Is “baby brain” a real thing? I have never been pregnant however many of my pregnant clients often complain that they feel like their memory does not seem as good compared to pre pregnancy and that they sometimes feel a bit “fuzzy” in the brain. I have noticed this with my pregnant friends and family as well so I thought I would investigate if this “baby brain” phenomenon is actually a real thing or just a perception. Here’s what I found out…..

What does the research say?

Well guess what? Scientists have completed studies that now scientifically prove that “baby brain” is a real thing!

Deakin University analysed 20 research studies that included 1200 women and compared cognitive function between pregnant and non-pregnant women. This analysis was published in the Medical Journal of Australia in January 2018. They also compared cognitive function of pregnant women in the first, second and third trimesters.

Cognitive Function

The research proved that there is a reduction of general cognitive function, memory and executive cognitive function in pregnant women compared to non pregnant women. In addition to this, they found that the cognitive function is worse during the third trimester compared to the first and second.

Potential Symptoms of “Baby brain”

The studies showed that the symptoms mainly included

  • mild forgetfulness
  • some difficulty multi-tasking
  • poor concentration.

What is the cause?

The scientists speculate that the grey matter in the brain which is where the neurone cell bodies (brain cells) live are affected and this causes these cognitive changes. However, unfortunately, the scientists do not know exactly why the grey matter is affected. More research is needed in this area.

 

So now that we have discovered that “baby brain” is a real concept, please do not be concerned by it. It definitely does not occur during every pregnancy and the effects of it typically tend to be quite mild and sometimes completely unnoticeable (even if the grey matter is affected). If you would like to read the research study, please feel free to use the reference below.

~ Julia Esposito

 

References:

  • Davies, Lum, Skouteris, Bryne, Hayden, (2018). Cognitive impairment during pregnancy: a meta-analysis. Med J Aust 208 (1): 35-40.