Do you find yourself forgetting where you’ve parked your car? Can’t remember what you had for breakfast, or where you left your keys? If so, you may have momnesia – or pregnancy brain. Can you relate? Here’s the science behind this phenomenon and what you can do to stop it from affecting your day-to-day life.
The science behind pregnancy brain
In 2010, the Australian National University in Canberra published a study in The British Journal of Psychiatry that found no structural changes in the brain of expectant moms. However, in an interview with WebMD, lead researcher Helen Christensen acknowledged that pregnant women do experience high rates of forgetfulness.
While their brains are still capable of remembering, the emotional anxiety and sleeplessness that often occurs throughout pregnancy can affect memory. Furthermore, pregnant women have high levels of estrogen and progesterone, which are known to affect the nervous system.
“These hormones [estrogen and progesterone] affect all kinds of neurons in the brain,” Louann Brizendine, director of the Women’s Mood and Hormone Clinic at the University of California, San Francisco told the source. “You only have so many shelves in your brain so the top three are filled with baby stuff.”
Tips to boost your memory
You can use your forgetfulness as an indicator that you need to simplify your life before your baby arrives. Once a newborn joins your family, your schedule is going to become much more complicated and hectic. You can develop organization habits now that will help you later on.
- Write it down: Whether you download an app for note-taking or use good old-fashioned paper and pencil, keeping a running list of your responsibilities will keep you on-track.
- Watch what you eat: A well-balanced, healthful diet with plenty of good fats and protein may help improve brain functioning. Talk to your doctor or midwife about taking fish oil supplements too. They’re good for your brain and baby’s too.
- Get moving: Regular and gentle exercise will help reduce stress, clear your mind, and give your brain a much-needed boost. As always, be sure to get your health care provider’s permission first.
- Hit snooze: Try to get as much sleep as you can, which is admittedly difficult for parents. Nonetheless, adequate rest is a large component of minimizing forgetfulness.