Mother and Baby

Pregnancy Baby Brain: What’s Really Going On?

Section: Mental health

Baby brain is a term bandied around loads during pregnancy, but experts are still divided over the reason behind it

Forgetting where you’ve parked. Losing your keys. Not being able to concentrate on that Law & Order episode.

The idea of baby brain in pregnancy and new motherhood is a pretty longstanding one, and can be a pretty nifty excuse for anything from forgetting to pick up the dry cleaning to zoning out during a meeting. But, the jury’s definitely still if your memory is actually affected when you’re expecting – or if it’s just another bit of pregnancy folklore.

What experts say about baby brain

Some scientists have suggested that hormonal, physical and emotional changes in pregnancy get you prepared for your baby, but this could come at the expense of your memory or concentration where other things are concerned.

However, Australian research in 2010 pretty much dismissed the idea that anything actually happens from a cognitive point of view, and credited any absentmindedness to the fact that your focus is simply pretty split during pregnancy and you’re suddenly thinking about a whole load of new things.

‘You’re having to prioritise a whole new area of your life and get ready for having your baby alongside work and your relationships,’ says psychologist Sandra Wheatley. ‘No wonder arguably less important things slip from time to time.’

How to beat baby brain

Whatever the reason, if you find yourself struggling with pregnancy or new mum forgetfulness, you can beat it.

‘Get into the habit of leaving things in the same place every time, stay on top of appointments with a diary or kitchen white board, and give your partner the responsibility of certain tasks or things to keep track of,’ says Sandra.

‘Don’t be afraid to get people involved – if your mum wants to come along to a midwife appointment or scan, ask her to remind you of the date and time a few days before.’

Most of all, don’t worry about it. You’re focussing on the most important thing right now – your baby – and who can blame you for that! In the meantime, try some simple memory tricks to get over baby brain.

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