What to Expect When You Always Forget: The Truth about Pregnancy Brain

doctor is using the stethoscope on a pregnant woman's stomach

A lot of amazingly weird things happen when you’re pregnant. One of which is getting a little more forgetful, failing to recall where you put your keys or what you walked into the bedroom for. People call it “pregnancy brain” or momnesia. But is it true that the brain becomes foggier when you have a baby on the way?

What Science Says

As with other things during pregnancy, hormones play a role in your memory lapses. Progesterone and estrogen levels are at a high, influencing neuron activity in the brain and affecting memory. There’s a surge of oxytocin as well during childbirth, as this hormone causes uterus contractions and supply of milk on the breasts. This plays a role in forgetfulness as well.

Experts in Provo add that there’s a decrease in brain cell volume during the last trimester. This is also the time when women commonly encounter sleep problems, given that the bump has grown more huge already. That reduced brain cell volume and lost sleep would really take a toll on the ability to recall things.

In the evolutionary perspective, pregnancy brain is actually necessary for survival, prompting women to forget things so they could focus only on caring for their child.

What to Do

Even though pregnancy brain seems inevitable, there are many ways to manage it. And you should manage it because you don’t want to miss doctor appointments just because you forgot about them. Write important things down. Other than a visit to your clinic, list down tasks to do for the day, groceries to get, phone calls to make, and questions to ask your OB-GYN. Provo doctors recommend leaving a pen and notepad in your bag so you can easily scribble notes when you have something important to remember.

For things you use every day, like house keys and eyeglasses, keep them in the same area always. Make sure that the area is easily seen and reached. It’s also important to get as much sleep as possible. If you’re in your last trimester struggling with a grown bump, use pregnancy pillows to support the bump and your body. Sleep on your left side as well, so the weight of the baby will not stress major veins that facilitate blood flow to your child.

Yes, pregnancy brain is real. But don’t worry, it will return to normal months after giving birth. For now, you can just laugh at your occasional lapses.