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Causes Of Baby Brain - Health - Nairaland

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Causes Of Baby Brain by Haleplushearty: 2:51pm On Jan 15, 2018

Baby brain refers to increased forgetfulness, inattention, and mental "fogginess" reported by four out of five pregnant women. These changes in brain function during pregnancy have long been recognised in midwifery folklore, the new study has confirmed "baby brain" as a real phenomenon, and also affects several cognitive areas.

Researchers combined data from different studies reporting the relationship between pregnancy and brain changes. They examined the cognitive function of pregnant women and non-pregnant women to explore how pregnancy may affect other cognitive areas beyond memory and to look specifically at how these changes might vary according to pregnancy trimesters.

The result showed that when pregnant women are compared to non-pregnant women, they perform much worse on tasks measuring memory and executive functioning which includes attention, inhibition, decision-making and planning, and the difference most pronounced during the third trimester. Women were tested with tasks such as the digit span test, which involves remembering digits in a line.

When the same women were tested at multiple points during their pregnancies, the decline appeared to start during the first trimester, then stabilise from the middle to the end of the pregnancy. Some pregnant women may notice they don't feel as smart as usual, these effects are realistically not likely to have any dramatic impact on everyday life.

Some women will simply find it seems to take more mental effort to do tasks that were previously routine. These changes might be noticeable to people very close to them such as family or friends, but this is highly dependent on each woman's personal experience of pregnancy. There were reductions in grey matter in the brains of pregnant women in regions known to be closely tied to processing social information, such as decoding infant facial expressions and establishing healthy bonding between mother and child.

Baby brain is an important adaptive phenomenon that might help women prepare for raising their children by allowing their brains to adapt to their new role as mothers. Importantly, this same study showed losses of grey matter in the hippocampus, an area of the brain responsible for memory function, are restored two years after the birth of a child. This supports the idea cognitive declines are not permanent.

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