Memory Problems During Pregnancy: Myth or Fact


You might have heard little stories about forgetfulness during pregnancy. It’s called Pregnancy Brain or Momneisa. Pregnancy Brain is real. Though some women don’t feel as sharp as usual, pregnancy doesn’t change a woman’s brain.

Read More:11 Must Know Foods That Help Sharpen The Memory of Your Child

In this article:

Pregnancy Brain
Is Pregnancy Brain Myth or Fact?
What Causes Pregnancy Brain?
What You Can Do about it?
Is Memory Loss a Sign that Something’s Wrong with Me or My Pregnancy?
How Long Does Pregnancy Brain Last?

Memory Problems During Pregnancy: Things You Should Know

memory loss during pregnancy


Pregnancy Brain

Pregnancy brain is pregnant woman’s forgetfulness during and shortly after pregnancy. It is real for many expectant mothers between 50 and 80 percent of pregnant women report having memory lapses or focus problems. The exact cause of this brain fog during pregnancy is unclear.

This is sometimes called as momnesia. A woman may be distracted by worry or excitement about the new adventure beginning and the major life changes it will bring. Other factors such as stress and anxiety can also interfere with the ability to concentrate and remember things and the fatigue that’s so common during pregnancy probably doesn’t help either.

Read More:Brain Development in Children: 11 Facts Every Parent Should Know

Is Pregnancy Brain Myth or Fact?

It is both. As many as 50 to 80 percents of pregnant women report experiencing memory problems during pregnancy. However, other reports of memory problems during pregnancy are likely more common than the presence of actual memory deficits.

Research studying actual memory deficits in pregnant woman has been mixed. Some studies have shown no differences in standardized memory testing while others have found differences in some aspects of memory. Reviews of multiple studies have concluded that some real differences in memory during and shortly after pregnancy can be seen but the mechanisms are still not well understood.

According to some studies that have shown a difference, not all parts of memory were affected. It is seen that memory function that requires more effort appears to be the most vulnerable during pregnancy. For example, some studies have shown that pregnant women are as able as non-pregnant women of the same age to learn and recognize information, but they have a harder time recalling the information later. However, the differences were fairly small.

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What Causes Pregnancy Brain?

As usual, pregnancy brain is just the hormones having some fun this time at the expense of memory. A lack of quality shut-eye due to a number of sleep-busting conditions during pregnancy common in first and third trimester can also play a role, as can the fact constantly zapped of energy (which the brain needs to stay focused). These include hormonal alternations during pregnancy and birth changes in plasma levels of neurotransmitters like serotonin and dopamine, mood shifts and sleep disruption.

It is considered that memory change during pregnancy is evolutionary. Some researchers think pregnancy brain helps women forget about other things and focus on caring for the baby. Increased stress can leave pregnant women feeling forgetful, memory loss and absentminded.

According to a research it has actually shown that the brain really does function differently during pregnancy, increasing activity in the side associated with emotional skills. Believe it or not brain-cell volume actually decreases during the third trimester of pregnancy. Not to worry though the brain will plump back up a few months after delivery.

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What You Can Do about it?

  • Take a deep breath – try not to be too hard and stress will only cloud pregnancy brain more.
  • Write it down – if need to remember something leave a big note in an obvious place.
  • Turn high-tech – rely on calendar reminders on the phone to help keeping organized and less forgetful.
  • Have a backup system – reduce the number of things need to remember by delegating some jobs to others.
  • Have a sense of humor – have a good laugh about the airhead stage and encourage the partner to do the same.
  • Chow down on choline – this mineral is the building block for a memory-forming brain chemical called acetylcholine. Researchers believe that eating plenty of choline-rich foods during pregnancy may help boost both the mother and the baby’s brain function.
  • Load up on omega-3 – DHA-rich foods (pregnancy safe fish like salmon) are another nutrient that help supports healthy brain function and development for both the mother and baby.
  • Skip the gingko – forget about taking the herbal supplement gingko biloba. This memory-booster during pregnancy use has not been proven safe.
  • Get plenty of sleep – sleep enough not only to have the energy to grow and carry a baby, but also to help refresh the memory and be alert mentally every day.
  • Exercise – working out regularly not only keeps healthy, but it can also sharpen the memory and help to sleep better at night, increasing alertness during the day.

Is Memory Loss a Sign that Something’s Wrong with Me or My Pregnancy?

A little forgetfulness during pregnancy is normal. However, if there is a lot of trouble thinking or concentrating and also feeling down or notice a loss on interest or pleasure in things that normally enjoyed most of the time for a least two weeks, there could be depression.

How Long Does Pregnancy Brain Last?

Perceived memory changes can occur at any point during pregnancy and in the postpartum period which is normal. The physical fatigue that accompanies the first trimester also can include cognitive fatigue which means the attention and memory can suffer. As pregnancy progresses, there are many things vying for expectant mothers’ attention which can result in things being overlooked or forgotten.


The majority of women believe that memory is impaired during pregnancy. During pregnancy, it is seen that there is significant impairment of memory as tested by recall or by priming but not by recognition. Don’t suffer alone talk to the doctor.


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