Apart from morning sickness, nausea, and other known symptoms and signs of pregnancy, there is something, that pregnant women need to be aware of. It is called the Pregnancy brain! This refers to the memory loss and forgetfulness that many moms experience during the pregnancy phase. It is believed that forgetfulness during pregnancy is caused by many factors that include hormones, sleep deprivation, stress, and change in the brain during pregnancy.
To put it in a nutshell, recall how many times you have forgotten your car keys or your TV remote. Pregnancy-induced forgetfulness is real. If you suffer from the pregnancy brain, you may forget the reason you entered a store, could have missed your appointment, or even forget something that you put up on a stove.
With pregnancy playing its part in making you forget your routine schedule; we are here to answer your query: does pregnancy cause forgetfulness?
Is Pregnancy Brain Real? (Scientific Studies- Listing Causes In Points)
Yes, the pregnancy brain is real! The play by your hormones is at the cost of losing your memory. Also, lack of quality sleep during the first and the third trimester could play a major role as you lack the much-needed energy. Your brain and the body require the minimum amount of rest to get it going.
At some point in time during pregnancy, you may find yourself missing a lot of important stuff or forgetting important dates and events. Pregnancy is marked by a lot of physical changes. It is believed that you get affected by hormones as well as mentally1.
This condition is also known as momnesia or baby brain, the struggles of forgetfulness during pregnancy are substantial. Some women experience it during pregnancy and a few after giving birth well. Though moms report forgetting things during pregnancy, according to a study, the anecdotal evidence of temporary cognitive decline is strong.
According to this study, there was little to no difference in the brain function and neuropsychological measurements that were taken up between pregnant and nonpregnant ladies.
If you are thinking about why and how pregnancy affects your brain, here we go.
1. Hormonal changes
Hormones are the major culprits for a lot of things that happen to your body during pregnancy. Be it sore breast, morning sickness, or mood swings, you can easily blame them. It is no surprise that the role of hormones is huge in pregnancy. Due to the increased levels of progesterone and estrogen during pregnancy, it is believed that it affects your ability to think clearly, recall easily, and focus mindfully.
According to a study, it was found that forgetfulness during pregnancy, second trimester, and beyond had low levels of score in Spatial Recognition Memory (SRM) tests — meaning they had had trouble remembering locations and spatial relations between different objects.
2. Sleep deprivation
Insomnia is experienced by all pregnant women at some point during pregnancy. Exhaustion becomes a common concern during the first trimester for many moms to be. Also, symptoms such as heartburn, nausea, or morning sickness could make the mom deprived of her much-needed sleep.
To put it in short, quality sleep is out of the question during those nine months of pregnancy. Deprivation of sleep could make your mind miss out on those important connections that help process information which could be why you are losing your thoughts.
3. Stress and anxiety
As pregnant ladies, it is obvious to feel stressed and anxious upon a lot of factors that could be overwhelming. There are a lot of preparations to be done, you need to get prepared mentally and yes, it is hence understood that you are mentally clogged. So, it is fair that you could be missing your focus.
Related Reading: 8 Tips To Cope With Anxiety During Pregnancy Third Trimester
4. Physical changes in the brain
According to a study, it was seen that pregnant women’s brains went through a lot of physiological changes in their structure. It showed that pregnant women might experience a significant decrease in areas of the brain that help with social cognition. It was sound to be the brain’s way of preparing itself for maternal attachment.
Also, the follow-up scans revealed that it could last for about two years after delivery.
When Does Forgetfulness Start In Pregnancy?
Forgetfulness during pregnancy can start anytime during the first trimester as that is when your hormones begin to go through a lot of changes. These changes generally subside during the second trimester. However, you can notice the changes and forgetfulness speeding up again during the third trimester due to frequent wake-ups, sleepless nights, leg cramps, etc.
Insomnia and fatigue during pregnancy seem to contribute more to cognition issues. Just relate as to how your next day would be after having an interrupted night’s sleep. You probably couldn’t function the next day, right?
Related Reading: 9 Facts To Summarize The Importance Of Folic Acid In Pregnancy
How To Deal With Forgetfulness During Pregnancy?
Being absent-minded during pregnancy leads to forgetfulness during pregnancy. This could range from putting things in strange places, walking to a room, and forgetting the reason you went to the room. It is believed many bodily functions and lifestyle factors can affect your thought process leading to mood shifts and sleep deprivation.
Pregnancy comes with a lot of changes. No one is at their best when they have gone through sleepless nights thinking about a million things. While memory loss or forgetfulness during pregnancy is something that pregnant and postpartum women joke about, there are a few ways through which you can keep them at bay.
1. Write things down
It is advised you maintain a notebook or use your phone to quickly write down or make a note of things you would like to do. You can either do it immediately or later by referring to what you wrote.
2. Store important things in the same places
Use a designated specific spot to hold your important stuff such as keys, mobiles, cash, and things you might need daily. This helps to grab your things quickly, reducing the hassle of searching.
3. Set alarms and reminders
If you do not want to miss important events or doctor appointments, set an alarm on your phone beforehand. You can also use sticky notes to leave an important message. Many daily agenda planners can help you stay more organized.
4. Sleep well
Not having proper sleep could lead to fatigue and exhaustion which is connected with cognitive issues. Try to nap as and when you can. A brain that gets good rest works better. Establish a routine to get rid of your phone for some time and do some breathing exercises.
Even if you do not get into help naps, a quick eye shut for 20 minutes will do the trick. While you are asleep, your brain performs important connections that help in cognitive functioning.
Related Reading: 11 Things You Can Do When Pregnant And Can’t Sleep At Night
5. Eat food rich in omega 3 fatty acids
Eating foods rich in omega 3 fatty acids help in the proper functioning of the brain and are good for brain development too. These are usually found in eggs, fish, flax seeds, etc.
Growing a human being is not a small deal. Though forgetfulness during pregnancy is common, you need not freak out as minor lapses such as forgetting keys do not add much to your cognitive issues. Not only does pregnancy bring about physical changes, but it does also affect your mental health.
Having said so, you need not worry much as forgetfulness during pregnancy will not affect your IQ levels, however, could alter your priorities. These changes will help you to prepare better for the challenges of a new mom. These shifts will make you a sensitive and responsive mother.
The good news about the pregnancy brain is that it doesn’t sustain for a longer period. According to a study, the test conducted between pregnant and non-pregnant women revealed that pregnant women do have forgetfulness during pregnancy and that the scans taken at a later stage revealed that it could last for about two years after delivery.
It is an obvious symptom such that suddenly, you can’t remember things that once flowed off your tongue so easily. You could even forget your own birthday’s important meetings etc. As days go on, you stick on to your routine of doing things that your baby requires. Eventually, your forgetfulness may fade away and you will soon be back to normal.
It is normal to have forgetfulness during pregnancy. Most pregnant women have experienced it in some form or another. Though the pregnancy brain could throw some humor, it could also be frustrating and worrisome when things get worse like missing your prenatal appointment or placing your car keys inside the refrigerator.
There are a few insights that have shown that there could be evolutionary reasons behind this mental fog. The reason behind this is that the pregnant woman forgets about other things, and focuses more on caring for her new baby.
Pregnant women and new moms spend most of their time thinking about the changes their babies will bring to them and their lives. This makes their short-term memory bound to suffer.