Are you finding it harder to remember things and in some instances forgetting to do things ever since you found out you were pregnant? Well, it may be because of what is casually referred to as “pregnancy brain” or “mummy brain”.
Pregnancy-induced brain fog is not just a myth but a hallmark of pregnancy. Research even suggests that pregnancy really does alter a woman’s brain. When you suffer from the so-called “pregnancy brain,” you will realize that you forget simple everyday things. These may include appointments, where you left your purse, whether you turned off the stove and, maybe, your phone number.
Pregnancy brain may begin as early as the first trimester of pregnancy and last up until 6 months after you’ve delivered the baby.
So, what causes pregnancy brain?
According to research, there are quite a number of things that can contribute to this condition in women.
Sleep deprivation is one of the leading causes of mummy brain. At some point during pregnancy, most women will experience some degree of insomnia. It could be because of not being able to find a comfortable sleeping position or you could be getting up to pee every half an hour. The list is endless.
As it turns out, physical changes do occur in the brain when a woman falls pregnant. In fact, believe it or not, your brain-cell volume actually decreases during the third trimester of pregnancy. This could be the reason why you can’t remember things or fully concentrate.
And, oh, hormones! The scapegoat of all pregnancy-related problems. Experiencing an acne flare-up? Having mood swings? Sore breasts? Hormones, hormones, hormones. During pregnancy, your body experiences a major surge of various hormones, such as progesterone and estrogen. Doctors and scientists believe that this dramatic spike could affect your ability to think clearly, recall easily, and focus mindfully.
How can you deal with it?
Even though I could tell you to embrace this condition, it is probably the last thing you want to hear. If you’re not the kind of person who just throws in the towel and accepts their forgetful fate, there are some brain-boosting steps you can take:
It sounds easier than done but focus on quality sleep so as to avoid forgetfulness. For quality sleep, take the right measures to ensure that you sleep well like ensure you have a comfortable mattress, a quiet sleeping environment among others. If possible, sneak in a few minutes of nap time during the day to make up for lost sleep during the night.
Write it down
If you have a ton of things on your to-do list, to be safe, it’s better to write it down. You can leave big sticky notes in obvious places around the house to act as reminders. Alternatively, you can also have a physical notepad or rely on google reminders on your phone.
Take it easy on yourself
Getting worked up over the fact that you can’t seem to remember things only adds to your stress and anxiety and can make your pregnancy brain worse. Try not to be too hard on yourself. Console yourself over the fact that it is normal.
Ask for help
The normal things you do on a daily basis may be too much to do once you’re pregnant. Therefore delegating some of these jobs to others will reduce the amount of stress you have on your mind. It doesn’t hurt to enlist a household help or asking your partner to help you out.
Eat omega-3 rich foods
Omega-3 rich foods help support healthy brain function and development for both you and your baby. Therefore, include foods that are rich in this nutrient such as salmon, leafy green vegetables, walnuts and omega-3 supplements.
Play brain-boosting games
Just like your muscles need exercise to reach peak performance, your brain will benefit from a mental workout, too. Crossword puzzles, Sudoku, and other solo games will get your creaky gears going. Apps like Peak, and Elevate also offer clever activities to engage your mind.