Facebook Pixel

Pregnancy Brain: Not a Myth

Rate This
forgetfulness from pregnancy brain is not a myth iStockphoto/Thinkstock

Pregnancy Brain. It that a technical term?

It seemed like the movie “Groundhog Day” a lot at my house when I was pregnant. I would stop what I was doing and waddle with my baby bump leading the way, into another room in search of some item.

As soon as I would reach my destination, I would stand in the doorway of the room, pointer finger tapping my lip as I wondered what it was that I came there for. Unable to remember, I would shrug my shoulders and go back to what I was doing.

Sometimes, I would repeat this action several times in one day. It would drive me crazy.

I wanted to call a friend, “Hi. Can I borrow your maternity clothes ... and your brain?”

I usually had very good focus and had a strong memory. So why was I now so forgetful?

With a Costco-size bag of gingersnaps, I powered through the morning sickness and began to research words like “pregnancy brain,” “mommy brain,” and “pregnancy amnesia.”

Pregnancy brain is the term that is typically given to the short-term memory loss and forgetfulness that pregnant women experience. It tends to occur most frequently during a women’s first and third trimester.

According to Helen Christensen, PhD, of The Australian National University, "If you read pregnancy manuals and listen to pregnant mothers – yes, there is such a thing as pregnancy brain. There is also evidence from research showing deficits in memory but the evidence from our study shows that the capacity of the brain is unaltered in pregnancy.” (WebMD.com)

WebMD.com also points out that handling the needs of a family, multi-tasking and not getting enough sleep, are circumstances that could cause forgetfulness.

It still didn’t make sense to me. Before having my children, I had a job where I performing a lot of multi-tasking and worked long hours, resulting in lack of sleep.

There had to be more. As I read down the page, suddenly there was my answer. Hormones.

“Surging hormone levels and new priorities may explain why pregnancy brain happens. There are 15 to 40 times more progesterone and estrogen marinating the brain during pregnancy, and these hormones affect all kinds of neurons in the brain.” (WebMD.com)

“Increased levels of the hormone progesterone are thought to be a culprit in pregnancy brain. Progesterone can often cause headaches, mood swings and fatigue. The increase of progesterone is often greatest in the first trimester and may be the reason for increased forgetfulness.” (Wisegeek.com)

I knew there was a good explanation of why I couldn’t remember everyday words like "door" and "fork". There was a reason why I would spend 20 minutes looking for something that I had placed on the table the day before.

My husband could stop giving me the crazy look. My body was being surged with hormones.

As defined in What To Expect.com, “pregnancy brain is your hormones having fun at the expense of your memory. In addition, your brain-cell volume actually decreases during the third trimester of pregnancy, returning a few months after delivery.”

Pregnancy brain, like your new voluptuous chest, is only temporary, ladies.


Pregnancy Brain: Myth or Reality? WebMD.com; Web. Apr. 29, 2012.

Forgetfulness During Pregnancy or Pregnancy Brain. WhatToExpect.com; Web. Apr. 29, 2012.

What is Pregnancy Brain. WiseGreek.com; Web. Apr. 29, 2012. http://www.wisegeek.com/what-is-pregnancy-brain.htm

Forgetfulness during pregnancy. Babycenter.com; Web. Apr. 29, 2012. http://www.babycenter.com/0_forgetfulness-during-pregnancy_236.bc

Reviewed April 30, 2012
by Michele Blacksberg RN
Edited by Jody Smith

Add a CommentComments

There are no comments yet. Be the first one and get the conversation started!

Enter the characters shown in the image.
By submitting this form, you agree to EmpowHER's terms of service and privacy policy

We value and respect our HERWriters' experiences, but everyone is different. Many of our writers are speaking from personal experience, and what's worked for them may not work for you. Their articles are not a substitute for medical advice, although we hope you can gain knowledge from their insight.