There are lots of longstanding jokes around experiencing ‘baby brain’ as part of pregnancy. In a recent ‘first of it’s kind’ study undertaken by Nature Neuroscience earlier this year it was found that being pregnant does in fact change the architecture in a woman’s brain, and that can last for at least two years after she has given birth, and the amount of grey matter decreases in areas of the brain that respond to social signals.
So technically baby brain does exist – but whilst the grey matter in the brain decreases – this is temporary and women tend to become more adaptable and efficient in other areas i.e. knowing what their baby needs and being in tune with their role as a mother.
Symptoms of “Baby Brain”
The first trimester is a very ‘busy’ time for your growing baby. This is the time when all the major organs are developing and a lot of rapid growth happens. It is fairly normal therefore to feel increasingly tired especially if you are working or have other children to care for. If you are experiencing morning sickness, again this would make you feel fatigued also – therefore feeling tired, having a lack of focus and feeling forgetful are perfectly understandable at this stage.
Later on in your pregnancy you will likely continue to feel tired from the growing baby but this is also when your brain alters and grey matter decreases – and it is as this stage that you may find that your short term memory and your ability to focus becomes more difficult – feeling like you have ‘baby brain’. If you find you are feeling constantly down and depressed however – this is not typical in a pregnancy so it is important to speak to your Obstetrician to get help.
Tips to Overcome “Baby Brain”
There are a few ways you can help combat the feelings of forgetfulness by setting up some simple processes:
- Always put things away in the same place i.e. car keys, house keys, handbag
- Write lists of things you need to do throughout the day
- Set reminders on your phone to pop up 30 minutes before an appointment
- Don’t set yourself too many tasks and go easy on yourself
- Lastly, take time out for you – making the post of the time you have before your baby arrives and don’t be hard on yourself if you do forget something.
Dr Ken Law is a trusted Brisbane Obstetrician and Gynaecologist with extensive experience attained locally, nationally, and internationally. He is a passionate obstetrician delivering babies at Greenslopes Maternity, providing women with an individualised experience of pregnancy and birth. He is a leading Gynaecologist in Brisbane, utilising the latest minimally invasive techniques including laparoscopy and robotic surgery to treat gynaecological disorders. Dr Ken Law has special interests in colposcopy for abnormal Pap smears, endometriosis, fibroids, ovarian cysts, and prolapse.