4 Ways to Overcome Baby Brain
Pregnancy does not bring out the smartest part of me. From misplacing my keys to forgetting my own address, baby brain is a real thing in my world.
Real talk, people! I was getting ready for work one morning, collecting my breakfast and lunch items and filling up my beloved “Mom” Tervis Tumbler with water. I looked around for the pink lid — I swore I was just holding it! — and after a quick search around the kitchen, I grabbed a different lid. While I was cooking dinner, I found it … on the second shelf of the fridge.
The first time around, baby brain was a little concerning, but with my current pregnancy, I just know it's one of the lovely aspects of impending motherhood. When I mention my forgetfulness to other moms, I get the same types of responses. “Yeah, baby brain is a killer!” “The same thing happened to me!” “Momnesia — and it doesn't get much better after the baby is born.”
While moms can confirm that the forgetfulness is real for them, researchers have found that pregnancy does not cause women to have memory lapses. Helen Christensen, PhD, lead researcher for the 2010 Australian study, found that when pregnant women focus on a task, they perform just as well as their non-pregnant counterparts. “Women may have memory lapses and change their focus to children and upcoming birth,” Christensen said. “This does not mean they have lost their capacities.”
This may be comforting to some, but it doesn't give any explanation for, say, leaving your house in slippers because you forgot to change into real shoes. When it comes down to it, “baby brain” is a result of a variety of factors. Here are a few ways you can combat baby brain and maintain your sanity — at least until the baby arrives. (And then there's a whole new level of insanity!)
Make a List
It may seem simple, but keeping track of daily tasks can help you compose yourself, keep you on a schedule, and ensure that your daily tasks are completed. Part of baby brain is perception, so being able to visualize your tasks and physically mark them off when they are completed can help keep the forgetfulness fog at bay.
Not only is exercise during pregnancy a good idea for both your body and your baby, but it can also help your memory become sharper.
Researchers have found a link between light strength conditioning and endurance exercise and an improvement of memory. Light exercise can also give you an endorphin boost that blasts away stress — stress that can cause you to lose focus.
Eat Brain-Boosting Foods
We talk about good foods for baby's brain development, but did you know some of these same foods could help improve your own mental sharpness? Adding foods that are high in DHA such as salmon, eggs, walnuts, and cranberries can help you improve memory function.
So indulge in that morning omelet, grab a snack mix with walnuts and cranberries, and have some salmon on the grill for dinner. It's good for you and for your baby.
Sleep It Off
Telling a pregnant woman to get a good night's sleep is like telling the sun to stop shining for a few minutes, but getting a good amount of shut-eye can help you wake up refreshed.
Memory has three functions: acquisition (introducing new information into your brain), consolidation (making the memory stable in your brain), and recollection (being able to access the memory after it's been stored). Sleep helps pull all three of these functions together. Check out some tips for sleeping like a baby while you're carrying one!
Have you found yourself suffering from baby brain? Share your stories in the comments!