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‘Baby Brain’ Is Real, Researchers Say

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Did you forget to book your most recent doctor’s appointment? Have you left your daughter waiting long after her dance has class finished? Did you dress your son in a mismatching outfit? Well, if you’re pregnant, you can legitimately blame these lapses in memory on “baby brain.” According to a new study, that pregnancy-induced mental fog is a real phenomenon.

Researchers at Deakin University in Australia analyzed 20 studies of more than 1,200 women to come to their conclusion, ABC reports. The research, which was published in the latest Medical Journal of Australia, found overall cognitive functioning was poorer in pregnant women than in non-pregnant women.

“General cognitive functioning, memory, and executive functioning (attention to detail, planning, and problem solving) were significantly reduced during the third trimester of pregnancy, but not during the first two trimesters,” the authors wrote.

Although changes in cognitive functioning usually happens between the first and second trimester, they were more obvious in the third trimester. But pregnant mothers shouldn’t be too worried — “baby brain” lapses are likely to be minor, such as forgetting to book appointments, rather than impaired performance at work or an inability to navigate complex tasks.

“It will be more a feeling they have that they’re not quite as on the ball as they normally are,” senior author Linda Byrne said.

Scientists say they’re unsure why memory and some brain functions are impacted by pregnancy, and it’s not yet known whether brain function returns to normal levels after birth. Maybe one day we will be able to blame that forgotten appointment on “mom brain” long after we’ve given birth.

This post was written by Bettina Tyrrell. For more, check out our sister site Now to Love.

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