Pregnancy Brain is Real! Having a Baby Does Affect Your Brain

Scientist confirm what every mom already knows but forgot because we have pregnancy brain.

January 23, 2018
By: Amanda Mushro

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Photo by: iStock


Along with a growing belly and heartburn for days, many moms-to-be find a side effect of pregnancy is an increased forgetfulness, inattention, and mental "fogginess" that has been dubbed pregnancy brain. While moms everywhere have just assumed this is par for the pregnancy course, scientist are now confirming what we already know--pregnancy brain is real and it lasts much longer than nine months.

A new study found that four out of five pregnant women report pregnancy brain symptoms and that it seems the most common during the third trimester. For the study, which is being called the first of its kind, researchers examined the cognitive function of 709 pregnant women and 521 non-pregnant women.

For the test, women were given a series of tasks, including memorizing long digits of numbers. The results found that compared to non-pregnant women, expectant moms performed worse on tasks measuring attention, decision-making, planning and memory. So making another person does eat up your brain--just what I've always suspected.

While scientist have no idea why pregnancy brain is a thing, their theories behind this annoying pregnancy symptom are actually pretty cool.

"An intriguing study published last year showed there were reductions in grey matter in the brains of pregnant women in regions known to be closely tied to processing social information, such as decoding infant facial expressions and establishing healthy bonding between mum and baby," Sasha Davies, one of the study's authors. "This presents a compelling idea that 'baby brain' is actually an important adaptive phenomenon that might help women prepare for raising their children by allowing their brains to adapt to their new role as mothers."

So it turns out, the reason we forgot to grab milk at the grocery store and figuring out the tip on our lunch bill took around 35 minutes, is all so that our brains are adapting to becoming a mom. Weird but really beautiful too, right?

Researchers noted that while pregnant women may not feel as mentally sharp as they used to be, there is no need to worry because pregnancy brain, while annoying, will not affect your day-to-day responsibilities.

As a former pregnancy brain sufferer, I'd really like there to be a study on what happens after the baby is born but all the pregnancy brain symptoms persist. So can we see a mom brain study and what exactly would the cure be for this ailment? Uninterrupted sleep? How about a free babysitter while we go out for lunch and maybe catch a movie? Now that is the kind of healing I could benefit from.

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