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Rev Neurol. 2013 Jan 16;56(2):101-8.

[Maternal brain and its implications for the human development].

[Article in Spanish]

Author information

  • 1Departamento de PsicologĂ­a y SociologĂ­a, Universidad de Zaragoza, 50013 Zaragoza, Espana. eescola@unizar.es



One of the primary needs of human beings is setting emotional bonds perceived as unconditional and ever-lasting. In the first moment of life, if development is harmonious, this need is satisfied by the care and attention received from the mother. Several studies have demonstrated how importance it is for the emotional development of the child and of the species in general.


To review the main knowledge provided by several current researches on neurobiological changes that occurs in the mother to ensure the optimal development of the offspring.


Data from different sources show that even during pregnancy, childbirth and the very first mother-child interactions, structural, functional and neuroendocrine changes are noticed at the maternal brain which predispose the mother for her baby's care and attention. These maternal brain changes affect the infant brain, and therefore, the development as much in the childhood years as later. Furthermore, the effects of these early mother-child interactions on brain and child development are even transgenerational.


Despite these important results which show maternal brain plasticity and the relevance of their social, educational and health implications, there is still a long way to go in order to understand the processes in the maternal brain and its influence on the child development. Interdisciplinary labor is required to answer these questions and consequently, to improve human development.

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