Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Pregnancy Brain is For Real

There is mixed data on whether or not pregnancy brain really exists. Some research suggests that pregnant women are no more forgetful than other women but then there are the pregnancy books and manuals that warn pregnant women to expect it.

Helen Christensen, PhD, of The Australian National University blames being forgetful on being busy, stressed, and short on sleep. She even goes on to say on WebMD that pregnancy also shuffles what gets your attention and that your IQ doesn't change, but your priorities do. I am not buying any of that.

I put my trust in neuropsychiatrist Dr. Louann Brizendine. He states during pregnancy, “the body grows, and the brain shrinks about six percent." It is not known why this happens. There are many hypotheses. One is that there are all kinds of lipids and fats that live in the brain and that the baby takes what it needs literally eating your brain.

It was published in the journal Endocrine Abstracts, that pregnancy affects a woman’s spatial ability, or remembering where we put the car keys. I forget where I put my purse, my phone, and even my shoes. This sounds like a perfectly good explanation to me.

It is hard to think Pregnancy Brain is a myth. I have become more clumsy. I forget people's names that I work with everyday, I mix up words, can't form proper sentences, and just last night I put our leftover chicken in the cupboard. It wasn't until my husband called me out a couple hours later that I realized what I had done.

Helen Christensen and her colleagues could be right, but this doesn't make me feel good at all. That leaves me with no excuse and I have used the pregnancy brain one quite a bit. Certainly momnesia is real. It happened with my first pregnancy, and it is surely the reason for my not so smart behavior now.

The good news is, at least for me and my first case of baby brain, this is temporary. My ability to remember simple tasks, form complete sentences, and put food in the right location all came back after the birth of my beautiful daughter. I am hoping the same will be true after this second child.

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