We Take a Look at Why We Get Pregnancy Brain…
‘Where did I leave that?’ – Pregnancy brain affects most ladies – so don’t think you’re going crazy!
Putting the milk in the cupboard and the cereal in the fridge? You’re not alone – about 80 percent of new mother’s report difficulties in remembering things that usually come naturally. So what is pregnancy brain?
You may have had those moments of ‘what did I just walk into the kitchen for?’ ‘did I leave the oven on?’ or the classic ‘I’ve left the house with my slippers on again’ – but don’t worry…with baby brain comes important enhancements.
A study shown in rats and pups showed that they scored high in tests of foraging, attention and general planning – meaning they’re better able to defend their young.
When it comes to humans this is a little less clear, but recent data has shown that expecting mums go through a restructuring in the neurons, and women have shown changes in several regions of the brain. They often showed changes in the hypothalamus, amygdala and striatum – the areas which are key for emotional regulation, decision making, protective instincts and parental motivation.
What Causes Pregnancy Brain?
The usual suspect and main cause of anything in pregnancy…hormones! This can of course come hand in hand with a lack of quality sleep and being overwhelmed by all the exciting things going on around you! Lastly, believe it or not your brain-cell volume actually decreases during the third trimester of pregnancy –not to worry, though, your brain will plump back up a few months after delivery.
What You Need to Know About It
Firstly, forgetfulness is completely normal and extremely common. Even if you pride yourself on your master multitasking skills or your ability to organise even the messiest closet, you still may find yourself having trouble concentrating or remembering your car keys. The good news is it’s also temporary — you’ll have total recall again long before you start to have your “senior moments.”
What You Can Do
Take a deep breath.
Try not to be too hard on yourself. Stress will only cloud your pregnancy brain even more!
Write it down.
If you need to remember something — food to buy, phone calls to make, questions for your practitioner, taking your prenatal vitamin — leave a big note in an obvious place. You might also stash a notepad and pen in easy-to-remember spots like your purse, your car and your bathroom.
Make use of the many apps and organisation tools available to you on your phone, laptop or tablet.
Have a backup system.
Reduce the number of things you need to remember – cut down on what you’re responsible for by delegating some jobs to others. When possible, enlist the aid of those around you who are not pregnant to serve as your backup system. Easier said than done, but worth a go. (You’ll forget about the less important stuff, anyway.)
Have a sense of humour.
Let yourself have a good laugh about this airhead stage, and encourage your partner to do the same. Who cares if you left the car keys in the refrigerator?
Load up on omega-3s.
DHA-rich foods (including pregnancy-safe fish like salmon) are another nutrient that help supports healthy brain function and development – for both you and your baby.
Expect the haze to hang in during the first weeks after you give birth. Postpartum fatigue may take the place of hormones as the primary culprit, but that too shall pass
Most of all - try not to worry ladies...it's such an exciting time and you've got to cut yourself some slack!
Love from all the team at Window to the Womb xoxoxo
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