When Toronto-based mom Gerber. Part of Pregnant for the first time, she thought ‘baby brain’ was just a parenting thing, an excuse for her amnesia. But his tune changed after the second quarter.
“As I neared my due date, I realized it was a real thing,” the mother-in-law told Granthshala News.
“You try to remember the word you want to use or someone’s name and you’re blank,” Gerber said, explaining the symptoms after both of her children were born. “You feel like you’re always missing something and you can’t remember things you should have done.”
Dubbed ‘pregnancy brain’ ‘baby brain’ or ‘mom brain’, it is a frustrating side effect of having a baby for many parents. This often leads you to forget names, appointments and dates. This leaves some people searching for their keys in the freezer, while others struggle with focus and find themselves in a fog.
a survey from June American polling company One Poll revealed that the average American parent loses nearly 4,000 hours to that brain fog during their child’s upbringing.
And while sleep deprivation and stress may contribute to it – for women, the changes are more permanent.
“It’s definitely a real thing,” said Jennifer Brooks, an associate professor of epidemiology at the Dalla Lana School of Public Health at the University of Toronto, talking about the baby brain.
Brooks said hormones related to pregnancy, childbirth and breastfeeding cause rapid changes in women’s brains.
“There is a tremendous physical and mental change that happens during and after pregnancy that has a really significant cognitive and emotional burden on women,” she said.
studies have confirmed Pregnancy changes a woman’s brain over a long period of time.
In 2016, scientists found that postpartum women had a decrease in gray matter (the dark tissue of the brain, consisting mainly of nerve cells) in areas responsible for social cognition.
The study also showed that the reductions lasted at least two years afterward.
Lisa Gallia, professor of neuroscience at the University of British Columbia, is doing research This topic for years.
“People have found that you see some sort of … I call it loss of memory,” she said. “But it depends on the trimester of pregnancy … fetal sex … (and) the type of memory.”
Although it can be scary for moms to read about the loss of cognition, Gallia said it’s not as worrisome as it might sound.
“Just because a deficiency does not mean it is associated with poor performance on any kind of task,” Gallia said.
In that 2016 study, Gallia said those with the greatest decline in gray matter showed a special maternal closeness with their child.
“Mom is learning new skills… I’d even call them superpowers,” laughed Gallia. “When my son was born, I could distinguish all these different cries and it became so good that … it’s a pretty amazing skill to acquire.”
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But while the brain is adapting, some mothers are left suffering.
Leena Mittal, a psychiatrist at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Massachusetts, spends her days working with pregnant and postpartum women.
“Most of them will report some cognitive changes,” she said, “usually it’s mild and something they can laugh at… but sometimes it can be really upsetting.”
Mittal said the severity of the ‘baby brain’ may also be related to factors such as sleep deprivation caused by the newborn, stress or postpartum depression.
Some experts have even theorized the possibility that, for some, the child’s brain may appear as a late diagnosis instead. Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, or ADHD.
Symptoms may include lack of attention, lack of concentration, disorganization, difficulty completing tasks, being forgetful and losing things.
Mittal explained that it is difficult to diagnose ADHD in girls, as it often presents differently than in boys. As a result, many women grow up without a diagnosis. Mittal also said that women are often good at “managing” the disease.
But the stress of birth and having a new baby, Brooks explained, can often come across as the ‘last straw’ and ADHD symptoms are no longer easily managed.
“These challenges may be more pronounced when major life changes occur and may even be exacerbated by hormonal changes during menopause or pregnancy, or through changes in the menstrual cycle,” she said.
Still, both Mittal and Brooks said there is much more to learn about ADHD, and specifically how it affects women.
Meanwhile, Mittal and Brooks said, parents, and especially mothers, are facing greater pressure to keep up with it amid a Granthshala pandemic.
Mittal said ‘Baby Brain’ can make the expectation extremely stressful.
“Doing it all working together, school, babysitting, all at the same time. There is no division,” Mittal said. “It can certainly put anyone under stress and it adversely affects women.”
“We know chronic stress, once you have enough, will accumulate enough that it will affect memory,” she said. “The key is to find things that ease your stress. And that’s just common sense. Exercise, humor -…