Did you forget your keys? Maybe your pregnancy brain is to blame…
“Pregnancy brain” or “mommy brain,” is one of the most universal symptoms of pregnancy. It impacts women often as early as their first trimester and lasts well after the arrival of the baby. Common experiences include forgetting and losing keys, forgetting why you’ve walked into a room (or the store, or the car, or your boss’s office) for, and not being able to place a person or remember his or her name. The good news is that it is 100% normal and even common. There are even ways you can adapt and adjust to cope with it.
What causes pregnancy brain?
What causes the dynamic of feeling foggy and forgetful is still being researched, but there is little to no debate about whether or not it occurs. Here are a couple of theories around mommy brain.
- Changes in the brain: Some recent research suggests that the grey matter in a woman’s brain is altered after the birth of her first child. The conclusions are still being examined but would point to a change in the way a woman operates after she begins having children.
- Sleep deprivation: It is well known that a lack of sleep quickly leads to difficulty concentrating. If you didn’t experience pregnancy brain during your pregnancy but you do after the baby officially joins the family, this could be the reason.
- Shift in priorities: When you rapidly shift your priorities to focus on things you aren’t used to, it is completely normal that you may forget other things. The brain can only take so many to-do lists at once!
- Evolution?: If you continue to read up on pregnancy brain you will see many experts suggesting that it may be part of an evolutionary process that encourages the new mother to focus more on her baby.
- Stress: Let’s face it; between the decrease in sleep to the sudden physical changes and the knowledge that your family will be gaining a member, pregnancy can be stressful, and new parenthood even more so. People experiencing high levels of stress commonly report forgetfulness.
Coping with it
Whether or not there is “science” to back it up, the experience of being forgetful among pregnant women and new mommies is so common that it is worth acknowledging and treating. Once you recognize that it is starting to happen, there are a few measures you can take to cope with it.
- Organize your handbag: Think of all of the important things that you need with you (and your baby if he/she is here) and make a place for everything. Stock up on pencil bags, a colorful keychain for the keys, and anything else you can think of to remember it all. This will also save the stress of searching for things hiding at the bottom of the bag.
- Discover the joy of list-making: Start carrying a cute notebook with you everywhere and writing it all down. You may have fun discovering the various aspects of your life that you can fit into a list.
- Don’t judge yourself: If you forget something or do something a bit silly, try to laugh it off the best that you can. Try to remember that this is one of the most common pregnancy and post-birth symptoms and that it is temporary. Also, remember that those around you understand.
- Get digital: Use that smartphone! Set reminders, timers, and notifications of all types. Set reminders for recurring tasks, do your shopping online, and use that GPS.
- Forget photographic memory, take photos instead: Get in the habit of taking photos of things you want to remember. Whether it’s your parking spot or a book you want to buy for your child’s library, screenshot and snap it all.
Caring for your body when you have pregnancy brain
- Walks: Discovering the joy of walking during pregnancy and post-baby can be a joy. It will help you clear your head, give you space to think about things weighing heavy on your mind, and relieve stress. It may even help you sleep better.
- Enjoy your Omega 3s: Eating Omeg3-rich foods during pregnancy has many benefits. One of the benefits is improved cognitive function, which will go a long way right now. It is also believed to help fetal development, so it is good for the entire team. While salmon is a well-known Omega3 superfood, other foods high in the vitamin include chia seeds, walnuts, and caviar. Treat yourself!
Let us support you
Would you benefit from some additional support in planning your trip, your labor, or navigating motherhood? After Third is a village of providers who want to work with you during this exciting time. Sign up on AfterThird to get access to wonderful services and support in your neighborhood. Let us help you figure out what you need.