Congratulations, you’re pregnant! Cue your brain turning to custard. Forgetfulness and brain fog is so very real for many pregnant women. But is baby brain an ACTUAL THING?
Lose your keys, your phone, forget passwords, put the roast leftovers away in the pantry – it’s these bouts of forgetfulness during pregnancy we put down to baby brain. And aye carumba it’s annoying, but perfectly normal.
SPOILER ALERT: Officially, there’s mixed reports as to whether ‘baby brain’ or ‘pregnancy brain’ is an actual thing. Erm, excuse me?
The jury is out
The results are in, here’s what science says about baby brain! According to the Mayo Clinic, research on the existence of ‘baby brain’ is somewhat inconclusive. “The term baby brain refers to memory problems, poor concentration and absent-mindedness reported by many women during pregnancy and early motherhood.” And by “many women” surely they mean every. single. one. of. us.
Mayo continues to
justify explain their reasoning by saying “A recent review of 20 studies assessing more than 700 pregnant and 500 non-pregnant women concluded that general cognitive functioning, memory and executive functioning were significantly poorer in pregnant women. However, the changes are likely to be noticeable only to the pregnant women and those close to them.”
I can’t help but disagree with science. It was abundantly clear that I was suffering from baby brain when I couldn’t remember my phone number at the hospital, could barely park my car and constantly asked the cashier at my supermarket to show me which way to swipe my card. Frustrating for EVERYONE around me? You bet.
What you need to know
First and foremost, you need to know your mind won’t always be as soggy as cereal and that baby brain will pass, albeit eventually. You’ll be amazed how quickly the mind bounces back when baby arrives. You’ll be listing off every feed in a 12-hour time frame like a boss.
How to survive on the daily with baby brain
Don’t beat yourself up over forgetfulness and complete mind blanks. Stress only adds to a cloudy pregnancy brain and we don’t want that!
2. Write it quick!
Keep a notepad and pen handy in various spots around the house as well as in your handbag (or use a Notes app on your phone) and quickly jot down what pops into your head – be it something as simple as remembering to buy milk or booking upcoming appointments. It’s hard to forget if you write it down.
3. Use your phone alarm
Completely forgot school pick-up? Set your phone alarm to remind you to pick the kids up, turn water hoses off, prevent eggs boiling dry on the stovetop – all of it. Tip: specifically label the alarms you set otherwise you’ll likely forget why you set them in the first place.
4. Reduce the mental load
Delegate jobs where you can. Less things to remember makes for less things to forget!
5. Boost your omega-3 intake
Omega-3 fatty acids help aid memory function so be sure to add foods such as salmon, tuna, sardines, flaxseed, chia seeds and walnuts to your shopping list. Making a conscious effort to eat better during pregnancy, as a rule, will have you feeling much better regardless! If you can’t stomach eating fish or nuts, fish oil supplements fit the brief!
6. Exercise your brain
It won’t hurt to turn your hand to those little brain teaser puzzles to help keep the brain sharp. Everyone’s tuning into Game of Thrones but you’ve got your book of Sudoku puzzles and pretty much living your BEST LIFE. #debatable
Your mind has turned to custard so you may as well have a laugh at some of the things you find yourself doing. Kettle in the fridge, milk in the pantry, forgot your neighbour’s name? We’ve all been there and with any luck, your neighbour will be friendly, no matter what you call him.
Your body is growing a whole other HUMAN, you’re going to need some serious rest. There’s no greater excuse than pregnancy to binge on Netflix, climb into a cosy bed at any opportunity for a cheeky nap or snuggle on the couch with kids or the family dog. Every minute spent resting helps reduce fatigue and exhaustion.
Now that you’ve got all the tools for coping with baby brain in your arsenal, here’s how to decipher what your weird and wacky pregnancy food cravings mean! Not sure what’s true and what’s just a big fat lie? Find out what the truth is behind all those pregnancy old wives’ tales!