Baby Brain, A Myth? Uh Oh

Feb 3, 2010

Any other women with me in that you feel like you are more forgetful or act like (as my mom used to say) a "space cadet" once you become pregnant? For the last several months, I've chalked it up to "baby brain." Everyone says pregnant women and new moms tend to more forgetful, as they experience some sort of baby-induced brain drain.

Along come some researchers in Australia that are raining on our perfectly justified puzzled parades. The pregnancy baby brain lapse is a myth, they say, based on their study of 1,241 women both before and after having babies. The BBC reported on the issue Tuesday, with the word myth blazing in the headline of the report. However, it may not be as bad you might think, if you enjoy having the baby brain as a good go-to explanation of why you, say, I don't know, forgot to fold the dog or walk the laundry.

Lead researcher Professor Christensen said, "Part of the problem is that pregnancy manuals tell women they are likely to experience memory and concentration problems - so women and their partners are primed to attribute any memory lapse to the 'hard to miss' physical sign of pregnancy.

Pregnant women may also shift their focus way from work issues to help them prepare for the birth of their new baby, while new mothers selectively attend to their baby." This shift in what the woman's brain focuses on shouldn't be considered a "cognitive deficit," Christensen said.

To me, this is not bad news. Pregnant women aren't less intelligent after all! We may be less tuned into the world around us because we're more tuned into what's about to change our world--the baby.

The researchers also say pregnant women may be less focused because they are so tired. Fatigue impacts everyone's ability to concentrate.

So the next time you forget to preheat the oven or find your car keys in the refrigerator, you might blame it not on "baby brain," but "baby on the brain."

One more note on forgetfulness. One of the most refreshing things other moms have told me is that all the strange little quirks that come with being pregnant, you will forget all about them when you hold your baby for the first time.

About the Author...
Heather King
Heather is the anchor and executive producer of WITN News at Sunrise and also reports.

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