You gotta love it when research proves something we already knew. On the one hand, it's nice to feel validated by science. On the other hand -- duh! This time, researchers from Deakin University in Victoria, Australia, revealed evidence showing that "baby brain" is real.
If you're reading this and wondering, what the heck is baby brain? Then a) lucky you! or b) you haven't reached that point in pregnancy yet (so, lucky you!). Many people during pregnancy experience more frequent moments of forgetfulness, confusion, reduced mental clarity, and clumsiness -- aka "baby brain." Researchers discovered that these reports align with what they found in 1,000 women in their study, which is a much lower cognitive functioning, executive functioning, and memory than in a non-pregnant person, especially during the third trimester.
So if you're doing things like putting away milk in the cabinet instead of the fridge, forgetting what you came into the room for, leaving your keys in places you never would, or tripping over your own two feet, you can now rest easy knowing that it's all in your head. Literally! Researchers theorize that baby brain may occur simply because near the end of pregnancy, a person is physically and mentally strained and fatigued, which affects the brain's performance. Or, it may be a sort of "biological priming" in which the brain gears itself up for diverting all its attention to the care and safety of a new child.
Either way, take comfort in knowing that baby brain is normal, common, and generally temporary. Though, exactly how "temporary" is yet unknown. Researchers are eager to find out -- and actively researching -- to find out just how long baby brain lasts beyond pregnancy. Mommy brain, anyone?? It's also important to know that while brain performance is lower during this time, it still falls within the range of normal, and it is possible to achieve heightened focus if required to.
Research continues at Deakin University and The Baby Brain Research Project is actively recruiting new participants. If you are pregnant in your first trimester; or actively trying for a baby or are hoping to become pregnant in the next 6 months; or are not pregnant, have never been pregnant, and are not planning to become pregnant, you may be eligible to participate. Visit the site to learn more and be part of an important collection of resources for families everywhere!