Pregnancy & the Brain: The Birth of a Mother

Pregnancy & the Brain: The Birth of a Mother

  • Dutch language proficiency required
  • Amsterdam


The effects of pregnancy and motherhood on the human brain and the relation to maternal mental health, cognition and mother-infant bonding.

In this longitudinal neuroimaging project, led by Elseline Hoekzema, we will investigate how pregnancy and motherhood change the human brain and how these neural changes relate to peripartum adaptive and maladaptive processes. In a previous study, we discovered for the first time that pregnancy renders long-lasting changes in a woman’s brain structure (see e.g., and see for some of the worldwide media coverage on these findings). In this project, we aim to gather key insights into the changes occurring in the human brain during this important transition as well as the factors and mechanisms underlying these changes and the functional implications, for instance with respect to a mother’s mental health (e.g., the development of peripartum depression), maternal caregiving and maternal cognition. We will investigate this by means of a pre-conception prospective cohort study that combines various neuroimaging approaches with psychopedagogic and biomedical measures. See for some general information about our research.


We are currently starting with data collection. We are looking for a student who can help with data collection, including neuroimaging (structural MRI, functional MRI, DTI) and cognitive tests data. You will have a lot of contact with the participants, so Dutch language proficiency is required.

Talented and motivated master students with an interest in psychology / neuroscience are welcome to apply.

If you are interested in this project and would like to join our team, please send an email with your CV and motivation to Sara Halmans  (

Starting date: July/August/September 2024

Duration: At least 6 months

To apply for this job email your details to