You find out you are pregnant and all of a sudden you can’t remember anything. You forget why you walk into a room, you forget where you parked your car, you can’t remember an appointment without a reminder on your phone, but yet before you never forgot anything! You wonder why the sudden change.
It’s called pregnancy brain.
Many people may argue that pregnancy brain isn’t a real thing and that it is just an excuse women use to explain why they keep forgetting things.
There have never been any definitive studies that show pregnancy brain is real because pregnancy doesn’t actually change the brain. They have found though that pregnant women do have memory lapses.
There are many things that may explain pregnancy brain.
For one, you are not sleeping as much. You can’t get comfortable, you are peeing every 2 hours, the baby is kicking you, no matter what the reason, you are not sleeping as much as you normally do. Everyone has memory issues when they are not sleeping, so it is completely expected that a pregnant woman would.
You are also stressed. Having a baby is stressful. Whether it is your first, second, or seventh baby you know there are a lot of things you have to get ready before the baby gets here. You have a lot on your mind. You have to get the room setup, clothes bought and washed, make arrangements for other kids while you are in the hospital, you have to get maternity leave arranged, and so much more. With so much on your mind it’s no wonder you can’t remember the small things.
Hormones also have an impact on your brain. Progesterone, estrogen, and oxytocin can have an effect on different neurons in your brain. During pregnancy the amounts of these hormones fluctuate and increase dramatically, changing the way your brain functions.
What can I do about pregnancy brain?
When you walk into a room and forget why you walked in there it can be frustrating, especially when it happens several times a day. You walk out of the house and forget your keys, for the second time this week, and you get so mad at yourself. Calm down and take a deep breath. Getting upset and stressed will only make it worse.
If you feel like you are alway forgetting the same thing, make a list and put it in a place where you will see it. Sticky notes are great for this. If you are always forgetting your keys when you leave the house, put a sticky note on the door at eye level.
Take your prenatal vitamin. I know it can be hard to get them down when you have morning sickness, but it will have Omega-3 fatty acids that will help your brain, and your baby’s brain, function better.
Let someone else do it if you can. If it is close to the holidays and you always bring dessert to your family dinner, ask someone to make a backup dessert. That way if you forget, there is already dessert, and if you remember, you have two desserts. Don’t take on too many projects at work, or ask for someone to help you.
Laugh about it. Laughter help reduce your stress. Not only that, there is no reason to get upset about something you can’t help. When you can’t remember why you walked into a room, laugh it off, you will remember in a few minutes.
This will pass, but not before it gets a little worse. After delivery your hormones will calm down and you will get your memory back, but before that happens you will be in a haze of postpartum sleep deprivation.
Do you think you suffered from pregnancy brain? How did you manage?