The brain of a pregnant woman changes structurally during gestation. It is influenced by hormones, emotional state, and mental changes. There is a pregnancy brain effect. It is reported by more than 80% of the women surveyed. The symptom is characterized by low cognitive abilities, constant forgetfulness, and poor concentration.
Many studies have confirmed that the amount of gray matter during pregnancy is reduced. Women during the period of gestation become less assiduous, they are distinguished by a poor concentration of attention and absent-mindedness. This complicates their life a little, especially if they are studying or have to work a lot.
When Does Pregnancy Brain Start in Pregnancy?
There is no exact conclusion about when exactly this specific symptom may begin. According to the observations and complaints of expectant mothers, it was concluded that pregnancy brain most of all overcomes women in the third trimester. Women complain less about cognitive decline in the first and second trimesters.
EXACT WEEKS IT MAY HAPPEN
The first signs of reduced concentration and forgetfulness are noted from the 15th week of pregnancy. Complaints of poor memory, absent-mindedness, and lack of concentration were noticed at the 26th, 29th, and 33rd weeks. The pregnancy brain symptom can accompany a woman throughout the third trimester up to the 39th and 40th weeks.
Some scientists argue that structural changes in the brain of pregnant women persist for some period after childbirth. We can say that the pregnancy brain will pass with the end of the gestation period after the 39th – 40th week. Symptoms can be episodic and disappear after quality rest and good sleep.
How Does it Feel?
Pregnancy brain is felt as an inability to quickly make a decision, find a way out of a simple situation, concentrate and remember elementary things. A woman during pregnancy understands that she is slightly absent-minded, inattentive, and even a little stupid. It is difficult for her to study, she quickly loses the thread of the conversation and cannot remember exactly what she wanted to say.
Pregnancy brain in an acute form is expressed in the inability to remember simple information and in constant short memory lapses. The woman becomes inattentive; she quickly gets tired at work and studying. She often lost keys and forgotten personal items.
A pregnant woman feels a decrease in her cognitive abilities in a mild symptom. It is difficult for her to study, and remember the text, dates, or duties. She feels light distraction and low efficiency.
Scientists have not proven that pregnancy brain is a mandatory symptom of gestation.
Pregnancy brain preventive measures are aimed at maintaining the regime of work and rest. Particular attention should be paid to sleep. It must be regular and of high quality. Do not forget about proper nutrition, the rejection of bad habits, and strategic brain training techniques. More on some of the remedies for symptom prevention:
Avoid stress and nervous strain
The brain is heavily attacked by negative factors in a state of stress. Nerve impulses are excited, and a huge amount of adrenaline and cortisol are released. The woman feels an increased heartbeat and excessive overexcitation. Stress provokes memory lapses, switching attention, and poor concentration. Avoid conflicts, quarrels, and anxiety states. This will reduce the load on the brain, calm, and increase cognitive abilities.
Sleep at golden hour
Women need to get enough sleep for hormone balance, calmness, good mood, and memory. Sleep should be at least 8 hours a day. You can add 1-2 hours for daytime sleep during pregnancy. You must go to bed no later than 11 pm. This is required to enter the deep sleep phase. Regeneration of internal organs and systems occurs from 11 pm to 3 am.
Make your brain work
Be sure to exercise your brain as a preventive measure. Load it with moderate tasks. Read more, start learning languages, memorize poetry or retell what you read. Do specific concentration exercises. You can install the brain simulator as an application on your phone and use it in any free time. 15-20 minutes every day is enough to keep the brain working.
Why Pregnancy Brain Occur?
It is believed that constant fluctuations in hormones may be the cause of the pregnancy brain. Exposure to steroid sex hormones causes structural and functional changes in the brain.
A special role in the deterioration of memory and concentration is assigned to estrogens. Their number during the period of gestation is several times greater than the volume of production for the entire period outside of pregnancy.
Among the reasons for the pregnancy brain, one can note the evolutionarily laid down program for the preservation of the fetus. It is aimed at the complete isolation of the mother from the influence of external stimuli. All the work of the brain is concentrated solely on bearing and caring for the baby.
The causes of pregnancy brain manifestations are sleep problems, stress, and anxiety, as well as structural changes in the brain. The amount of gray matter is reduced, the size of the pituitary gland increases, and the total volume of the brain decreases.
It is better to use simple tools and gadgets available to everyone to protect against poor brain function during the gestation period. It can be electronic assistants, notebooks, or reorganization of space. Do not hesitate to ask for help from loved ones and give authority in solving difficult problems. The main means of helping with manifestations of the pregnancy brain:
Calendar of events
This tool can be either electronic or paper. The process of writing down your hand will help you remember the information better. Use markers and colorful stickers to mark important calendar pages. This tool will help you improve organization and strengthen your memory. This is the best method of dealing with forgetfulness and lack of concentration.
This is the easiest way to improve memory. It is the lightest and most affordable. It does not require strong mental work and stress. It is not necessary to read complex scientific literature, let it be a light adventure novel or a detective story. It is more effective if you try to retell what you read or discuss it with friends. It trains memory well and concentrates attention.
Concentration on one task
Multitasking is beyond the power of some non-pregnant women and during the gestation period is an overwhelming burden. Try to distribute things so that they do not have to be combined. This will simplify the algorithms and increase efficiency and results. The probability of successfully solving a task increases if you concentrate only on it. This will give you a sense of satisfaction and boost your self-esteem.
WHEN TO CONTACT A DOCTOR?
Pregnancy brain should not be accompanied by depression of its position. Consult a doctor if you experience disturbances in thinking, a significant and prolonged deterioration in mood, or senselessness. A visit to him is mandatory when symptoms of amnesia appear.
If you feel that you are lost in space, and you cannot remember your address or phone number, this is a sign of serious brain dysfunction.
What Not to Do
You need to take care of yourself as much as possible during periods of cognitive decline. Do not assume that you are defective or stupid. This is a temporary phenomenon that is characteristic of a large number of women in positions. Don’t try to be perfect during pregnancy. You will change physically and mentally in any case. What is better not to do with pregnancy brain:
Drink energy drinks and drugs for the brain
Energy drinks are too high in sugar and caffeine. Preparations for the work of the brain can irreversibly harm the fetus, especially during the period of the creation of internal organs.
Consider it a personal flaw
Changes in brain activity during pregnancy are a temporary symptom. It will pass and your life will be the same. Do not fall into despair and depression.
Do not use the help of loved ones
Stop being ashamed of your forgetfulness, poor learning, and absent-mindedness. Treat it with humor and ask for help from relatives. Delegate difficult tasks.