Pregnancy marks a period of remarkable change in a woman’s body. On top of the normal physical changes, pregnant women regularly report that bringing a new being into the world seems to have a major impact on their brains.
If you’re feeling absentminded, forgetful, or just plain out of it, you might be experiencing a phenomenon called “Pregnancy Brain.” But is a pregnancy brain real, or it’s just a myth? Let’s dive in to understand the science behind it.
What is Pregnancy Brain?
Pregnancy brain is not an official medical condition; it’s a colloquial name for some symptoms experienced by some moms-to-be at a particular point during pregnancy. The severity and symptoms vary from woman to woman. When the symptoms hit, at times all at once, they may throw you off balance, especially if you’re dealing with the physical and lifestyle changes that already come with pregnancy.
Symptoms Associated with Pregnancy Brain
Here are some of the signs that you may be having a pregnancy brain:
- Mood swings
- Memory disturbances and lapses which are mostly caused by sleep issues
- Absent-mindedness and forgetfulness
- Reduction in spatial cognition
- Poor concentration
- Problems falling as well as staying asleep
- Reading comprehension issues
- Poor cognitive performance in some instances
Are There Studies Showing That Pregnancy Brain is Real?
Yes! Researchers at Deakin University conducted meta-analysis studies including more than 700 pregnant women and 500 non-pregnant women. The research found out that pregnant women displayed poorer cognitive functioning and also memory and executing functioning, although these changes didn’t impact factors like—job performance. Additionally, these changes were only noticeable by the close relations and the pregnant women themselves.
Causes of Pregnancy Brain
Here are some of the possible causes of pregnancy brain:
Hormones are a major player when it comes to all types of pregnancy-related conditions. Your body experiences a key surge of different hormones such as estrogen and progesterone—and some scientists and doctors believe that this spike can affect your ability to recall easily, think clearly and focus mindfully.
Stress and anxiety
Increased levels of stress and anxiety associated with becoming a mother may also play a part in contributing to pregnancy brain. Often, anxiety levels seem to increase as the pregnancy progresses, and the stress levels seem to rise further post-birth. Once you receive your bundle of joy, the first few months may be particularly stressful and demanding. When the increased stress levels combine with the learning curve of being a new mother, it can easily result in an overloaded brain.
At a particular point during pregnancy, several women experience some degree of insomnia. A number of them tend to suffer from severe exhaustion in the first trimester and may never feel fully relaxed. Additionally, early nagging symptoms like leg cramps, nausea, and heartburn may keep you from getting the slumber you need so desperately.
Other pregnant women may experience difficulties in sleeping soundly later in pregnancy. Getting a comfortable position may be nearly impossible since the pains, and aches may be constant, and you might be getting up to pee after every half an hour.
Sleep deprivation may also make you feel entirely out of sorts. It may impact your memory and mood. When sleeping, your brain tends to make critical connections that help you process details—so losing all those crucial connections may be the reason you’re also losing your train of thought.
Physical changes in the brain
Some studies, including a 2016 study, suggest that women experience undeniable changes to their brain structure during pregnancy. Some of these changes may last for a minimum of two years or more after giving birth. The research says that this could be a way through which the body is clearing up space to make the brain more specialized and efficient for motherhood, which helps the mother to bond well with their children. It also further speculates that the changes in the brain may be associated with impaired memory.
How to Treat Pregnancy Brain
Devote your time and effort to a healthy diet to give your body everything it requires to continue supporting your unborn child. Take foods that are high in vitamins and antioxidants, such as blueberries, Omega-3 fatty acids, spinach, eggs, and much more.
Physical activities offer several benefits to your body during pregnancy, but one key is that it helps increase blood flow throughout your body, including your brain.
Sleep can be entirely elusive, especially in the early postpartum weeks and months. Trying to relax your body and calm your mind can help cultivate a more restful environment. Additionally, sleep can help your memory by introducing new information, recollecting events, and making memories stable. When all fails, you can try shorter naps whenever you have an opportunity.
Get fresh air
Getting some fresh air can help clear your mind of all the cluttered thoughts as well as make you feel more clear-headed. Leaving your usual surroundings or heading outside can cause your brain to focus on new stimuli, boosting your alertness.
Be kind to yourself
You have a lot going on mentally, emotionally, and physically during pregnancy; afterward, your baby is born. Do not beat yourself up when a thing skips your mind or if you can’t snap out of it. Embrace forgiving yourself when you forget, and try to find humor in the situation.
Ask for help
You don’t have to do everything yourself; you can delegate some of your duties. Learning to seek and accept help before the baby arrives saves you so much time as well as trouble later.
Drinking enough water can help improve brain function as well as elevate your mood. Your brain needs a lot of water to function properly. Any form of dehydration can have a severe impact on your ability to zap your energy level totally and concentrate — so, take enough water.
If you have issues maintaining focus or remembering things, set yourself up for success by setting reminders on your phone or list all that you’re supposed to do in a notebook or sticky notes.
Speak out loud
It might feel or seem odd to announce reminders or tasks aloud, but at times, saying those things can help enhance your likelihood of remembering compared to keeping the thoughts in your head.
Play some brain-boosting games
Fun and other brain-boosting activities such as crossword puzzles and Sudoku can help you stay alert, even in your downtime. Anything that keeps your mind going is a great way to stay sharp and at the top of your game.
Changes in your brain during pregnancy might lead to some attention and memory difficulties, but these changes mostly appear to have some crucial benefits. So if you ever find yourself feeling inattentive or forgetful during pregnancy, don’t worry; you are not going crazy. You’re just building up a brain that will be more responsive to the several demands of parenting.
Are you worried about how to take care of yourself during the pregnancy brain? Worry no more! Binto has got you covered. We’re always ready to help you by ensuring that you get all the required body supplements with much ease. In addition, our health consultants are ready to attend to all questions about your overall health.
Get in touch with us today, and let’s successfully help you every step of the way.