4 Surprising Reasons For Experiencing Pregnancy Brain And Tips To Deal With It

4 Surprising Reasons For Experiencing Pregnancy Brain And Tips To Deal With It

21 Apr 2020 | 5 min Read

Sudeshna Chakravarti

Author | 799 Articles

You expect all the physical changes that occur during pregnancy—an expanding belly, swollen hands, and feet, heartburn, and indigestion. But in addition to these telltale signs, your body goes through tons of physiological changes and mental shifts as well.

If you suddenly start experiencing forgetfulness, absent-mindedness, or just feel dazed out, remember. you are not imagining things. What you are experiencing is pregnancy brain or forgetfulness during pregnancy, and let us tell you, it’s a real thing!

While this symptom may offer some humour at the moment, it can be extremely frustrating and worrisome for some (imagine forgetting your doctor’s appointment or noticing you put your hair dryer in the freezer). 

Want to understand the science behind this symptom and get some tips to lift the fog? We have got your back covered with all the essential answers.

What Is Pregnancy Brain?

What Is Pregnancy Brain?
During pregnancy, you may find it difficult to focus on your tasks and recall things easily / Image credit: Freepik

During pregnancy, you may suddenly find yourself struggling to remember details, focus on your tasks, or give undivided attention to just about anything. This occurrence is commonly referred to as “mommy brain” or “pregnancy brain.” 

This symptom may appear as early as in your first trimester when your body experiences an influx of hormones. During this time, you may also experience insomnia, which exasperates this condition of mental mushiness.

In some cases, pregnancy brain is experienced during postpartum too, as your hormones continue to fluctuate, and of course, lack of sleep while caring for your newborn can make it worse too.

What Causes Pregnancy Brain?

What Causes Pregnancy Brain?
The major causes of pregnancy brain include hormonal changes, lack of sleep, stress, and anxiety / Image credit: Freepik

Hormonal Changes

It comes as no surprise that hormones are the major culprits behind all sorts of pregnancy-related discomforts. Your body experiences a major surge of different hormones, such as progesterone and oestrogen, and a dramatic spike in their levels can affect your ability to think clearly, focus, and recall easily.

Sleep Deprivation

At some point during pregnancy, you may experience a certain level of insomnia. Moreover, many mums-to-be suffer from extreme exhaustion during their first trimester, and may never feel fully rested. Plus, several other pregnancy symptoms like heartburn, nausea, and leg cramps may keep you away from getting the slumber you desperately need. 

Additionally, after progressing to the later stages of your pregnancy, you may have difficulty finding a comfortable sleeping position and just twist and turn the entire night. Needless to say, sleep deprivation can cause you to feel completely out of sorts. This is because when you are sleeping, your brain makes critical connections to help you process all kinds of information, and without sleep, it starts to lose its train of thought.

Stress and Anxiety

There’s no denying that you have a lot going on in your mind when you are pregnant. You are about to bring a new life into the world, and it’s normal to feel really excited yet overwhelmed at the same time. You have so many preparations to make, appointments to visit, and tasks to accomplish. To top it off, you might be feeling a legitimate fear of childbirth. 

These stressful feelings and anxiety may clog up your mental space, leading to forgetfulness and difficulty focusing.

Physical Changes In Your Brain

In 2016, Nature Neuroscience published a study that determined undeniable physiological and structural changes that occur in a woman’s brain during pregnancy. It established that during pregnancy, women experience a decrease in the grey matter volume in parts of the brain that helps with social cognition. These changes were also found to occur in areas of the brain that foster relationship-building. 

What Can You Do About Pregnancy Brain?

What Can You Do About Pregnancy Brain?
Hydrate well and consume vitamin-rich foods to stabilise your mood and improve your memory / Image credit: Freepik
  • Eat well: Antioxidants and vitamin-rich foods can help support your brain function and help boost your brain health and memory during pregnancy. For instance, fatty fish like salmon are rich in omega-3 fatty acids that help with enhanced cognition and memory. You can also have eggs and spinach, which are vitamin-rich foods that stabilise your mood and improve your memory.
  • Hydrate: Your brain needs a sufficient amount of water to function properly. Even mild dehydration can affect your ability to concentrate and flush out your energy level. So make sure to drink at least 8-10 glasses of water every day.
  • Set reminders: If you are having a hard time remembering things, then try setting down reminders on your phone. For instance, set a reminder to update your doctor appointments or for your medicines. 
  • Play brain-boosting games: Your brain can benefit from mental workouts and reach peak performance. Install brain-enhancing games like puzzles and sudoku on your phone to keep your mind engaged and functioning.
  • Be kind to yourself: You are going through a lot, both mentally and physically, so don’t beat yourself up for forgetting things. Try to relax and find humour in the situation.


Now you know that pregnancy brain is real and it affects a lot of expecting mums. If you experience forgetfulness or absent-mindedness during your pregnancy, make sure to follow the tips that we discussed above, and if at any point, you feel that things are going out of your hand, talk to your doctor to better understand what you can do in this situation. Apart from that eat well, keep yourself well-rested, and try to avoid all possible triggers of this symptom. 

Cover Image Credit: Freepik.com



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