Pregnancy Brain (Forgetfulness) | What to Expect
Have you ever walked into a room and then realize that you have absolutely no idea why you went there in the first place? Or maybe you looked for your car keys for almost half an hour only for you to throw your hands in the air in frustration and see them dangling from your finger. The most frustrating would probably have to be forgetting your train of thought mid-sentence yet nobody interrupted you as you were speaking.
These happen to be very common among pregnant women from all walks of life and they all agree on this one. Makes you wonder if it is a valid claim considering the part that they are forgetful, doesn’t it? Some even wonder whether pregnancy made them a little dumb! Science has an explanation for it so they are not exactly spinning tales.
Let us start with the fact that a lot is going on externally. Regular morning sickness, lack of sleep and fatigue can alter anyone’s concentration and alertness. Add to that the excitement and/or anxiety about having a baby and all the changes it will bring and your brain becomes constantly abuzz with baby activity.
Mommy I shrunk your brain
Research has shown that pregnancy changes your brain and not just in a chemical way. Certain parts of the brain become larger in pregnancy but as your pregnancy progresses, the size of your brain generally becomes smaller. It is smallest when your baby has reached term and this may explain why you are most forgetful in your third trimester.
This is something you will not feel and thankfully things go back to normal in a few months after delivery. Your brain will be back to its previous size by the time your baby turns six months. You will also probably be ready to go back to work at around the same time, no? Perfect timing!
Forgetfulness could also be an indication of depression or stress. This is especially true if you have young children to look after while pregnant coupled with the strain that pregnancy brings. If you notice that you are constantly unhappy during your pregnancy be sure to make an appointment with your doctor. They will give you the necessary help to avoid sinking further into depression.
Dealing with momnesia
It definitely makes life a little more difficult but you will need to work around it so that life continues with some semblance of normalcy. The following tips could be lifesavers at this point.
- Put reminders of important things like events and appointments everywhere. Cross them out on a physical calendar and type them into the calendar in your phone too. And of course place the physical calendar somewhere you can see it often.
- Plan your day ahead and write down all the things you need to do. Be sure to tick tasks off as you accomplish them. This will remind you of what to do and will also motivate you to do more because ticking off tasks feels really good.
- Maintain specific storage points for things that you use regularly like car keys, house keys and salt. Finding things becomes easier if they are always in the same place.
While it may be annoying sometimes, you can still use pregnancy brain to your advantage. Take time often to clear your mind, reduce your stress levels and be good to yourself. Read a good book, take a nap, go for a walk or take a long bath while you still can. When the baby comes, give your full attention to the baby (because that is what your brain will be most devoted to anyway) until the hormones and size go back to normal. Remember to keep your sense of humour too because with all that is going on, you will need a good belly laugh!