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Pregnancy Brain Is Not A Myth! Read On To Know About Momnesia And Ways To Manage It

Have you faced bouts of forgetfulness once you were pregnant? If yes, then you could be having something known as momnesia. Pregnancy brings about several changes - physical, mental and emotional.

The feelings of motherhood are beautiful, but as we all say, "with good things, there are bound to be certain bad ones too". This applies to being pregnant as well. Irrespective of how much happiness the soon to be born baby has brought into your life, you would need to deal with pregnancy-related hormonal issues.

Some of them are tolerable and curable through medicines, while some are quite common and there is nothing much that you can do about it - one such being the pregnancy brain or momnesia.

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Simple day-to-day things such as remembering where you placed a certain item can seem tough at times during pregnancy. All the changes are primarily blamed on the hormonal fluctuations that are common when you are approaching motherhood.

Today, we will explore the following things through this article:

  • What Is Pregnancy Brain Or Momnesia?
  • Is Pregnancy Brain Real? What Does It Feel Like?
  • What Causes Pregnancy Brain (Momnesia)?
  • How To Deal With Pregnancy Brain (Momnesia)?
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What Is Pregnancy Brain Or Momnesia?

Pregnancy brain is known by many names: baby brain, mommy brain, momnesia or pregnesia and is associated with a kind of memory lapse and concentration issues [1]. Pregnancy brain may begin as early as the first trimester of pregnancy. Although clinical tests have shown that there are no such structural changes in the brain when one is pregnant, research hints that functional changes in the brain do occur during pregnancy.

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Pregnancy does not change a woman's brain even though some women don't feel as sharp as usual when they are pregnant. And studies have proven that the capacity of the brain is unaltered in pregnancy.

The hormones fluctuate and cause an alteration in the brain function that results in this temporary ailment. More than 50 per cent of expectant mothers are believed to have faced issues with memory and concentration [2][3]. These functional changes cause you to become forgetful. This is temporary, and you are most likely to have your sharp memory power back once you deliver the baby [4].

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Is Pregnancy Brain Real? What Does It Feel Like?

Pregnancy-related memory lapse occurs when the brain gives up focusing on the neural network. Factors such as stress, sleepless nights and anxiety are also to be blamed for momnesia [5][6].

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Moreover, other behavioural changes such as losing appetite and feeling low or gloomy, linked with memory loss, could be indicating severe other health issues that might have accompanied pregnancy. Even doing the smallest of things can seem like a big task because the abnormal behaviour of the hormone levels affects spatial memory (a cognitive process that enables a person to remember different locations, such as going into the room and forgetting why you are there in the first place [7][8].

Note: Slight memory loss is normal during pregnancy. However, if it is severe, consulting a doctor is recommended.

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What Causes Pregnancy Brain (Momnesia)?

Medical science refers to memory loss as amnesia, and when this happens during pregnancy, it can be referred to as momnesia. Memory deficit is common during pregnancy. Hormones are to be blamed for altering the functionality of the brain during pregnancy (although there is no structural alteration in the brain), as mentioned before.

As studies point out, pregnancy brain or momnesia are caused by the following [9]:

  • Hormonal changes
  • Sleep deprivation
  • Stress and anxiety
  • Physiological changes in the brain

Going by what science says, when one is pregnant, the parts of the brain that are responsible for anxiety, empathy and social interaction appear busy. This is, in fact, to help the mother bond with her baby.

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Ways To Manage Pregnancy Brain (Momnesia)

Doctors have suggested the below tips and strategies to overcome and manage momnesia:

  • Have a diet rich in nutrients such as zinc, magnesium and omega-3 fatty acids that can help manage the symptoms of memory loss [10].
  • Drink plenty of water and make sure you do not get dehydrated.
  • Eat blueberries, coconut, walnuts, tomatoes, whole grains and beetroot.
  • Try to rest whenever possible, and sleep at least 8 hours daily because a sleep-deprived brain never functions properly [11].
  • Exercise or yoga can help you stay stress-free. You can ensure a healthy mind by indulging in mild exercises daily [12].
  • Play brain-boosting games like crossword puzzles, Sudoku etc. [13].
  • Keep things where they belong. Place all items in a particular order at home.
  • If you are finding that your memory is not reliable, start taking down notes on activities that you need to or plan to do.
  • Do not get overworked. Share daily routine tasks with your partner or family members.

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Mnemonic devices can help. When you meet a new person, you usually ask his or her name, but then forget it a little while later. Well, you could find an association which would help you remember the person's name better. Form associations with things that are already present in your built-in memory (for instance, connecting a person's name to that of the name of a flower) [14][15].

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On A Final Note…

Pregnancy brain, as believed earlier, is not considered a myth any longer. So, if you are pregnant and off late facing issues of lost keys, lost wallet, or forgetting why you went to the grocery store - the answer is to relax and blame it on the hormones. These are all common.

If you are a pregnant woman, be assured that the forgetfulness and brain fog that you are experiencing will go away eventually. If you are the spouse, the partner or someone close to the pregnant woman, this article can help you understand what she is going through and be more supportive.

Focus on the happy stages of your pregnancy and make use of the above tips to handle momnesia so that you can take care of your pregnant body in a much better way.

Read more about: pregnancy pregnancy brain causes