If you are like me and always forgetting where you put your keys or where you parked your car at the grocery store, rumor has it that this type of forgetfulness may increase with pregnancy. When I was considering more graduate studies, my mother in law warned me to do it before I got pregnant to avoid the challenge of “pregnancy brain”. Additional challenges to my already overloaded brain I did not need, so I heeded her advice and began to do some research of my own.
While most studies are inconclusive, the fact is that many women report feeling more absentminded, particularly in the first and third trimesters. One plausible reason is the increase in progesterone during the first trimester, which is a main culprit in fatigue. You will also want to check in and make sure you are getting enough sleep, at least as much as you did before you were pregnant with additional naps whenever you feel tired. At the end of the day, you have a new life growing inside you so it’s completely natural to be wrapped up in plans for the nursery, finding doctors and midwifes and wondering if it’s a boy or a girl. There’s plenty going on to distract us and just maybe this is nature’s way of giving our brains a rest and asking us to float along and enjoy the process.
Of course, there are things we need to get done so here are some tools that can help you keep pregnancy brain in check:
1. Make a list- carry a little pad of paper in your purse and whenever you think of something important, write it down. This removes the pressure of having to remember everything.
2. Sleep- getting enough sleep will leave you rested and more alert. This is particularly important during the first trimester. Even though you may notice a return of energy in the second and third trimester, continue to get at least 8 hours a night to prevent from burning out.
3. Eat healthy- maintaining a balanced diet with all the essential nutrients is also important. You are now eating for two and the baby is using some of your nutrients to grow, so the requirement for healthy eating is even higher during pregnancy.
4. Exercise- gentle exercise can clear your mind and also helps to metabolize extra hormones that your body is processing. If possible, go outside and enjoy the fresh air at least 30 minutes per day.