Ever walk into a room only to forget what you were doing? Can’t remember what groceries you need anymore? You might be suffering from a case of “momnesia”, “mommy brain”, or “pregnancy brain.” Pregnancy changes not only the body in profound ways, but also the mind—and the changes can last for years!
Many women report forgetfulness and feeling sluggish during pregnancy and about a year afterwards. This is likely due to sleep deprivation, and the forgetfulness subsides once the moms adjust to their new lives. Pregnancy hormones can also cause havoc on women’s lives.
Fight forgetfulness by keeping a daily calendar or planner to manage your daily tasks. Carry a notebook around with you, and make a note if you need to remember something. Get as much sleep as you can, eat a healthy diet with plenty of protein and veggies, and exercise regularly. Keeping a health regime will keep you more alert and focused.
Mood swings are a classic symptom of pregnancy, due to stress, hormones, and fatigue. These emotions vary from woman to woman, with some moms-to-be experiencing rapid highs and lows and other women report feeling depressed and anxious. The moodiness usually rears its head around week six to ten and reappears close to the due date. If the mood swings turn into depression, seek help from a therapist. The last thing a stressed, pregnant woman needs to be tormented by is an untreated mental illness!
Research shows that a woman’s first pregnancy brings extensive reductions in gray matter in her brain. This loss doesn’t mean that the women lose intelligence, but rather they are more adept at processing facial expressions and reading emotional cues. These changes likely help women tend to the needs of their baby better. Sorry dads–but fathers didn’t experience the same brain changes the mother does! Researchers found that the more of these brain changes the woman experienced, the more attached to her infant she is.
While pregnancy is hard on the body and mind, the months of moodiness and sleep deprivation will be worth it the minute you get to hold your baby!