Women's Healthcare Topics

Pregnancy Brain - Forgetfulness in Pregnancy

Reviewed by James Brann, M.D.

Pregnancy Brain

Are you having trouble remembering things these days? Do you find yourself easily distracted? You aren't alone. Forgetfulness during pregnancy is quite common, especially in the first and third trimesters. This phenomenon is called "pregnancy brain."

When you're pregnant, you may be in the middle of an important conversation, and you suddenly forget what you were talking about. Or you're on the way to the kitchen, and when you get there, you forget why you went there. You may even forget important meetings and appointments. It can be frustrating to feel so forgetful, but it's just another side effect of pregnancy.

What Causes Forgetfulness in Pregnancy?

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Experts aren't sure exactly what causes "pregnancy brain," but hormones are thought to play a role. Emerging research suggests that pregnant women have trouble with spatial recognition memory - which is your ability to locate and know where things are in your world (or environment).

Researchers who study spatial recognition memory in pregnant women found that expectant mothers had a more difficult time learning rules and planning to move objects within a space. In addition, pregnant women couldn't remember if they had seen past patterns or locations. The scientists also discovered that pregnant women had higher levels of depression and anxiety - which improved after the baby was born. This suggested that hormonal fluctuations might be to blame for "pregnancy brain."

Other Theories about Absentmindedness When Pregnant

Being absentminded when you're pregnant might also result from your pregnancy symptoms.

In the first trimester, you may find that you're easily distracted by the prospect of having a new baby, or you might be nervous about the health of your baby. The fatigue and morning sickness that plagues you in the first 13 weeks of pregnancy can also contribute to your fogginess and forgetfulness.

The "pregnancy brain" typically gets better in the second trimester, since you're feeling much better and the annoying first trimester symptoms go away. But when you reach the final trimester, you will find that your tendency to be more forgetful returns.

Your pregnancy brain in the third trimester may be a result of the overwhelming anxiety that you feel about your baby's impending delivery, or sheer exhaustion, especially since your fatigue has come back and it becomes harder to sleep at night (due to your huge belly getting in the way).

How Can I Cope with Pregnancy Brain?

Learn about pregnancy brain, forgetfulness in pregnancy.

Although being so forgetful may be frustrating, once you deliver your baby and become settled into your role as a mother, you will regain your concentration and feel less forgetful.

In the meanwhile, you should write everything down. Create a grocery list of items you need around the house; keep a planner for important meetings and appointments; use alerts and reminders on your cell phone. If you're organized and write everything down, there is less chance that you'll forget something important.


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