You’ve probably heard about small instances of forgetfulness during pregnancy. If you’re feeling forgetful, absentminded, or just plain out of it, you’re not imagining things. It’s known as momnesia or pregnancy brain. It’s not just any old distraction at work – pregnancy brain is a real thing.
What is Pregnancy Brain?
During pregnancy, you may find it difficult to remember information, focus on tasks, or give complete attention to just about everything. This is sometimes known as “pregnancy brain” or “mum brain” or “brain fog” in general.
Some mothers report forgetfulness, an inability to multi-task, or difficulties remaining focused on a discussion for an extended amount of time during the duration of their pregnancy. Their ability to focus, remember, or multitask before being pregnant appears to have little influence on whether or not you have brain fog.
When Does Pregnancy Brain Start?
Pregnancy brain can start as early as the first trimester of pregnancy, when your body experiences a tremendous rush of hormones. Insomnia, a common ailment in early pregnancy, can also exacerbate this feeling of cerebral mushiness.
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While there is no scientific consensus on when the pregnant brain begins, research and anecdotal experiences from mums indicate that pregnancy brain is most severe in the third trimester. However, other studies have revealed that memory loss and other cognitive issues can start as early as the first trimester of pregnancy.
What Causes Pregnancy Brain Fog?
While the exact reasons for pregnancy brain fog are unknown, there are a few theories that point to the following factors:
Most pregnant women will experience some level of sleeplessness at some point during their pregnancy. Many expectant mothers will experience significant tiredness in the first trimester and may never feel completely rested.
Sleep deprivation might leave you feeling absolutely disoriented. It can have an impact on your mood and memory. When you sleep, your brain forms vital connections that help you comprehend information, so not getting enough sleep could be the reason you’re losing your train of thought.
It should come as no surprise that hormones play a role in a wide range of pregnancy-related ailments.
During pregnancy, your body undergoes a significant increase in numerous hormones such as progesterone and oestrogen, and some doctors and scientists feel that this substantial increase may impair your capacity to think clearly, recall easily, and focus attentively.
When you’re pregnant, it’s safe to assume you have a lot on your mind. You’re going to bring new life into the world, which is both heavy and exciting, as well as completely overwhelming. It’s hardly surprising that you’re having trouble concentrating.
Changes in Brain Structure
A few studies imply that women’s brain anatomy changes during pregnancy. These alterations are likely to last at least six years following childbirth.
Researchers believe that the body is removing neural networks that are no longer needed in order to make the brain more efficient and adapted for motherhood, which may help women bond with and respond to their newborns. They also hypothesise that alterations in brain anatomy may be linked to memory impairment.
Symptoms of Pregnancy Brain
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Pregnancy brain (also known as “mumnesia” or “baby brain”) refers to the cognitive difficulties and brain fog that some women claim to experience during pregnancy and sometimes after birth. It includes symptoms such as:
- memory issues
- inability to concentrate
- difficulty with reading
- difficulty remembering words and names
Clumsy During Pregnancy: It’s More Than Just Brain Fog
Most pregnant women feel clumsier during the second trimester of pregnancy, when their baby bumps start to grow. However, others notice that their coordination takes a hit earlier. But being clumsy during pregnancy is not only attributed to brain fog or mum brain.
Your growing baby bump and loosened ligaments can also shift your centre of gravity, throwing you off balance. In addition, not being able to see past your belly to your feet can also make trips and spills more likely.
So it’s important to be more cautious during this period to prevent accidents and injuries. Avoid carrying objects that will make you lose your balance, always hold the handrails when you’re walking up and down a flight of stairs (hold on to someone especially when you’re in your third trimester) and wear supportive shoes.
How to Cope From Having A Pregnancy Brain?
You can improve your mental sharpness while pregnant by taking some brain-boosting steps.
It can be difficult to sleep properly during pregnancy, but obtaining adequate sleep will refresh your memory and keep you mentally awake. During sleep, your brain can build crucial connections that promote cognitive function, so make rest a priority.
2. Eat healthy
We understand that you may have tremendous cravings and an insatiable appetite during pregnancy, and we support your urge to feed, but we also recommend that you include a few crucial elements in your next meal.
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Certain antioxidant and vitamin-rich diets have been shown to improve brain function. Here are a few to add to your shopping list:
- Eggs. Choline, a vitamin that helps create acetylcholine, which helps calm mood and boost memory, is abundant in egg yolks.
- Blueberries. Blueberries are high in antioxidants, which help battle brain-fogging inflammation and improve communication between brain cells.
- Spinach. Leafy green vegetables are high in vitamin K, folate, and other brain-boosting vitamins and minerals that can help you think and remember.
- Omega-3 fatty acids. Salmon and other fatty fish are high in DHA and omega-3 fatty acids, which aid in the formation of brain cells required for cognition and memory.
3. Drink lots of water
Water is always crucial, but it’s perhaps even more important during pregnancy and postpartum recovery – especially if you’re breastfeeding.
Water is required for optimum brain function. Even slight dehydration can impair your ability to concentrate and completely deplete your energy level, so drink more to perk up.
Regular exercise (with the agreement of your healthcare provider) not only keeps you healthy throughout pregnancy, but it can also sharpen your memory and help you sleep better at night, boosting your alertness during the day.
5. Set reminders
If you’re having difficulties remembering stuff or staying focused, try implementing a few easy mind-triggering techniques.
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A daily agenda planner might help you feel less disorganised and more in control. Set alarms and fill out your calendar on your smartphone. Set up reminders on your phone or computer for essential meetings or tasks. To keep track of critical information, use an app on your phone.
6. Take down notes
Everything should be written down in a little notepad, or an app on your phone. It doesn’t have to be sophisticated; simply having everything in one location makes it easier to recall information. You can also capture photos to save visual notes of important information.
7. Play brain-boosting games
Just as your muscles require exercise to perform at their best, your brain will benefit from a mental workout as well. Crossword puzzles, Sudoku, and other solo activities will rev up your creaking gears. Apps such as Lumosity, Peak, and Elevate also provide innovative tasks that keep your mind engaged.
8. Be kind to yourself
During and after pregnancy, you have a lot going on physically, mentally, and emotionally. Don’t berate yourself if anything escapes your mind or you can’t seem to shake it. When you forget to forgive, attempt to find humour in the circumstance.
The Flipside of Having Mom Brain
Pregnancy brain can cause you to be less than sharp. You may make a few careless errors or momentarily lose your capacity to think clearly, but with time and patience (and sleep), you will regain your quick-witted self.
While “pregnancy brain” might cause spells of forgetfulness, the upside is that these changes can result in more attentive and responsive parents. Some experts believe that these brain changes assist prepare expectant parents for the rigours of caring for a baby, such as enhancing their ability to manage stress while being more alert to their infant’s demands.
Pregnancy brain is real and it’s common among expecting mums. But if you’re always feeling confused and disoriented that it affects your day to day function, do not hesitate to consult your doctor for a more accurate diagnosis and solution.
Here at theAsianparent Singapore, it’s important for us to give information that is correct, significant, and timely. But this doesn’t serve as an alternative for medical advice or medical treatment. theAsianparent Singapore is not responsible for those that would choose to drink medicines based on information from our website. If you have any doubts, we recommend consulting your doctor for clearer information.