Go to local site:
  • United Kingdom
  • United States

Competitions

 

See all competitions.

In the Shop

How becoming a mum affects your memory

Introduction

If you've started forgetting things while pregnant or just after giving birth, you're not alone. A new study suggests that "baby brain" is a very real phenomenon.
Supernanny Team Logo
06/02/2008
5/5 Star Rating
5/5 stars (rated 1 time)
  • Digg this
  • Add to del.icio.us
  • Furl this
  • Bookmark this

Baby brainwaves!

We mothers knew it! It appears that “baby brain” is no myth after all. New research appears to show that pregnancy does affect a woman’s memory.

The new study suggests that memory can be considerably impaired for up to a year after giving birth. Not all aspects of memory are affected, but the memory loss particularly concerns things like the unfamiliar or demanding – in other words, exactly what confronts a new mother or pregnant woman.

“What we found is that memory tasks which are more challenging or more novel, or those that would require multitasking – these types of tasks are likely to be disrupted,” said Dr Julie Henry, a psychology researcher at the University of New South Wales, and co-author of the study.

In the first investigation of its kind, Dr Henry and her colleague, Dr Peter Rendell, of Australian Catholic University, analysed the results of 14 different research studies carried out around the world since 1990. These studies compared the memory performances of more than 1,000 pregnant women, mothers and healthy non-pregnant females.

The new investigation found that pregnant women are significantly impaired on some, but not all, measures of memory, and that the forgetfulness does continue for up to a year after a baby is born.

"Regular, well-practised memory tasks - such as remembering phone numbers of friends and family members - are unlikely to be affected," says Associate Professor Rendell, whose research is published in the Journal of Clinical and Experimental Neuropsychology. "It's a different story, though, when you have to remember new phone numbers, people's names or hold in mind several different pieces of information, such as when multi-tasking ."

However, the researchers were not able to say exactly why this memory loss happens - it may be due to hormones or lifestyle factors.

As most women will recognise, having a baby causes a seismic lifestyle shift – there’s so much going on in her life, she gets less sleep, and fatigue definitely affects memory and cognitive behaviour.
Supernanny Team Signature
Supernanny Team

Related Links

Are you suffering from baby brain? Discuss this with other parents in our Forum.

Can folic acid prevent premature births? Folic acid has long been recommended to prevent babies from suffering from spina bifida. But new research suggests that it may have other major benefits too.....

Screening in pregnancy: You’re pregnant – hurrah – but suddenly there’s so much to learn. These include all the screenings and tests that you, as a pregnant woman, have to undergo. But don’t worry, we’re here to help. Our expert Verona Hall can explain everything you need to know…….

Is This Really Labour? Every pregnancy and labour is unique and there is no way to predict exactly when your labour will start. Saying that, there are some clues which may make you think your baby is preparing to meet you. Midwife Verona Hall explains all…

I’m in labour – what happens now? You know you’re in labour, but what should you do now? And how do you prevent being sent home from the hospital – and told to come back later? Expert midwife Verona Hall explains all..

Water babies: If you feel strongly that you want to avoid using pain-relieving drugs and medical intervention during your labour, it’s worth considering a water birth…

Sex during pregnancy: Should you or should you not have sex when you’re pregnant? Our expert midwife, Verona Hall, explains all

Breastfeeding: get it right from the start......Many mums give up in the first week of feeding because they find it painful – the sad fact is that the problems they had may have been avoided. Follow our guide to get it right…

Was this article helpful?

Sign In to rate this article