Pregnancy Baby Brain: Myth or Reality?

Ask any pregnant woman if she believes ‘baby brain’ is really a thing and chances are she’ll tell you unreservedly that ‘baby brain’ is real. It can manifest as something as small as forgetting why you came from one room into another, where you put your keys, right through to forgetting important appointments. But fear not! It’s not permanent and you’ll get your sharp brain back eventually.

New research done by Leiden University in the Netherlands and Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona in Spain found that brains of pregnant women showed differences compared to those of non-pregnant women and men from the study.

The team in the Netherlands found that women who had recently given birth showed less grey matter in the cerebral cortex. Researchers believe these changes are linked with the attachment between mother and baby as this specific area of the brain is connected to how emotions, actions and feelings are understood and interpreted.

The changes seen in the research were so distinct that researchers were able to look at scans and know if that person had recently given birth. The good news is that it’s good for the mother and for the baby, and pre-pregnancy brain power will return eventually.

Research aside, the hormones surging through a woman’s body and the physiological changes that her body is going though require a significant amount of energy. Interrupted sleep, which is common in pregnancy will also interfere with your ability to concentrate. All of these will affect your cognitive function – your body has bigger things to do than to remember to turn up to your Auntie’s birthday celebrations!

So rest assured – you’re not going mad! It is your body doing exactly what it should be doing, and while it’s annoying at the time, you can console yourself with the fact that shrinkage is all for love of your baby. When they enter the world your brain will be perfectly primed to look after them.

Once your life starts to have a ‘new normal’ element, your brain power will start to come back and losing the keys wont be such a big deal or such a regular occurrence.

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