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The birth of new neurons in the maternal brain: Hormonal regulation and functional implications.

ABSTRACT

The maternal brain is remarkably plastic and exhibits multifaceted neural modifications. Neurogenesis has emerged as one of the mechanisms by which the maternal brain exhibits plasticity. This review highlights what is currently known about peripartum-associated changes in adult neurogenesis and the underlying hormonal mechanisms. We also consider the functional consequences of neurogenesis in the peripartum brain and extent to which this process may play a role in maternal care, cognitive function and postpartum mood. Finally, while most work investigating the effects of parenting on adult neurogenesis has focused on mothers, a few studies have examined fathers and these results are also discussed.