How to Deal with Pregnancy Brain

Pregnant woman resting on the couch in a daze

If you are pregnant and have been having days when you are unfocused, seem very distracted or forgetful even about simple things, then you’re not alone. Many women find that they tend to forget certain things and their memory seems to have failed them during pregnancy. This is normal and may be due to all the hormones that are at work in your body.

What is Pregnancy Brain?

Illustration of a visible brain and pregnant woman

Pregnancy brain happens to most pregnant women and causes instances of forgetfulness. Also called as baby brain or momnesia, it is a common occurrence. It isn’t something to worry about and may even have a purpose. It is found that pregnancy brain helps the mother bond with her baby. Studies have found that during pregnancy there is increased activity in the right side of the brain which is associated with emotions, as opposed to the left side of the brain which is linked to logic. This may be in preparation for the mother to help understand her baby’s needs better. It also explains to an extent, why ‘pregnancy brain’ occurs.

Causes

Apart from the fact that the brain is preparing you to bond better with your baby, memory issues during pregnancy have a few other causes.

  • Hormonal changes during pregnancy cause a lot of changes in the body. During pregnancy, your body releases a host of hormones including progesterone, oestrogen, human chorionic gonadotropin (HCG) and oxytocin. These hormones are essential as they signal the brain to enable contraction in the uterus and promote milk production. As they do this, they also affect several neurons in the brain, which may be a reason for the lack of memory.
  • Lack of sleep may also be a reason for baby brain. Once you are pregnant, you will need to make more trips to the bathroom as your uterus will be pushing against your bladder. This means waking up in the middle of the night quite often. To add to this, you will also face constant pain in the form of cramps, heartburn, swollen feet, etc. Sudden hunger pangs may also wake you up at unusual times.
  • Stress, anxiety and the fact that you are carrying all that extra weight around may make your brain extremely tired, which can also contribute to bad memory during pregnancy.

How to Deal with this Situation?

Although there isn’t a clear-cut answer as to when pregnancy brain starts, you can take a few steps to help yourself during this confusing period.

  • Write things down: The minute you think of something that you need to do, write it down so that even if you forget it, you can always check your notebook or phone.
  • Store important things at a specific spot: Keys, phones, and things you need on an everyday basis should be designated to a specific spot.
  • Set alarms: If you need to remember a date or an event, set the alarm on your phone.
  • Take photos: If you go out and park your car, click a photo to help locate your car when you get back.
  • Sleep well: Take naps as and when you can afford to. A well-rested brain may make things easier.
  • Exercise regularly: Follow a routine of approved exercises to keep your memory sharp and keep you alert.
  • Prioritize: Simplify your tasks and prioritise what is important. Try not to do multiple things at once as it will be all the more confusing and will frustrate even more.
  • Seek help from your family: You can always ask your family and partner to lend a helping hand with chores or help you remember certain things.
  • Relax: Stress can make things worse. Relax and accept that this is normal so that your brain isn’t overworked.
  • Include choline-rich foods: Choline promotes the production of a memory formation chemical in the brain called acetylcholine. Eggs, soy milk, nuts, citrus fruits, milk, etc., are a good source of choline.
  • Eat food rich in omega 3 fatty acids: These acids found in eggs, fish, etc, are known to help in the proper functioning of the brain as well as its development. It is excellent for the development of your baby too.

FAQs

1. Is Momnesia a Myth or a Fact?

Momnesia or pregnancy brain is a fact. It is caused due to several reasons, and many women go through this during pregnancy. 

2. What else can Forgetfulness be a Sign of during Pregnancy?

Forgetfulness paired with other symptoms like lack of interest in things, feeling of guilt, having trouble sleeping or excessive sleep, can be a sign of depression. If you constantly feel like your mood is unusually low, reach out to your doctor and seek help.

3. What it Feels like to have Momnesia?

Momnesia may feel different to different women but is most often characterised by memory loss. You may walk into a room multiple times in a day and forget what you went in there for, or you could forget where you have left your things or what you said just a few minutes ago.

Pregnant woman relaxing in nature

Forgetfulness in pregnancy is common and happens to almost every woman. It is important that you remind yourself that it is not your fault and is entirely natural. This can prevent any feeling of frustration during instances when you are feeling unusually low. Pregnancy brain is a short-term condition, and you will overcome it once you deliver. However, it may take a few days after delivery for your brain to settle and memory to return to its original state. Remember not be too hard on yourself and enjoy your pregnancy as much as you can.