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1st trimester

01st Mar 2024

Brain fog during pregnancy: What is it and ways to make it easier

Anna Martin

brain fog

Brain fog, baby brain or just forgetfulness

Whatever you want to call it, a lot of pregnant folks have experienced things slipping their minds when they’re expecting.

Research shows that you may have a good reason because forgetfulness during pregnancy appears to be a real phenomenon.

Here’s why you might experience pregnancy brain fog – and how to cope.

Why do people experience brain fog?

brain fog
Credit: Getty

As usual, pregnancy brain is just your hormones having some fun – not that anyone is surprised by that.

One 2014 study found that pregnant women in their second trimester and beyond scored noticeably lower than non-pregnant women on Spatial Recognition Memory (SRM) tests.

In other words, they had trouble remembering locations and spatial relations between different objects.

A lack of quality shut-eye due to a number of sleep-busting conditions during pregnancy (especially common in your first and third trimesters) can also play a role, as can the fact that you’re constantly zapped of energy.

What’s more, all of those big and exciting changes going on in your life could have an impact on your ability to focus too.

If that wasn’t enough, a 2016 study determined that there physiological changes that occur in the structure of all women’s brains during pregnancy.

Scans showed that pregnant women will categorically experience a significant decrease in grey matter volume in areas of the brain that help with social cognition.

Can I make things easier?

brain fog
Credit: Getty

Thankfully, there are a few things you can try out to help you out as you wait for your little one to make an appearance.

  • Take a deep breath: Try not to be too hard on yourself. Stress can cloud your pregnancy brain more, it’s okay for things to slip your mind.
  • Write it down: If you need to remember something leave a big note in an obvious place. You might also stash a notepad and pen in easy-to-remember spots like your handbag.
  • Ask for help: Do you keep forgetting to schedule an appointment? Ask your partner to do it. Does the idea of doing taxes this year hurt your brain? Consider hiring someone. You have so much to think about right now, it’s okay to reach out.
  • Rest: Schedule enough time to sleep at night. Rest is a crucial part of feeling refreshed and directly affects your ability to think clearly. Do your best to revamp your sleep hygiene to kick-start change.
  • Speak out loud: It may seem or feel odd to announce tasks or reminders aloud, but sometimes saying these things can help increase the likelihood of retention, compared to keeping thoughts in your head.