Pregnancy-induced brain fog is one of the truest and most frustrating hallmarks of pregnancy. When you start suffering from pregnancy brain, you will begin forgetting appointments, where you left your cellphone, what you just walked into the store for and maybe even your phone number.
Sounds scary, right? Don’t worry – the condition is totally natural and well, with so much to think about in those nine months of pregnancy, it’s best for you to forget a few things.
Forgetfulness or baby brain is completely normal and more common than you can imagine. You may pride yourself on your pro multitasking skills and your ability to stay organized like no one else, but you may still find yourself having trouble remembering things or concentrating on basic stuff. However, there’s good news – the condition is temporary and you will have all your memory back soon.
So what are the causes of all these lapses in thought and memory? Read on to find out!
7 It’s Those Damn Hormones Striking Again!
Oh yes, the number one cause of ‘momnesia’ are those silly hormones again – hormones that are having quality fun in your body at the expense of your memory. Honestly, there are so many ups and downs during pregnancy that can be associated with the fluctuation of hormones. To put it in simple words, most of the goods and bads of being pregnant are in some way or the other attributed to the effects of those raging hormones.
As your body continues to produce extra hormones at an immense speed, it’s no wonder that you will soon start to experience a bit of memory and verbal deficits every now and then. With so much going on in your body, of course your brain is also going to suffer a bit of the side-effects.
During pregnancy and all through the delivery cycle, the most prominent changes and advances made in your body are caused by the hormones estrogen, progesterone and hCG or the human chorionic gonadotropin. Let’s not forget, the thyroid gland also starts working hard as your baby continues to develop and with so many hormones at work, your brain starts experiencing a few side-effects that trigger baby brain.
A few more details
Hormones can take a toll on your blood pressure, cardiovascular system and your brain too during pregnancy. All of the changes that these hormones bring about can put you in a tizzy and make you forget things.
As your hormones continue to multi-task, you and your body will too and with hormones like estrogen and progesterone impacting the neurons in your brain, it is natural for your memory to slow down a little – so stop worrying; this forgetfulness will soon be over.
6 You Sleep Less, You Concentrate Less
That’s right. Lack of quality sleep triggered by several sleep-busting conditions during pregnancy can go a long way in initiating baby brain particularly during the first and third trimesters. Lack of quality shut-eye during pregnancy also tends to zap you of energy – energy that is needed by the brain to stay focused – which is another reason why you may become forgetful. While you’re at it, you’re not the only mom-to-be in this world who suffers from a severe lack of sleep while pregnant.
So if you are suffering from the supposedly logical baby brain, rest-assured that there’s nothing for you to worry about!
Marveling at the wonders of becoming a parent is outright awesome, but the fact of the matter is that you need to go through A LOT to get there – A LOT of totally annoying steps and hiccups that will eat away at your sanity. Having to get up multiple times during the night to go to the bathroom will interrupt your sleep. You will also have to deal with vivid dreams that may avert your sleep.
It’s not a cause for concern
Oh and let’s not forget that nosey restless leg syndrome that will create immense sleep disturbances – how do you think you’ll be able to get a good night’s sleep? You won’t, and in turn, you will become forgetful. You may have been able to fall asleep in an instant before conceiving your baby, but that’s out of the question now.
No matter how irritating it is, forgetting your phone number or leaving the room only to forget why you left countless times a day is not a cause for concern during pregnancy. Your brain’s tired and it’s natural for you to become forgetful.
5 Your Brain Has ‘Other’ Priorities Now
This particularly holds true when you’ve ‘just’ found out about being pregnant and are brimming with excitement. In early pregnancy, you’re going to become forgetful and not be as sharp. To begin with, you’ll be suffering from fatigue, insomnia and the dreaded morning sickness. On top of it all, your head is going to be buzzing with the realization that there’s a new life growing inside you and you will find yourself constantly thinking about all the changes that the future is going to bring to your life.
With so many things to think about and deal with, it is normal for you to become distracted and forgetful. As a mom-to-be, of course you’re going to think non-stop about your developing baby – it’s a sign that your mind is on the right maternal track.
However, there are lots of other things for you to think about as well. For instance, you need to look after your hubby and tend to the countless needs of your older children. Your brain is going to be in charge of all that, but to keep you focused on your pregnancy, the number one priority for it will be your developing baby. With new priorities on your mind, you are bound to become forgetful towards other things.
With countless thoughts of your baby and the days to come on your mind at all times of the day, it is very easy to get distracted. Yes, you’re a pro at multitasking and making decisions, but soon you will find yourself not being able to keep it together when pregnant. But worry not, things will be back to normal soon!
4 Lack of Iron
Iron is extremely important to a woman’s overall health, which is why it’s necessary for women to meet their daily iron requirements religiously. The proper intake of iron becomes even more important during pregnancy. Why so? Because when pregnant, you are going to produce even more blood and this particular mineral is much-needed for the production of hemoglobin. Research suggests that there is a link between iron deficiency and a slowdown in memory and thinking.
Hence, if you suffer from a lack of iron, there is a good chance that you will deal with baby brain too. The consumption of adequate amounts of iron is especially important in the 2nd and 3rd trimesters of your pregnancy. Considering that a lack of iron can add to your chances of suffering from baby brain or forgetfulness, it is best for you to pay attention to your iron intake even before getting pregnant.
This way, there will be nothing for you to worry about in terms of suffering from iron deficiency. For this reason, it’s necessary for you to include a prenatal vitamin in your daily healthcare routine. However, you need to make sure that you don’t ingest more than the recommended dose as it can harm your developing baby.
A few considerations
To enhance your consumption of iron, it’s highly recommended for you to refrain from drinking tea or coffee with your meals as it can impede your body’s ability to absorb iron. For the record, moms-to-be require at least 27mg of iron per day, so make sure that you make meat a part of your daily eating plan. In case you are a vegetarian, have iron fortified cereals, spinach and chickpeas instead.
3 Pregnancy Can Make Your Brain Change Its Size
Sounds unbelievable, yeah? But it’s true. Research studies have suggested that the size of a pregnant woman’s brain gets smaller, particularly in the third trimester. According to British researchers who scanned the brains of ten moms-to-be during their last trimesters and again a few months later after the delivery of their babies, the brain cell volume tends to decrease during pregnancy and then increases again sometime after delivery.
The researchers further suggested that the shrinkage is caused by hormones and the brain can shrink by about 3-5% during pregnancy – and it takes nearly six months after delivery for their brain to return to its normal size. Although the quantity of cells remains unchanged during pregnancy, there is no denying the fact that brain cell volume decreases.
This actually explains women’s loss of concentration and clumsiness while expecting. This condition may at times make you feel like you are living in a totally different world where you have no idea whatsoever about how socks are to be matched – your brain is in a completely different realm. And a major reason behind all of this is that your brain size has decreased.
More fascinating facts
Research studies have shown that while most parts of the brain reduce in size during pregnancy, the pituitary gland tends to increase in size. The reason why this gland becomes larger in pregnancy is because it has to produce higher amounts of certain hormones that are required for the pregnancy to continue and develop.
To deal with this bout of baby brain, it is recommended for you to relax a bit and stay focused on a single thing at a time. While you’re at it, remember that this condition is just temporary and your brain will return to its normal size and functioning soon.
2 Your Baby’s Movement Can Affect Your Brain Too
Believe it or not, your heart rate goes up each time your beautiful baby moves inside you. Generally speaking, your heart is going to function at a rather rapid pace all through pregnancy to ensure that your uterus receives an ample amount of blood. Also, the volume of your blood is going to increase by about 50% during pregnancy – and this increase is going to affect all your organs including the brain.
Every single thing that goes on in your brain during pregnancy is a result of this extra activity during pregnancy. Apart from that, your developing baby and his movement will impact your brain – and this impact is guaranteed to be rather helpful and natural. According to several research studies, moms-to-be experience several changes in their brains during pregnancy and these changes are meant to help them prepare for motherhood – and mother-baby bonding right after pregnancy.
Most interestingly, research has shown that pregnant women typically use the right side of their brain more than the left side. As a result, their sense of emotions and emotional expression reaches new heights. Hence, if you have a bit of a fuzz in your head right now, rest-assured that nature is working hard to prepare you to nurture and look after your precious bundle of joy.
Relax – it will help you for sure
Instead of panicking over your forgetfulness, it is best for you to remain relaxed during this already stressful time of your life. As you try to calm yourself down, enjoy this miracle you are going through. If you start getting overwhelmed, take a deep breath and relax – stressing out is just going to make things worse for you.
1 Is It Time to Seek Help?
Women these days are busier than ever as they run their households and hold hectic jobs as well. When they get pregnant, women work harder to carry their babies to full-term, which makes things like light-headedness, lack of sleep and forgetfulness normal. All of these factors coupled with multi-tasking duties, new priorities and surging hormones are major triggers of baby brain or momnesia – and yes, going through this condition is not a cause for concern.
However, if you find yourself feeling sad or depressed, then it’s best for you to get in touch with your midwife or doctor right away. Yes, baby brain can make you slow down a bit, but in case you have other symptoms such as excessive crying, anxiety, feeling severely depressed and lack of appetite, then you may be progressing towards depression which will only get worse with time.
To put it in simple words, many experts have come to believe that disruptions caused in the brain during pregnancy can lead to severe bouts of sadness and dejection. Although there are many reasons why pregnant women may feel sad, those who have a history of depression are even more prone to baby brain and depression.
Don’t hold back
Instead of forcing yourself to pull through this tough period of time, it’s best for you to seek medical help. Conditions like OCD, anxiety and depression can make an appearance any time during your pregnancy, so if you’ve experienced or noticed certain personality changes in yourself, just get in touch with your doctor right away. Remember, these conditions are real and can have devastating effects, so instead of risking things, seek help instantly.