I just started a long term temp job in Edinburgh as a Procurement Officer for a Defence Company back in 2012 and I was learning the day to day tasks for a colleague I was going to cover for whilst she was off on maternity leave. She was going through her tasks with me but unfortunately, she couldn’t remember some of the things she did and blamed it on the fact she was pregnant and she said she had ‘baby brain’. Sometimes she would say her head was up her arse relating to a mixture of pregnancy brain and not knowing what she was meant to be showing me and becoming slightly frustrated. I knew Mums-to-be can become very perceptive and their intuition can become stronger but getting forgetful during pregnancy was new to me at the time. Unfortunately it’s a real condition and it is part of being pregnant.
What causes it?
Research has shown that pregnancy does alter a woman’s brain and it’s not just from a lack of sleep due to the fact it can get a whole lot harder to get a good night’s rest when you are expecting due to things like heartburn, leg cramps, peeing frequently, nasal congestion and all over discomfort which is more common in your 1st and 3rd trimesters and you feel totally zapped of energy which is what your brain needs to stay focused and with all the exciting changes and preparing for the big day can also have an impact on focusing as well.
Research has shown that women’s brains really do function differently during pregnancy, as increased activity associated on the emotional side of the brain occurs to ensure you bond with your baby at birth. Your brain-cell volume decreases during 3rd trimester which explains why women can’t remember what they came into a room for, where they put their keys, can’t remember their phone number, finding car keys in the fridge, can’t find their handbag the list goes on. The good news is it doesn’t last and your brain will return to normal a few months after the baby’s birth.
Is it normal?
Yes, it’s completely normal and it’s quite common, even if you consider yourself an organised person, you may find that you have trouble remembering things but don’t worry, you will have total recall again once you settle into Motherhood.
What can you do when you get a bout of Pregnancy Brain?
Deep mindful breathing exercises may help maintain well-being and can become a routine during your pregnancy journey. The breath is very powerful and can help reduce stress, tension, blood pressure, pain and discomfort.
Write things down
If you need to remember things to do just write it down and leave it in a place where you’ll see it. Or better still, set up your to do’s on the calendar on your phone to keep you organised.
Reduce the number of tasks by delegating them to your partner or family. When possible just ask for help from those around you. Be realistic about what you can do whether its work related or in your social life. Don’t be afraid to ask for help.
Have a Laugh
Let yourself have a good laugh about this stage of your pregnancy, and encourage your partner to do the same. Who cares if you left your headphones in the cupboard?
Start eating mineral rich Choline Foods
Start incorporating mineral rich Choline Foods into your diet e.g. broccoli, sprouts, kale, chickpeas, other beans, pulses, quinoa, mushrooms, potatoes, nuts which are all brilliant sources of choline. Choline is a mineral that will help boost the function of you and your baby’s brain.
Take Omega 3 & 6 Oils
Start taking good quality Omega 3 oil to help reduce the risk of heart disease, help develop your baby’s brain, nervous system and eyes. It also has long term benefits which include:-
- A healthy weight at birth
- Reduces the risk of an early pregnancy
- Reduces the risk of your baby developing eczema later on in life
- Strong healthy bones
Taking Omega 3 also benefits you later on in pregnancy and the first few months after giving birth. Research has shown it may also reduce the risk of prenatal and postnatal depression.
Omega 6 is good for maintaining heart health due to its ability to reduce cholesterol in the blood. Consuming the RDA during your pregnancy will help build up your baby’s stores, ready for life after birth.
Book a Pregnancy Massage
Not only is pregnancy massage great for easing back pain, tension, anxiety it also stimulates different hormones, improve joint function and increase circulation and clears the mind and help you to relax and get a good nights rest. All of these changes have a very positive impact on a soon to be Mum’s body which often leads to an easier pregnancy and a healthy birth.
Pregnancy haze can develop during the first weeks to months after you give birth. Postpartum fatigue may occur but with regular postnatal massage, eating well, and getting as much rest as possible when you can, this too shall pass. Getting enough rest is the key to postpartum recovery.