Baby Brain: It’s a Real Thing Proven By Science
5th April, 2018
Women that are pregnant go through a lot of changes, both physically and mentally, and such a significant transition does not come without taking its toll. A few weeks ago, we wrote about 6 Common Pregnancy Myths Debunked, to address just some of the rumours associated with pregnancy and put minds at rest. This week, we are reporting on a recent scientific study about baby brain.
We’re sure most of you are familiar with the term baby brain, but for those that aren’t, it refers to the forgetfulness, lack of concentration, poor decision-making or absentminded behaviour of a mother-to-be. It can also be referred to as ‘mumnesia’, and in everyday terms relates to forgetting where you have put something or losing track of what you were doing mid-way through a task. Many choose to dismiss this as an old wives tale, claiming it’s just an excuse to hide their inabilities, but a recent baby brain study has confirmed the concept as a very real phenomenon affecting women all over the world.
Researchers at Deakin University in Australia investigated the cognitive function of 709 pregnant women and 521 non-pregnant women in a unique study, which was published in the Medical Journal of Australia. Women were given several tasks to complete, testing various elements of their brain functionality. To the surprise of perhaps all those who haven’t experienced it themselves, their findings proved that pregnancy affected attention, decision-making, planning and memory. Non-pregnant women outperformed those that were with-child across all these categories during the tests.
Scientists also examined how so-called baby brain can affect women differently depending on how far along they are in their pregnancy. The decline seemed to be apparent fairly early on, during the first trimester, but stabilised towards the middle of their pregnancy. In general terms, the tests revealed that women acting forgetfully or struggling with some everyday tasks is evidentially supported by science, although the effects of baby brain are not thought to have a dramatic impact on everyday life.
Despite these developments in the field, professionals admit there is still work to be done before they can determine why it is that a woman goes through these mental changes and how long it lasts following the birth. One theory follows a study that was published last year to show that the parts of the brains affected by baby brain are close to regions tied with processing social information. This can include decoding facial expressions and the parts that contribute to establishing a healthy relationship between mother and child, meaning nearby parts that control memory are reduced to make way for the upcoming arrival. This suggests that so-called baby brain actually plays an integral role in preparing women to raise their children, as well as adapting to their new role as mothers.
The same study showed that the grey matter that was lost during pregnancy is restored after two years, meaning mothers of older children can’t attribute forgetfulness to baby brain!
There are various methods that can help you cope with ‘mumnesia’, which can be a very frustrating time – particularly if you are usually very organised. It’s important to be kind to yourself during pregnancy, making sure you are not overstressed or overworked in the run-up to baby arriving – redecorating and decluttering can wait! If you find baby brain gets you down, take some time to de-stress and recuperate, be it with a long, hot bath, a walk, putting your feet up with a good book or a delicious home-cooked meal with your partner.
Do you know anyone suffering from baby brain? Send them this article to let them know they are not alone! Once the new addition has made his or her appearance, don’t let baby brain stop you from organising beautiful baby keepsakes of your little treasure before they get too big! Thinking about this ahead of time, perhaps during pregnancy, will lessen the organisation required after the birth, meaning you can capture every line and fold of their adorable hands and feet whilst they are at their daintiest! If you’d like to discuss your options or find out what’s available at Image Casting, please don’t hesitate to contact us today, where a member of our passionate team will respond to enquiries as soon as possible.