Your brain changes during pregnancy to prepare you for the awesome responsibility of carrying, giving birth to, and raising your child.
In fact, after months of persistent activation of the “wanting” and “liking” centers of your brain, almost everything about your baby seems alluring because your brain will be baby-based (Numan & Young, 2016)!
“The same hormones that program fetal development are those that shape the maternal brain [which is] an adaptive function for both mother and fetus” (Glynn & Sandman, 2011).
Your capacity to attend to and handle threats helps you sense risks and mobilize to protect your child, even when these “threats” appear neutral to others.
Interestingly, the hormones that promote breast feeding (i.e., prolactin) also diminish your fear-for-yourself response (Torner, 2016), which is why you might find yourself turning into a competent “MaMa Bear.”
Glynn, L.M. & Sandman, C.A. (2011). Prenatal origins of neurological development: A critical period for fetus and mother. Current Directions in Psychological Science, 20(6), 384-389.
Numan, M., & Young, L. (2016). Neural mechanisms of mother-infant bonding and pair bonding: Similarities, differences, and broader implications. Hormones and Behavior, 77, 98-112.
Torner, L. (2016). Actions of prolactin in the brain. Frontiers in Endocrinology. Retrieved from https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fendo.2016.00025/full