Before you read on, take this little quiz:
In the previous two weeks have you:
- Lost your keys.
- Forgotten an appointment.
- Forgotten your name.
- Stopped talking because you'd forgotten what you were saying.
- Felt just plain fuzzy mentally.
- Gotten lost driving on your own street.
- Forgotten names, particularly that of your husband, children, or pets.
If you have any of these boxes checked, and you are pregnant, you may be suffering from what we affectionately call Placenta Brains. There is also a similar disorder for new mothers called Mommy Brains.
Seriously, this is something that affects many women, both during and after pregnancy. It manifests itself as simple forgetfulness, loss of memory, and other minor problems. However, it can be very distressing to the woman experiencing this, and to those around her. A previously "together" woman may now forget simple appointments, not be able to retain names or dates.
The worst thing, that I've ever personally done, was during my pregnancy with Benjamin, my four year old. I was heading to my sister's out of town wedding. I headed North instead of East. Needless to say I did not make it on time.
"I taught a lesson one night at church and looked right at a lady I know very well and forgot her name, while talking about her! Very embarrassing when in front of a group of 30 women," says one woman.
There are many theories of why this occurs in some pregnant women. One of the theories includes brain shrinkage. Saying that the brain shrinks 3-5% during pregnancy, which takes approximately six months after birth to return to normal. Or the theory that the problems are driven by hormones during pregnancy. While others believe that it is just a period of time where the mother-to-be is reflecting inward and the introspection and problem solving of the future is what causes the mental fuzziness.
It may even be that since labor and birth are done with the right side of the brain, our bodies are encouraging us to be more right brained during the course of pregnancy.
When asked about this, one woman said, " I would love to tell you about it, but I can't remember it."
However, as with anything, there are people who do not believe in the memory loss of pregnancy. These doubting Thomases say that the woman is simply not paying attention.
Maddy really hated "forgetting what I was saying mid-sentence. It's so annoying. I started writing everything down."
Whatever the reason or the cause of this, there is no reason to panic. Most women will tell you that eventually you will find yourself remembering more and being less forgetful at some point after the birth of your baby.
Saney reports, "I swear, I lose brain cells with each pregnancy and I never get them back."
Until you reach the point where you are better, there are some simple things that you can do to help you.
- Repeat names as you meet people.
- Write your appointments down.
- Talk to those around you.
- Don't be hard on yourself.
- Laugh about it!