Ah the joys of pregnancy. Nausea, insomnia, gas, peeing a little when you laugh… and what was the other thing? Oh yes, losing your memory.

Don’t worry ladies, science has our back on this one. New Australian research proves that baby brain is totally legit.

According to a Deakin University study, baby brain is not only a real part of pregnancy, it happens to four out of every five pregnant women.

Associate Professor Linda Byrn, Deputy Head of Deakin’s School of Psychology, says it certainly is a real thing:

“It’s that experience where women who are pregnant are forgetful, or maybe they just feel like they’re mentally not as on the ball, but it’s definitely a real thing that many pregnant women experience,” she tells the Medical Journal of Australia (MJA).

The Science Confirms it

The baby brain research looked at 20 different studies involving 709 pregnant and 521 non-pregnant women. It found that “overall cognitive functioning was poorer in pregnant women than in non-pregnant women”.

So if you’re pregnant and you weren’t using baby brain as an excuse before, you now have a legitimate reason to do so. And you’ll still look super smart because you can quote an actual study!

Professor Byrne said : “If you ask a pregnant woman whether she’s experiencing problems, [the response is] very high, but we know from the research it affects probably about 80% of women.”

Lauren and baby Austin Baby brain in pregnancy
Lauren says she had baby brain whilst pregnant with Austin

Lauren gave birth to son, Austin, five weeks ago and tells Mum Central she can vouch for baby brain.

“I was trying to find my ‘save our sleep’ book recently. After searching and searching for a few days I rang my sister and asked to borrow hers,” she says.

“A week later I found my copy… on the bookshelf where it belongs….and where i looked numerous times before I called my sister.”

Nothing to Worry About

But just how bad can it get? Prof Byrne says these changes to your brain are nothing to worry about.

“It would be obvious to the women themselves and the people very close to them. So if the woman’s partner knew how they functioned normally, then they might notice that they are a lIttle bit more forgetful,” she says.

If you hadn’t already noticed it yourself, the baby brain research found that the main thing affected is the woman’s ability to remember things (just what you need when you’re planning for a life-changing event!).

Eight-month-pregnant Lucy tells Mum Central she is having serious issues remembering stuff: “I am having to leave notes for myself everywhere I go. I even have to leave one on the front door saying, ‘laptop’, because I’ve forgotten to take it to work with me once already!”

Bonding with Baby

Byrne says this is because there is actual loss of brain matter during pregnancy. But don’t be alarmed,  this is normal and happens through various stages in our life. In fact these changes in pregnancy could be linked to bonding with your new bundle of joy.

“The theory is that during pregnancy, when the brain is being exposed to lots of hormonal changes, that what we’re seeing is the brain is going through some sort of specialisation, getting it prepared to be a mum.”

baby brain bonding with baby

And there’s more good news, the effects are reversible, so you will eventually start to remember stuff again. Unfortunately the baby brain research shows it takes up to two years for things to get back to normal. Still, that’s two years of having a great excuse to not remember anything!

Byrne advises that pregnant woman can minimise the affects with good nutrition, exercise and sleep:

If you’re over the joys of pregnancy, read our tips on how to get that baby out now!

Author

Originally from the UK, but now very much at home on the sunny NSW Central Coast, Sarah is mum to 18-month-old Freddy. When she's not writing, you'll find her at the beach, chasing Freddy at high speed, or drinking tea and eating cake whilst thinking about going to the gym.

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