‘Baby Brain’, how Reproductive Hormones are making You forgetful


Research has found that reproductive hormones and changes in pregnancy actually can prepare the body for motherhood and explains the excuse of ‘baby brain’.

Reproductive hormones and their changes that cause memory loss and stress, could be explained as the mental shift that is necessary to take place to gain new capacities to bond and care for an infant.

A recent study by Curt A. Sandman of the University of California, Irvine and psychologist Laura M. Glynn of Chapman University, has attempted to apply this research, which has mainly been found from pregnant rodents, to argue the existence of maternal programming during pregnancy.

If these findings offer us some comfort that we are not losing our memory in pregnancy, I am all for the research. However, the human maternal brain is still poorly understood, with little research studied in humans, and my concern is that the evidence cited has been referencing research performed in rodents.

Pregnancy in rodents is very different to pregnancy in humans, so can we infer that the evidence from this research is applicable to humans? While this evidence is encouraging for women at risk, if we really want to help, we need to investigate the pregnant human brain and develop appropriate interventions.

Beyond the limitations with the research, this article interested me as it discusses the ‘baby brain’ phenomenon.

I know that I definitely had moments in my pregnancy where my mind was fuzzy and I had difficulty in recalling simple thoughts. It has always been laughed off as ‘baby brain’ but it is encouraging that there are discussions now around the potential cause and effect happening in the pregnant body with the many hormone fluctuations.

Hopefully this is the beginning of understanding more about the pregnant female mind.

References
Britt Peterson, The Daily Beast http://www.thedailybeast.com/newsweek/2012/02/19/the-pregnant-brain-how-mothers-think-differently.html
How Pregnancy Changes a Woman’s Brain – Association for Psychological Science


About Dinethra Menon

Dinethra Menon is a freelance medical writer based in Sydney with over a decade of medical communications expertise. She has a Bachelor of Science from the University of Melbourne and a post graduate diploma in genetic counselling.

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