New Study Says Pregnancy Brain Isn’t Real

When I was pregnant, my husband liked to joke that I was the clumsiest person he had ever seen.

“Pregnant fingers” quickly replaced “butter fingers” as a lovely term of endearment. (Side note: remind me to thank him later.) I couldn't seem to grab anything without dropping it — a trait that caused a rather unfortunate incident involving a display of sunglasses at the store …

And while we both noticed the physical clumsiness apparently caused by my pregnancy, I could swear to you that I also had a severe case of mental clumsiness as well.

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“Pregnancy brain” and its close cousin, “mommy brain,” is a series of symptoms long claimed by my fellow pregnancy sisters classified by extreme forgetfulness, such as walking into a room only to forget what you went in for, trailing off in the middle of sentences, and falling into daydreams. Also see sleepiness; exhaustion.

I'm not alone in experiencing “pregnancy brain,” and still, a lot of days, “mommy brain,” but now a new study is saying that all that forgetfulness is apparently all in our heads.

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Image via Flickr/ anna maria liljestrand

According to a study by Brigham Young University, pregnancy brain has officially been debunked. A team of neuroscientists studied 21 pregnant women and tested their mental abilities, such as how well they were able to use their memories with everyday tasks, such as making a shopping list or remembering where their car was parked with visual and spatial remembrance.

The team tested the women both while they were well into the third trimesters of their pregnancies and again between three and six months postpartum.

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Interestingly enough, the results revealed that the women did not suffer any memory impairment at all, but when they gave their own self-evaluated results, they reported that they had a harder time remembering things while pregnant. They also compared the results to non-pregnant women and didn't find any difference.

Although the study didn't find any real cognitive impairment during pregnancy, the researchers did admit that fatigue and stress — both caused by motherhood, of course — could be a factor in forgetfulness.

Yeah, you think?

I don't know. In this case, I would say that these scientists may need to take a walk in a pregnant woman's shoes because there is a lot going on up in our brains when we're growing another human being and then raising said human being. So whether it's backed by science or not, I know my “mommy brain” is definitely real.

I think. Maybe I'm forgetting, though …

What do you think? Did you feel the effects of pregnancy brain? 

What do you think?

New Study Says Pregnancy Brain Isn’t Real

Chaunie Brusie is a coffee mug addict, a labor and delivery nurse turned freelance writer, and a young(ish) mom of four. She is the author of "Tiny Blue Lines: Preparing For Your Baby, Moving Forward In Faith, & Reclaiming Your Life In An Unplanned Pregnancy" and "The Moments That Made You A Mother". She also runs Passion Meets Practicality, a community of tips + inspiration for work-at-home mothers. ... More

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7 comments

  1. Profile photo of Adriane Adriane says:

    Sometimes science is great, sometimes it’s got nothing on true experience. How about they study me while I’m trying to think of a word for 5 min, 8 months post partum.

  2. Profile photo of serena serena says:

    Science is falsifiable. 1 study on only 21 women, carried out in the 3rd trimester? I suggest more research on a larger group all throughout pregnancy.

  3. Profile photo of BillyJ BillyJ says:

    *Experience is “the proof of the pudding”!! *”Studies do NOT necessarily prove anything!! *”You have to experience pregnancy to appreciate sharing one’s body with another living being”!!! *So states a “mother of four (4)”!!!

  4. Profile photo of Anitakash Anitakash says:

    There was a study that showed shrinkage of the women’s brain with MRI during pregnancy. The brain returns to ‘normal’ six months post partum. If this is true, the study done in this article did not test the women past six month partum therefore there wouldn’t be a difference in memory.

  5. Profile photo of anacarina anacarina says:

    WHATEVER!!! I never could remember anything!!! NOT EVEN A GROCERY LIST! so this is crazy lol but I did remember I was pregnant lol

  6. Profile photo of Ashley Ashley says:

    I am currently 16 weeks pregnant and pregnancy brains has just kicked in. Whether or not its from our hormones or cause from stress and fatigue. The struggle is REAL.

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