We still don’t know as much as researchers would like about the changes a woman goes through postpartum because it’s difficult to find test subjects (new moms can be a bit too busy to participate in research, making it difficult to put together a large-scale study). But they have made gains in the last decade.
The regions of the brain that control empathy, anxiety and social interaction see an increase in activity, which explains those feelings of fierce love and protectiveness mothers feel postpartum, according to a 2015 study.
Mothers often blame “mom brain” when they forget something — it turns out, they may be onto something. Research published in 2016 showed that the areas of the brain responsible for processing memories shrink.
Up to 80 percent of women will experience “the baby blues” for a couple of weeks after giving birth, and 1 in 7 women may experience postpartum depression in the year after giving birth. About 10 percent of women will develop postpartum anxiety.