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My books

New Book: 'Baby Brain'

'the women's brain book' / 'demystifying the female brain'


Baby Brain: The surprising neuroscience of how pregnancy and motherhood sculpt our brains and change our minds (for the better).

In the animal kingdom, mammalian mothers (who don’t read books on what to expect when they’re expecting!!) are more efficient at problem-solving, learn quickly, have better memories, are less stressed, show less fear, and, when compared to their childless sisters, live healthier, more resilient lives.

Human mothers, it turns out, are not that different.

The extreme hormonal changes of pregnancy trigger dramatic brain rewiring, propelling our brains into a state of heightened plasticity and empathy to infant cues, cries and cuteness.

Pregnancy, science shows, prepares our minds for impending parenthood.

In my book, you'll meet the neuroscientists (many mothers themselves) doing this thrilling research. And you'll hear stories of pregnancy and parenting from hundreds of warm and generous humans from around the world whose stories have added heart and soul to a book about science.

"Baby Brain is the ultimate good-news story about mother's brains, backed up by scientific research from leading experts and presented in highly readable bite-sized sections by one of Australia's leading science communicators."

What you'll learn from 'Baby Brain'

  • What happens to the brain during the journey through matrescence.
  • How pregnancy prepares the mind for motherhood.
  • Cuteness and crying babies: how our brains respond.
  • Nesting, maternal instinct, and the 'Mama Bear' — patriarchal myths or Mother Nature's mandates?
  • Is parenting hardwired or learned? Instinctive or experiential? Biological or cultural?
  • Is forgetfulness during pregnancy and motherhood real?
  • Baby brain as an internalised gender stereotype: the feminist perspective.
  • How mothers’ and babies’ brains synchronise to foster attachment and lifelong resilience.
  • What happens to the brains of fathers, non-birth mothers, grandmothers, alloparents and others.
  • Maternal brain ageing: why mother's brains are resilient to ageing.
  • How children's cells remain in midlife mothers’ brains.
  • Supporting the matrescence journey: sleep, self-awareness and social connectedness.

The Women's Brain Book: The Neuroscience of Health Hormones and Happiness.

The Women's Brain Book takes you on a chronological 'womb to tomb' tour across the lifespan to explore how our minds and brains are shaped and sculpted by our genes and hormones, our life experiences, society and culture, and our thoughts, feelings and beliefs.

The story begins in the womb, and the chapters focus on infancy and girlhood, puberty and the menstrual cycle, the teenage years, mental health, romance and sex, pregnancy and motherhood, menopause, and finally, longevity and old age.

In its pages, I weave together findings from the research lab, case studies and interviews with neuroscientists from Australia, New Zealand, UK, US and Canada, and other researchers working in the disciplines of neuroendocrinology, brain development, brain health, and ageing.

The Women's Brain Book is sold in the UK & Ireland as 'Demystifying the Female Brain' (that's the version in blue!)

"…a compelling analysis of many topics which are often subject to unqualified and often harmful opinions, and is a wonderful source of information for a wider audience in search of an objective guide to female health over the lifespan and for health researchers and professionals determined to practice good science."

Doctus Project
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“Debunks some of the enduring myths about the female mind”

Daily Mail
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“A great insight into how different life stages and hormones affect our brains.”

Woman's Own
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“Demystifying the Female Brain by neuroscientist Dr Sarah McKay sheds light on exactly how your mind works”

Woman's Health

Invite me to speak 

Despite half the world’s population being female, most of what we know about human biology is based on the male body.

Thankfully, neuroscientists have moved with the times and are busy exploring the new neurobiology of puberty, periods, the pill, pregnancy, parenting and perimenopause!

The field is advancing rapidly — women's brain health is no longer an irrelevant mumsy niche!

I have a special interest in women's brain health and how the brain changes during puberty, pregnancy and menopause. And I'm always thrilled to speak or be interviewed on the latest neuroscience of the female brain or my books.

Contact me to speak at your event, guest on your podcast, teach a workshop or present virtually about women's brain health research.


The Women's Brain Book

The Neuroscience of Health, Hormones and Happiness


Demystifying the Female Brain

The Neuroscientist Explores Health, Hormones and Happiness

uk and europe