Is pregnancy brain real

Is Pregnancy Brain Real?

You expect all the physical changes that occur during pregnancy: a burgeoning stomach, swollen calves and - if you are really lucky - pregnancy hemorrhage


You expect all of the physical changes that occur in pregnancy: a budding belly, puffy calves, and, if you're really lucky, pregnancy hemorrhoids. But in addition to these tell-tale transformations, there are also mental shifts and actual physiological brain changes.

If you are feeling forgetful, absent-minded, or just plain uncomfortable, don't imagine things. There is no everyday distraction involved - "pregnancy brain" is a real thing.

And while it can add some humor right now (e.g., if you forget your date of birth on a prenatal appointment, or find you pushed the car keys in the freezer - again!), It can also be frustrating and worrying.

Would you like to understand the science that drives this silliness and get some tips to help lift the fog? We got your back - and your brain - covered.

What is pregnancy brain?

During pregnancy and beyond, you may have difficulty remembering details, focusing on tasks, or getting your undivided attention to almost anything. This is known casually as the "pregnancy brain" or "mom brain".

The brain of pregnancy can begin as early as the first trimester of pregnancy, as your body receives a sharp increase in hormones at this point. Insomnia, a common condition in early pregnancy, can also worsen this state of mental mushiness.

Hoping the clouds clear when the baby arrives is a rude awakening. Hormones will continue to fluctuate after birth and of course sleep deprivation is just beginning.

About 6 months after the birth, you may feel more like yourself as your hormone levels regulate, or it may last into your child's toddler years. Hold on to your thinking hat, it's going to be a wild ride!

What Causes Pregnancy Brain?

An expectant parent will experience various physical and mental changes that can lead to a pregnancy brain. Although anecdotal evidence of transient cognitive decline is strong, research has produced mixed results.

A 2014 study found that while pregnant women and new mothers reported more memory loss and forgetfulness than a control group of non-pregnant women, actual neuropsychological measurements showed little to no difference in brain function between the two groups.

Still, other research - and a hearty dose of common sense - can name some important contributions. At any point in time, the effects of the pregnancy brain are likely to be caused by one or more of these factors.

Hormonal changes

Ah, hormones - the real scapegoat for pregnancy problems. Are You Experiencing An Acne Flare-Up? Mood swings? Sore breasts? Hormones, hormones, hormones.

It's no surprise, of course, that hormones do indeed play an important role in all kinds of pregnancy-related ailments.

Your body experiences sharp spikes in various hormones, such as progesterone and estrogen, during pregnancy - and some doctors and scientists believe that this dramatic spike could affect your ability to think clearly, remember easily, and focus mindfully.

A 2014 study found that pregnant women scored significantly fewer points on Spatial Recognition Memory (SRM) tests than non-pregnant women in the second trimester and beyond. In other words, they had trouble remembering places and spatial relationships between different objects.

So if you can't find your phone, it might not be your fault. It's the hormones to blame - call yourself (assuming you can remember your own phone number).

sleep deprivation

At some point during pregnancy, most women experience insomnia. Many expectant mothers experience extreme fatigue in the first trimester and may never feel fully rested.

Also, early excruciating symptoms like heartburn, leg cramps, and nausea can keep a woman from getting the sleep she needs so badly.

Other expectant moms will find it much harder to sleep soundly later in pregnancy. Finding a comfortable position is an almost impossible task, pain can be incessant, and you could get up to pee every half hour.

Suffice it to say that sleep is limited in these 9 troublesome months and it is only the beginning of this comprehensive roller coaster ride.

Sleep deprivation can make you feel completely uncomfortable. It can affect your mood and memory. When you sleep, your brain makes important connections that help you process information. So if you lose this important zzz, it could be why you are Likewise lose the train of thought.

Stress and anxiety

It is safe to say that you will be very busy during pregnancy. You are about to bring new life to the world - it's hard and exciting and all of a sudden it's totally overwhelming.

You have to make preparations, meet deadlines, and complete tasks. To top it off, you may be dealing with the very real and legitimate fear of childbirth.

So, yes, you have your fair share (and a few more) on your proverbial plate clogging your mental space. It is no surprise that you may have difficulty focusing.

Physical changes in the brain

As it turns out, more can happen at the cellular level, which further drives the pregnancy brain.

A Study 2016 found that there are undeniable physiological changes in the structure of the brain of all women during pregnancy.

Scans showed that pregnant women categorically experienced significant decreases in gray matter volume in areas of the brain that contribute to social cognition. These changes have also been found to occur in parts of the brain that promote relationship building.

This could be the brain's way of making room to make room for maternal bonding. While you may not remember if you brushed your teeth in the morning, it is you become Be ready to cuddle like a she-bear.

Interestingly, follow-up scans have shown that these volume changes can last 2 years or more, meaning that some aspects of the pregnancy brain may persist throughout your child's toddler years.

What can you do about pregnancy brain?

You don't have to throw in the towel and accept your forgetful fate just yet. There are some brain-boosting steps you can take to sharpen your mental sharpness.

Get sleep

Sleep can be elusive during pregnancy and completely evasive in the early weeks and months after giving birth.

If you take a few steps to calm your mind and relax your body, you can create a more restful environment. Set up an evening routine, turn off your cell phone, and do some breathing exercises.

While you sleep, your brain can make important connections that help promote cognitive function. So do everything you can to prioritize rest.

When all else fails, taking a nap can help. Twenty minutes with your eyes closed is enough. A long nap may sound tempting, but you can feel lightheaded as you move into a deeper sleep phase - so keep your afternoon naps short and sweet.

Eat well

You may have cravings and voracious appetites during pregnancy and we support your need for food, but we do Likewise Suggest adding a few key ingredients to your next meal.

Certain foods high in antioxidants and vitamins have been shown to support brain function. Here are a few to add to your upcoming shopping list:

  • Omega-3 fatty acids. Salmon and other fatty fish are loaded with DHA and omega-3 fatty acids, which help build brain cells that are needed for cognition and memory.
  • Blueberries. Blueberries are rich in color and flavor and contain antioxidants that fight anti-inflammatory inflammation and promote communication between brain cells.
  • Eggs. Egg yolks are high in choline, a nutrient that makes up acetylcholine, which helps stabilize mood and improve memory.
  • Spinach. Leafy green vegetables are full of vitamin K, folic acid, and other brain-boosting vitamins and minerals that can help you think and remember.


Drinking water is always important, but arguably it is even more important during pregnancy and your postpartum recovery - especially if you are breastfeeding.

Your brain needs water to function properly. Even mild dehydration can adversely affect your ability to concentrate and completely affect your energy levels. So drink to relax.

Set reminders

When you're having trouble remembering things or keeping focus, a few simple mind-triggering tactics can prepare you for success.

No need to tie a string around your swollen finger - just leave yourself sticky notes with simple reminders and friendly information. A daily planner can help you feel less distracted and more organized. Use your smartphone - set alarms and fill out your calendar.

Play brain boosting games

Just as your muscles need exercise to be at their peak, so too does your brain benefit from mental training. Crossword puzzles, sudoku, and other solo games get your creaky corridors going. Apps like Lumosity, Peak, and Elevate also offer clever activities to keep your mind occupied.

Show yourself kindness

There is a lot going on physically, mentally and emotionally during pregnancy and after the birth of a child. Don't beat yourself up if something crosses your mind or if you can't seem to get out. Learn to forgive when you forget and try to find humor in the situation.

Bring away

Pregnancy brain could make you feel less than sharp. You can make some pointless mistakes or temporarily lose your ability to think clearly, but with time and patience (and sleep) you will feel like your quick witted self again.

In the meantime, realize that there are real mental, physical, and physiological reasons why this is happening. It may even be your brain's way of helping you transition into the all-consuming, utterly overwhelming, and amazingly wonderful world of motherhood. And The is something to remember.