7 Ways to Overcome Pregnancy Brain
Pregnancy brain comes in many forms: from the pregnant woman struggling to relocate her parked car at the grocery store to the idle OBGYN whose patient missed yet another appointment, both new and expecting mothers can attest to momnesia being an unfortunate part of motherhood.
Fingers have pointed to a surge of pregnant hormones, which triggers all sorts of physiological changes, as the cause of this uncharacteristic fogginess. It could also have to do with a new mom’s heightened awareness of threats and overexerted attention — the world had never looked as dangerous as it did right after your first born arrived.
The most compelling explanation we found is pretty simple: whether you’re still pregnant or well into the 4th trimester, moms are often stressed, sleep-deprived and focused mostly on the well-being of their little one. There’s not much room for other information in that tired brain of yours!
The good news for the future? Research has suggested that neither pregnancy nor motherhood permanently affects the capacity of your mind. In the meantime, however, we’ve compiled a list of tips (and a helpful acronym to make remembering them a little easier) to get you through the toughest moments of new-mom forgetfulness:
- One thing at a time
Brains can only do so much — in fact, multitasking is actually just you switching rapidly between tasks. Humans can’t do anything simultaneously, so don’t overwhelm your brain by expecting it to do more than it can.
- Home: give important items a designated spot
Phone stays in your pocket. Keys get hung in the kitchen. Wallet lives in your purse.
If you make a conscious effort to put the items you use everyday always in the same spot, then you’ll never have to spend time searching for them. One less thing to worry about!
- Sleep: be sure you get enough!
A lack of sleep impairs anyone’s ability to function properly. Practicing good habits during the day, like regularly exercising or holding off on coffee if it’s after 2 p.m., can help you get a better night’s rest.
If you’re still struggling with a pregnant tummy, the right pregnancy pillow can be a game changer. Especially for stomach sleepers, give the Tummy Cradle a try for napping.
- Help: coordinate with your loved ones
Don’t be afraid to ask for help, especially from your partner. Feeling overwhelmed is normal for both parents, and it’s important to coordinate schedules among loved ones to give everyone a break every once in a while.
- Eat a balanced diet
Same rules as before apply: a balanced diet, rich in vitamins, is important for a healthy brain. We’ve been told ginkgo biloba improves memory if you’re looking for something specific to take — but for those of you who are still pregnant, stick to your prenatal vitamin regimen because gingko is not recommended until the baby is born.
According to March of Dimes, a healthy expecting momma should get almost 3 hours of aerobic exercise each week to make sure you’re gaining the right amount of weight and to reduce stress levels. Plus, you’ll be able sleep better at night!
- Patience: don’t be so hard on yourself!
Did you notice that most of these tips apply to not just moms, but pretty much everybody else too? That’s because we all have forgetful moments, and it’s important to remind yourself of that when you catch yourself spacing out. With everything on your plate right now, anyone would feel a little stressed out from time to time.
Luckily, the most effective tips are not too different from what you’ve always heard: taking good care of yourself can lead to less stress, fewer illnesses and a healthier mental outlook. So, next time you find yourself lost in a parking lot, be sure to refer to these tips and remember the basics of self care — we even put it all into a kid-friendly acronym to mutter under your breath!