Have you ever walked into a room immediately forgetting your purpose? Imagine that x 10.
Many expecting women report experiencing a pregnancy-induced memory haze causing them to be forgetful.
Pregnancy brain, or “Momnesia”, is said to be caused by several different factors. A flux in pregnancy hormones, lack of rest, and new stress triggers may be contributing factors to this phenomenon.
Dr. Michael Virro, Obstetrician and Medical Director at Cells for Life, recalls patient who relayed a story to him about her ‘foggy brain’. “She and her husband loved to play chess at the end of a hard day. In fact, they played chess 3 – 4 times a week and, until she became pregnant, she routinely won 6-7 games out of 10.” he says. “Once pregnant, however, she won barely 20% of the games no matter how hard she concentrated.” The story goes that she put their chess playing on hold until after the baby arrived – and we couldn’t blame her!
What is the cause?
Louann Brizendine, MD, director of the Women’s Mood and Hormone Clinic at the University of California, San Francisco, says “There is 15 to 40 times more progesterone and estrogen marinating the brain during pregnancy, and these hormones affect all kinds of neurons in the brain. By the time the woman delivers, there are huge surges of oxytocin that cause the uterus to contract and the body to produce milk — and they also affect the brain circuits. ”
Jane Martin, MD, director of the Neuropsychological Testing and Evaluation Center at New York’s Mount Sinai Medical Center, says “When you are not getting enough sleep and are multitasking, nobody’s memory is good,” she says. “You are not cognitively sharp when you haven’t slept well.”
So how do you solve pregnancy brain?
Write everything down. If there’s something you can’t forget, write it down! Whether it’s an appointment, what to buy at the store, or a change in your schedule. leave yourself a little reminder. Create a handy list on your smart phone to refer back to, or if you’re more old school – post-it notes everywhere!
Rest. It’s actually normal for anyone who suffers from lack of sleep to experience memory lapses. If you’re having troubles getting a full night’s rest, take the time to treat yourself to one of these relaxing pampering ideas.
Have a sense of humour about it! Here are some real struggles of #PregnancyBrain:
Walked out of my house, got in my car, started to back out of my driveway only to realize my shoes were still in the house. #pregnancybrain
— Ciara Beitlich (@ciara_beitlich) June 28, 2017
#pregnancybrain is a real thing! Wasn't super great at life before, but this is a whole new level. Mom needs those brain cells, baby girl!
— Catherine Weidert (@cmweidert) June 21, 2017
Left the milk out and out my phone in the frig… #pregnancybrain
— Mary Murphy (@HufflePuffin_) June 15, 2017
Well I showed up at work tonight and found out I'm not supposed to work til tomorrow.. #PregnancyBrain
— Catlyn Hendricks (@Catlynhendricks) June 10, 2017
— Steph (@dmsticdisaster) May 29, 2017