Science Says Forgetful Pregnancy “Baby Brain” Is Actually Real

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Every pregnant woman has experienced that phenomenon that seems to cloud your brain as your adorable baby bump continues to expand. No, you’re not losing your mind. Baby brain or mom brain might make you feel like a screw is loose, but in fact it is just one more of the challenging side effects of pregnancy. More research confirms what we’ve long suspected that pregnancy brain is 100 percent real.

A new study conducted by researchers at Deakin University in Melbourne, Australia confirmed that cognitive function does in fact decline in women during pregnancy. The researchers analyzed data collected from 20 different studies on the subject of changes in cognition connected to pregnancy. The data used included 709 pregnant women and 521 non-pregnant women. The study concluded that pregnant women had lower overall cognitive function, memory, and executive function than non-pregnant women, especially during the third trimester.

More research is needed to determine how much of an impact this decline has on pregnant women, but as senior researcher Melissa Hayden explains, “These small reductions in performance across their pregnancy will be noticeable to the pregnant women themselves and perhaps by those close to them, manifesting mainly as minor memory lapses (e.g., forgetting or failing to book medical appointments). But more significant consequences (e.g., reduced job performance or impaired ability to navigate complex tasks) are less likely.”

Did you experience baby brain when you were pregnant? Share your thoughts in the comments.

—Shahrzad Warkentin


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