Baby Brain, A Myth? Uh Oh

Neither pregnancy nor motherhood addle a woman's brain, according to Australian researchers.

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. 



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  • by Phyllis Location: Williamston on Feb 25, 2010 at 04:13 AM
    My two girls are now 28 and 22 years old, one in NC and one in Georgia. I am as forgetful now (or more so) than I was during that special time of my life. I hope my forgetfulness and verbal jumbles today is more reflective of a mother's focus and nuturing instinct than other potential concerns. Underlying most of my day now is how much I miss the days of my childrens' youth at home, and how much I miss them now that they are away from home. Children are precious and they grow up too quickly. My grandmother said it very well: enjoy them while they are little - they will be gone before you know it.
  • by Denise Location: Columbia on Feb 10, 2010 at 11:53 AM
    I always said that I lost my mind when I was pregnant, but it never came back:)

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