Ertuğrul, E.Ş.E.L. (2010)
Neurobiology of Motherhood
Turkish Journal of Psychiatry 21(1), 68-78

  • The nurturing and protective behaviour that characterises mothers of humans and other mammals is essential if the offspring are to grow and thrive.
  • The hormonal changes that young female mammals including human girls undergo in late childhood and adolescence help them to prepare for the role of mother. Birth and breast feeding trigger further changes.
  • Children who are neglected in the first year of life can suffer from impaired brain development later on, and this has been linked to changes in the circuits in the brain involved in the stress response.
  • The biochemical systems involved in developing the bond between a mother and her baby involve brain structures involved in the development of positive emotions that are collectively known as “reward structures”.
  • Fathers exhibit similar patterns of behaviour as mothers towards their babies and young children, although less strongly, and similar patterns of hormonal activity are thought to be involved there.