What Causes Pregnancy Brain
An expecting parent will experience several physical and mental changes that can lead to pregnancy brain. But, while anecdotal evidence of temporary cognitive decline is strong, the research has yielded mixed results.
A 2014 study found that while pregnant women and new moms reported more memory loss and forgetfulness than a control group of nonpregnant women, actual neuropsychological measurements showed little to no difference in the brain function of the two groups.
Still, other research and a hearty dose of common sense can pinpoint a few key contributors. At any given time, the effects of pregnancy brain are likely caused by one or more of these factors.
What Is Considered A Premature Birth
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention , the preterm birth rate is around 10%, with a higher incidence among younger , Black , and older mothers.
Very preterm births account for approximately 1.6% of all live births in the United States.
To provide a better idea of how early deliveries are categorized, doctors break down the gestational week ranges as follows:
- Extremely preterm: Gestational age at or below 28 weeks
- Very preterm: Gestational age at or below 32 weeks
- Moderately preterm: Gestational age between 32 weeks and 33 weeks and 6 days
- Late preterm: Gestational age between 34 weeks and 36 weeks and 6 days
Note that the vast majority of premature births take place during the late preterm period.
When Does Pregnancy Brain Start
Pregnancy brain syndrome is a kind of forgetfulness syndrome that may occur during pregnancy. But this definition is still debatable since there is no plenty of research to confirm this issue. Some women report about forgetfulness that strikes when they are being pregnant! Even it may also strike shortly after becoming mothers. So, when does it start? Does it really exist or is it just a myth?
This syndrome is also familiar called as momnesia or baby brain a term used to point the idea that an early motherhood or a pregnancy affects the way of a womans memory to work. Since there are now a lot of reports about this symptom, science has looked into this.
Unfortunately there is still no clearly answer to confirm this issue. Studies on this found conflicting results.
What are signs of this syndrome what does it feel like?
Signs of momnesia are closely similar to the common signs of regular forgetfulness. These may include:
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Emotional And Mental Wellbeing
How are you today? If you’re feeling anxious or low, then talk to your midwife or doctor who can point you in the right direction to get all the support that you need. You could also discuss your worries with your partner, friends and family. You may be worried about your relationship, or money, or having somewhere permanent to live. Don’t bottle it up â you’re important, so ask for help if you need it!
Chapter 1: Early Signs Of Pregnancy And Symptoms
As you can imagine, your body will start to change soon after conception. Some women notice early signs of pregnancy starting to appear sooner than others, and the timing could even differ from your first pregnancy to your second. Of course, the surest way to be certain if you are pregnant is to take a test.
This page will introduce the difference stages the future mother will be experience over the next nine months before she delivers her first child.
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Physical Changes In The Brain
As it turns out, there may be even more happening on a cellular level thats further fueling pregnancy brain.
A 2016 study determined that there are undeniable physiological changes that occur in the structure of all womens brains during pregnancy.
Scans showed that pregnant women will categorically experience a significant decrease in gray matter volume in areas of the brain that help with social cognition. These changes were also found to occur in parts of the brain that foster relationship building.
This could be the brains way of clearing space to make room for maternal attachment. So, while you may not be able to recall if you brushed your teeth in the morning, you will be ready to snuggle down like a mama bear.
Interestingly, follow-up scans showed that these volume changes can last for 2 years or more, meaning some aspects of pregnancy brain might stick around through your childs toddler years.
You dont need to throw in the towel and accept your forgetful fate just yet. There are some brain-boosting steps you can take to sharpen your mental acuity.
How Do People Get Pregnant With Twins
There are 2 ways that twins can happen. Identical twins are made when 1 already-fertilized egg splits into 2 separate embryos. Because identical twins come from the same sperm and egg, they have the same genetic material and look exactly alike.
Non-identical twins , are made when two separate eggs are fertilized by two separate sperm, and both fertilized eggs implant in the uterus. This can happen if your ovaries release more than one egg, or during certain kinds of fertility treatments. Non-identical twins have completely different genetic material , and usually dont look alike. Theyre the most common type of twin.
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See Your Midwife Or Gp
You’ll need to arrange a ‘booking appointment’. This usually takes place between weeks 8 and 12 and takes around an hour. You can talk about the options for your pregnancy and the birth. Plus you’ll be offered screening tests for infectious diseases, and conditions such as Down’s syndrome. You could ask about the Maternity Transformation Programme and how it could benefit you.
You will be offered your first dating scan at 8 to 14 weeks. This is a highlight for many women.
In total, most first time mums will have around 10 appointments and two scans. Ask if it’s possible to see the same carer for your entire pregnancy, to give you continuity.
Baby Brain Development: Motor Skills
Your child is equipped for physical survival. Even before birth, their brains and nerves are developed to the point that they can control basic reflexes and vital functions like breathing, swallowing, and sleeping. As you may have noticed, physical reflexes begin to develop during early pregnancy, when your developing baby becomes capable of reacting to stimuli by moving his arms and kicking his legs. This is fairly apparent during your babys rapid physical and mental development in the sixth month of pregnancy.
In the seventh month, a process called myelination begins in which a dense, fat-based substance forms along the connections between neurons, allowing signals to pass between them with increasing speed. Among the first neurons to undergo myelination are those located in the brain regions responsible for motor developmentthe brainstem and spinal cordand theyll be the most fully developed by then.
Enfamama A+ Club is here for you and your developing baby. Get expert advice and more when you join the club.;
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Is Pregnancy Brain Normal
Forgetfulness is both completely normal and extremely common. Even if you pride yourself on your master multitasking skills or your ability to stay organized, you still may find yourself having trouble concentrating or remembering your car keys.
The good news is its also temporary you’ll have total recall again long before you start to have your “senior moments.”
What To Ask Your Doctor
If you expect to deliver an extremely premature baby, start a conversation with the doctors who will be caring for your baby about what type of resuscitation you would want for your child at which gestational ages.
This is undoubtably a difficult situation to face. However, considering these issues before they are happening can give you a chance to ask all the pertinent questions and think through these tough decisions before they need to be made.
Among some questions parents who are facing a pre-term birth or who unexpectedly have one should ask:
- What is the gestational age at which my baby was born?
- Was the baby oxygen-deprived prior to birth? What are the expected consequences of that? What tests were run to check the severity?;
- What problems should I watch for after discharge? In the first year? When my child starts school?
- What type of follow-up will my baby need? Is there an early intervention program?
- What types of interventions have been used or will be used in my babys care? What are the risks and benefits of each of these treatments? What are the alternatives?
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What To Do About Pregnancy Brain
No matter what lies behind the brain fog, itâs worthwhile to have some tools and tips to help you focus and stay organized. Try the following strategies:
Make lots of lists and put them everywhere â on your phone or computer, or in your purse. Sticky notes are great for posting on the bathroom mirror, the front door, or in the car.
Your phone is probably always with you, so set reminders, timers, and calendars to help you stay on top of things.
Choose and stick to a regular place for those important items you keep misplacing. A key bowl or hook near the door is a good place to stash your keys, for example.
Learn and use some relaxation techniques. The more relaxed you are, the less likely you are to become confused or forget something.
Prioritize the tasks in your life, and concentrate your time and attention on the most important ones. As the saying goes, donât sweat the small stuff.
Exercise every day, if possible. Physical activity offers a number of benefits during pregnancy, but one that is key is it increases blood flow throughout your body, including your brain.
Get enough sleep. This is not the easiest goal to accomplish for many moms-to-be, but these tips for sleeping during pregnancy may help.
Is Pregnancy Brain Real
You expect all the physical changes that occur in pregnancy: a burgeoning belly, swollen calves, and if youre really lucky pregnancy hemorrhoids. But in addition to these telltale transformations, there are mental shifts and actual physiological brain alterations that happen, too.
If youre feeling forgetful, absentminded, or just plain out of it, youre not imagining things. Its not regular day-to-day distraction at play pregnancy brain is a real thing.
And while it can provide some humor in the moment , it can also be frustrating and worrisome.
Want to understand the science driving this silliness and get some tips to help lift the fog? Weve got your back and your brain covered.
Pregnancy Brain: Myth Or Reality
Relax, pregnancy does not change your brain. But it may affect how mentally sharp you feel.
You may have heard about little bouts of forgetfulness during pregnancy. It’s sometimes called momnesia or sometimes “pregnancy brain.” At least one Australian studyhas cast doubt on whether there is such a thing as pregnancy brain.
But what if it’s real? What can you do about it while you’re pregnant?
Give Me All The Pickles And Peanut Butter Youve Got
In general, our bodies crave foods we need. Craving salty foods, for example, can be a sign of dehydration or electrolyte imbalance. On the other hand, we may feel repulsed by foods that arent good for us. As I mentioned in part one, many women go off eating meat, fish and certain plants during early pregnancy foods more prone to microorganisms or bitter taste.
Pregnancy cravings are perhaps the most common, joked-about side effect of pregnancy, estimated to occur in about 60% of women. Pickles and sardines; scrambled eggs and chocolate; pistachio ice cream and peanut butter. Crazy hormones, right?
Perhaps surprisingly, pregnancy cravings have not been widely studied nor are they well understood. In general, women are more likely to report and be more vocal about food cravings than men. Women also report desiring certain foods throughout the menstrual cycle. In many ways, food cravings are culturally reinforced; a giant chocolate brownie probably doesnt fill many nutritional gaps for a woman on her period, but it sure is fun to eat when youre feeling particularly crummy.
Craving non-food substances like clay, paper, drywall or laundry starch may be a sign of a and should be brought to the attention of a doctor.
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How Far Along Am I
Knowing how far along you are in pregnancy is useful for both you and your healthcare provider. Your provider will use this information to check on your babyâs growth and development, to keep an eye on your health, and to schedule tests and exams.
The weeks of pregnancy are also grouped into three trimesters:
So that you can see at a glance how far along you are in your pregnancy, and which trimester you are in, check out the illustration below:
Pregnancy And Brain Shrinkage
Not all changes during pregnancy are visiblethe brain actually gets smaller in size due to a reduction of gray matter. But theres good news! A decrease in volume does not equate to a loss of function.
Gray matter affects social cognition, involving processing and responding to social signals, as well as the ability to exhibit empathy and create emotional attachments. While a shrinking brain may sound worrisome, a new study by Nature Neuroscience notes an increase in brain efficiency, enabling expectant mothers to interpret the needs and emotions of their babies, creating an instinctive maternal attachment and bond.
Lastly, dont forget that momnesia and pregnancy brain shrinkage wont last forever! The fog will lift and gray matter will return once your baby is born.
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What Pregnancy Brain Feels Like
Pregnancy brain is “the feeling of walking into a room, going after something, and not remembering what you went for about five to 10 times a day,” Brizendine says.
There may also be an evolutionary aspect to it. Womens health expert Donnica Moore, MD, says, “It has been postulated that, from an evolutionary standpoint, this memory impairment may be helpful so that women will forget about other stuff and focus on caring for the child.”
Stages Of Prenatal Brain Development
From the time the neural tube closes, around week 7, the brain will grow at a rate of 250,000 neurons per minute for the next 21 weeks. Ultrasounds can reveal the embryo moving as early as 6 weeks after conception , detecting the electrical impulses that govern movement and indicating that the brain is beginning to function.
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At What Point Does This Fetus Show Brain Activity
The brain and nervous system is one of the very first things to start forming in your babys body. The processes get started before you even know youre pregnant. But when do we see the first signs of brain activity in a growing fetus?
In week five of pregnancy, the brain cells start to form.
By week eight, the electrical activity begins.
By week ten, the organ inside your babys head is a more recognizable brain.
Fetal brain development then continues for the rest of your pregnancy. And its a good job too, because its how your growing peanut starts to wriggle, stretch, yawn, and even suck their thumb in the womb.
Pregnancy: Signs Symptoms And Health
Throughout your pregnancy, you will witness the miracle of nature as it prepares your body for delivery, and your baby for a healthy life. Though you may experience discomfort, it is fascinating to see and experience the phenomenon of creation.
As every woman is different, each pregnancy is different. Women experience different symptoms throughout different pregnancy trimesters. However, there are many symptoms that are popular among the majority of women, and it will help you prepare for your pregnancy by knowing what to expect and when.
This 5-part guide provides the following sections:
Note: This guide offers tips, information, and resources for first time parents. Please consult your doctor, nurse, or other medical professionals with specific questions.
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Will You Notice Any Pregnancy Symptoms During Weeks 1 2 Or 3
During weeks one, two, or three, you may not even suspect youâre pregnant and you might not notice any pregnancy symptoms at all. Itâs still very early.
Typically, missing a period will be the first clue that you may be pregnant, and around the time you miss a period â or a little later â you may start noticing other pregnancy symptoms.
Of course, some women sense some subtle changes early on and recognize them as signs of pregnancy right away.
One early pregnancy symptom can be implantation bleeding, which is some light spotting that occurs when the tiny ball of cells attaches to the uterine lining. This light bleeding is normal, and can sometimes be mistaken for menstrual blood.
Other signs of pregnancy in the first month can include bloating, gas, fatigue, breast tenderness, moodiness, and frequent urination. Morning sickness is another common symptom of early pregnancy, but it usually crops up between weeks four and nine.