Pregnancy Brain- Myth or Real?

Increased forgetfulness, poor decision-making, a lack of concentration and mental "fogginess" are reported by four out of five pregnant women. This phenomenon refers to pregnancy brain or baby brain. It is also called "momnesia". Even though some advocates pregnancy brain is merely a myth, scientists are now confirming what we already know, pregnancy brain is real and it lasts much longer than nine months as well.

What are the proofs of the existence of pregnancy brain?

A series of tasks, including a digit span test (where they were asked to memorize numbers in a line), is conducted among 709 pregnant women and 521 non-pregnant women, by the researchers from Deakin University to evaluate the cognitive function outcome shows that the performance of the pregnant woman is not up to mark or rather is poor when compared to the non-pregnant women.  Expectant mothers' ability to pay attention, decision-making capacity, planning, and memory were low with respect to nonpregnant woman. Also, pregnancy brain has different effects in the different phases of ones' pregnancy. It is not that prominent during the first trimester, yet very distinctive in the second trimester and more prominent during the third trimester of the pregnancy.

In 2016, a small yet significant study discovered that pregnancy can cause noteworthy and long-lasting changes in the structure of women's brain.  MRI scans are performed on the brains of 25 pregnant women. They come up with an astounding finding. Some mother's had lost a few gray matter during pregnancy – particularly from the section of the brain responsible for social reasoning and the ability to see other people's perspectives. This change persisted two years after delivery as well.

What causes pregnancy brain?

It is quite normal to have memory lapses or be forgetful when you're busy, stressed, or experience lack of sleep. This is applicable in the course of pregnancy as well. However, the exact reason for momnesia and its exact duration are not yet found (estimated it lasts roughly around two years after delivery).  However, different studies offered some insight into what was causing the brains of pregnant women to change. Here are some logical reasons:

Surging pregnancy hormones:

During pregnancy, your brain has to deal with 15 to 40 times more progesterone and estrogen. And these hormones influence all kinds of neurons and its functions. Also, by the time the woman delivers, there are huge surges of oxytocin, another hormone, that cause the uterus to contract and the body to produce milk. This can also affect the brain circuits.

Sleep deprivation:

Expecting mothers are not able to sleep properly, especially during the third trimester. And pregnancy brain is more prominent during the third trimester. This shows the role of lack of sleep in developing momnesia.

Stress:

Stress and strain bring about by the pregnancy and post pregnancy can result in pregnancy brain.

Unending thoughts:

Many expecting mothers and new mothers get into the spell of unending thoughts regarding the changes that having a baby will bring or about taking care of their newborn. As a result, their short-term memory may get affected.

Is pregnancy brain a matter of concern?

No. Irrespective of the fact that pregnancy brain is an annoying phenomenon, and your brain cell volume does decrease during the last trimester, your brain will jump back to its previous strength a few months after the delivery.  And, believe us, it will not affect your day-to-day responsibilities. So stop worrying and take it as brain's means to adapt to your motherhood. And unwind yourself, we are not suggesting that the pregnancy does change your brain forever. We are just emphasizing a fact that it may affect how mentally sharp you feel.

How to deal with pregnancy brain?

  • Try to sleep whenever possible during pregnancy and post pregnancy period.
  • Note down the things you have to do.
  • Don't change the place of things like keys. Make sure you put certain things in particular places only.
  • Use technology wisely. You can put the reminders on your phone.
  • Exercising regularly not only benefits your body, it also helps to get good sleep at night, thereby, will increase your keenness during the day.
loader