina.  Just don’t get exhausted or breathless as that depletes oxygen from you and baby. Lots of hydration.  Being pregnant isn’t an illness, you can still exercise and need to.  Just don’t overdue it.

4. Watch cell phone use.  Exposing fetuses to cell phone radiation does in fact affect their behavior as adults, and changes brain structure for both.

5. Get plenty of rest.  Can’t sleep?  Thats what I’m here for!  Cranial care helps tremendously with sleep, and taking away the aches and pains that come with a growing child.

If you neglect these practices, you might find that you may be more foggy, or not recuperate as quickly after baby.  Your brain can only do what it can do!  If you enhance it, think of how amazing it would be after?!

OIL OF THE WEEK

ON the spotlight this week is Balance!  Because what mom doesn’t need more of that?!

Created with the purpose of grounding emotions, doTERRA Balance is formulated with emotionally beneficial essential oils that work together to create a sense of calmness and well-being. doTERRA Balance essential oil blend has a variety of uses and benefits that can be obtained both aromatically and topically. When applied to the skin or diffused, doTERRA Balance can ease anxious feelings and create a soothing and calming environment—encouraging strong relaxation. The aroma of doTERRA Balance is sweet and woody and is the perfect fragrance for promoting feelings of balance and tranquility. Infused with Spruce, Ho Wood, Blue Tansy, Blue Chamomile, and Frankincense essential oils, doTERRA Balance is the perfect blend for stabilizing emotions.

doTERRA Balance Uses and Benefits

  1. Relaxing your body begins with the mind. Help your body relax by focusing on your emotions first. Use doTERRA Balance essential oil blend to help ground your emotions so that your whole body can feel completely at ease when you need it most. This emotionally balancing blend is a great oil to use during meditation or yoga practices.
  2. Start your day off right by putting a little doTERRA Balance into your step. After you wake up, apply one to two drops of doTERRA Balance to the bottom of your feet. This will help promote feelings of calmness and tranquility throughout the day. doTERRA Balance can also be applied to your feet throughout the day to help lessen feelings of stress.
  3. If a road trip is in your future, make sure to bring some doTERRA Balance. For those long hours of driving in a full car, diffusing doTERRA Balance will help create a calming and soothing environment. Once you experience the serene feelings of doTERRA Balance, you’ll wonder how you ever took long road trips without it.
  4. doTERRA Balance is one of the essential oils used in the AromaTouch® technique. doTERRA Balance essential oil blend is important to the AromaTouch experience because it helps produce emotional harmony and relaxation. Experience the enriching benefits of doTERRA Balance during an AromaTouch Hand Massage by either applying it to your own hands or having someone else perform the hand massage. The AromaTouch Hand Massage can also be performed on a grandparent to help them feel relaxed and calm.
  5. If you experience occasional feelings of anxiousness, apply doTERRA Balance to your wrists and neck. The topical application of doTERRA Balance essential oil blend will help ease anxious feelings when they arise.
  6. One of the main benefits of doTERRA Balance is its ability to evoke feelings of tranquility. When you feel overwhelmed emotionally, take a step back and give yourself the peace your mind needs. Diffuse doTERRA Balance or apply doTERRA Balance topically to create an environment of tranquility so that you can press forward feeling emotionally balanced and ready to take on the tasks ahead of you.
  7. Do you find yourself with little time to sit back and let your mind relax? For an emotionally grounding experience in a short amount of time, apply one or two drops of doTERRA Balance to your hands and cup them over your nose, breathing in deeply. The same results can be felt by simply uncapping the doTERRA Balance essential oil blend bottle and breathing deeply with the bottle of doTERRA Balance held a couple of inches from the nose.
  8. Before you go to bed, apply doTERRA Balance to the bottoms of your feet. This calming and soothing blend will encourage a restful night’s sleep.
  9. Promote a whole body relaxation by including doTERRA Balance in your bath. doTERRA Balance will help relax the body and provide a comforting and soothing experience. For those moments when you just need time to relax and recharge, add a couple drops of doTERRA Balance with some Epsom salts to your bath water. You will love how easily it evokes feelings of balance and tranquility.
  10. doTERRA Balance is a powerful blend of CPTG® oils designed to promote harmony in the mind and body and help balance emotions. When you have stressful events or meetings, make sure to use doTERRA Balance so that you can experience a sense of stability and relaxation during situations that are prone to anxious and stressful feelings.
  • Spruce Leaf
  • Ho Wood Leaf
  • Frankincense Resin
  • Blue Tansy Flower
  • Blue Chamomile Flower
  • Fractionated Coconut Oil

That is all for now,

 

Have a happy and healthy Week!!

Dr. Hamel