TURK PSIKIYATRI DERGISI, cilt.21, ss.68-78, 2010 (SSCI İndekslerine Giren Dergi)
Motherhood is a physiological status in which certain behaviourol patterns are exhibited. Maintenance of the life of the species in mammals is dependent upon the presentation of motherhood services in a certain period that the child is dependent on the mother. Absence of the mother causes some deficiencies in social, behavioural and cognitive abilities, an abnormal development of the stress response system, learning and memory disorders, and later, inadequate motherhood skills of the mature offspring during their own maternity period. Because maternal care is extremely important for the survival of the child and thus, for the species to maintain, nature seems to have provided the development of a healthy mother-child relationship. Therefore, motherhood is programmed by the evolutionary process in the female brain before birth. It is certain that the brain of the mother is very different from the brains of the nulliparous women who are within the some age range, and is very sensitive to her own child's needs. For maternal behaviour to develop in human beings and animals, special neural networks, which are cooperatively developed by genetic, environmental and hormonal factors, are necessary. It also seems likely that non-genetic (epigenetic) transmission responsible for the internalization of maternal behaviours learned from the mother and hormonal exposure of the brain both during the foetal period, throughout the growth, and during the gestation of the woman as well as genetic factors, ploy an important role in the development of these maternal neural networks and systems. In this paper, which was prepared by obtaining the necessary publications by means of a search for the words related to motherhood in the PubMed search engine, the physical and mental changes that prepare females for motherhood and enable them to tolerate it will be reviewed.