Over the past few months of being pregnant, you have watched your body change in so many ways. With the ever-growing belly came morning sickness, heartburn, swollen calves, and the persistent need to pee, amongst a plethora of symptoms.
The last thing you were expecting however is forgetfulness and occasional memory lapses. I mean, common! Initially, you thought you were imagining things. But lately, you find yourself constantly trying to remember words at the tip of your tongue, where you dropped your keys or even your due date!
If this is your situation, there is no need to panic. You might be suffering from something called “Pregnancy Brain.” Yep, it is a real thing.
We understand that this may be extremely frustrating and we sympathize with you. As always, we are here to help you – and your brain.
To provide you with some comfort, we have compiled useful information to help you understand the science behind this phenomenon, and essential tips to help you can cope.
What is Pregnancy Brain?
The term “pregnancy brain” (sometimes known as “momnesia” or “mommy brain”) describes the memory loss and forgetfulness that some women experience during pregnancy and sometimes even after childbirth.
Is Pregnancy Brain Really Real?
Some people may say that pregnancy brain is just a figment of imagination, but many pregnant women will beg to differ. And they are backed by research!
According to some studies, about 81% of expectant mothers struggled to concentrate or had significant memory problems during and after pregnancy. In other studies, memory and cognitive function were compared between women who were pregnant and those who were not.
What was the result? Your guess is as good as mine. The pregnant women fared significantly worse, especially in the third trimester. That is as real as it gets!
When Does Pregnancy Brain Start?
Clinical studies have revealed that pregnancy brain may begin as early as the first trimester, and get worse in the third trimester. And if you are among the unlucky ones, it may well extend into your child’s toddler years!
What Causes Pregnancy Brain
The causes of pregnancy brain remain unclear, but some possible ones are:
Pfft! No surprise there! As always, your fluctuating hormones are to blame for everything. During pregnancy, there is a rapid increase in several hormones.
This hormone surge may have an impact on the brain and memory, making it challenging to concentrate, think clearly, and recall information.
Most pregnant women will have trouble sleeping at some point in their pregnancy. This sleep deprivation can make you feel totally disoriented and affect your memory.
Stress and Anxiety
Stress – you would feel a lot of it during pregnancy! From making preparations to hospital appointments to scary stories about childbirth, it is easy to get overwhelmed. This stress and anxiety may also make it difficult for you to focus and remember details.
Physical Changes in the Brain
Some studies have shown that pregnancy may cause alterations in a woman’s brain to help her bond with her baby and adapt to motherhood. Unfortunately, these changes are also believed to cause some form of cognitive impairment and memory loss.
How to Cope With Pregnancy Brain
We understand that pregnancy can be a difficult journey, especially if you are struggling to remember most of it. Thankfully, we have a few tips that may be of help:
Have a Routine: Knowing what you have to do will make it easier to do it. Keep track of your activities by planning with a daily calendar or to-do list, setting reminders for important tasks, and even placing sticky notes around your home.
Create a “Home’’ for Essentials: Keeping important things like your phone, Airpods and keys in the same place will make it easier to find them the next time.
Healthy Diet: Pregnancy will come with its cravings, we know. Still, it is essential that you try to eat a nutrient-dense diet with fruits, vegetables, and lots of water.
Sleep and Exercise: Try to get as much sleep and exercise as you can. This will help keep your memory fresh and alert.
Keep Notes: Write down important information with a note-taking app or a notebook. You can even use photos to save visual information like event flyers, slides at a meeting, or even where you parked your car.
Play Brain-Boosting Games: Apart from your body, your brain would also benefit from a good workout. Playing brain-boosting games like Crossword puzzles, and Sudoku will help keep your brain fresh and alert.
Ask for Help: You are going to need all the help you can get during and after your pregnancy. Don’t be shy to ask for it. Reach out to your partner, family, or friends to help with chores, errands, and babysitting. This will help you simplify your daily routine and avoid multitasking.
Be Kind to Yourself
Pregnancy is a beautiful but tough journey. It will affect your physical, mental, and emotional health. It is a lot to handle, even for strong mama bears like you.
So don’t feel too bad when you can never remember where you kept your keys or when your next appointment is. Forgive yourself when you forget, and enjoy the humorous moments. You’d be back to your smart and witty self before you know it!