When Does Pregnancy Brain (Momnesia) Start?

Pregnancy brain syndrome is a kind of forgetfulness syndrome that may occur during pregnancy. But this definition is still debatable since there is no plenty of research to confirm this issue. Some women report about forgetfulness that strikes when they are being pregnant! Even it may also strike shortly after becoming mothers. So, when does it start? Does it really exist or is it just a myth?

pregnancy_or_baby_brain_illustrationThis syndrome is also familiar called as ‘momnesia’ or ‘baby brain’ – a term used to point the idea that an early motherhood /pregnancy can affect the way of a woman’s memory to work. Since there are now a lot of reports about this symptom, some studies began researching the existence of baby brain.

Unfortunately there is still no clearly answer to confirm this issue. Most of these studies found conflicting results when examined the link between changes in women’s memory and their pregnancy /the early stages of motherhood. What else you should know?

What are signs of this syndrome – what does it feel like?

Signs of momnesia are closely similar to the common signs of regular forgetfulness. These may include:

  1. Gotten lost driving, particularly on the streets that you know completely before.
  2. You often forget to certain topic that you want to discuss with your friends. As a result, you may often stop your conversation because you suddenly lose the subject of your conversation.
  3. You often forget to an appointment that you have made.
  4. Forgotten some names of your friends and your pets. Even you may sometimes forget the names of your partner /husband or even your name!
  5. You often forget when you put your keys.
  6. Etc.

If in the previous 2 weeks you experience one or some of those symptoms – and you are also being pregnant or after birth (in the early stages of motherhood), you may be suffering a condition called baby brain /pregnancy brain /momnesia!

Women with this syndrome can lose their memory of what they went /did for about 5-10 times a day! Though pregnancy brain can generate many problems to the women experiencing this, but some experts also have theory that it may help a pregnant woman more focus on caring for the child.

Pregnancy brain syndrome is not myth – it is real, but…?

As mentioned before, many pregnant women /new mother report that they don’t feel as sharp as before pregnancy. But many experts still believe that a pregnancy will not change or decrease a woman’s brain memory.

However there are also some studies found that pregnancy may contribute in causing deficits in memory, while other research found that the capacity of brain of some pregnant women is unaltered during pregnancy.

Overall, the issue of pregnancy can affect a woman’s memory during pregnancy /shortly afterward is still debatable, but in fact the issue of momnesia is now so widely accepted.

Then, when does the pregnancy brain syndrome start? Keep reading!

The possible causes of baby brain syndrome

In general, it is perfectly normal and very common to be forgetful and have memory lapses when we are at stressful period, being very busy, or having lack /short of sleep. When you are multitasking or having poor sleep (sleep deprivation), you are more likely to have poor memory – and this is 100 percent normal!

There are some possible reasons & causes of why decreased memory may occur during pregnancy and even after birth (for some new moms). The following are pieces of information about these causes:

Hormonal changes and new priorities

Did you know that your estrogen and progesterone during pregnancy can go up to 15-40 times higher than when you are not pregnant?

Your body also will produce a lot of oxytocin in order to trigger your uterus for contraction by the time of your delivery. Huge surges of oxytocin are also needed to trigger milk for breastfeeding. And these processes scan affect the way of brain circuits to work!

The elevated level of some pregnancy hormones may have a significant contribution to impair the brain memory (spatial memory) during and after pregnancy (shortly afterward) — according to a British Study. These hormones may affect a lot of neurons in the brain – more research are needed to find the completely answer!

Other possible factors

These may include:

  1. Women are also at higher chance of developing mood changes (including stress) and sleep deprivation during pregnancy – and these factors with many hormonal changes during pregnancy can probably be the major cause of baby brain syndrome.
  2. Misconception in understanding momnesia! As well we know that today this syndrome is very widely accepted, and this may cause some new mothers & pregnant women to be more aware of daily cognitive slips – as a result, most of them might mistakenly interpret themselves as having memory problem /trouble thinking.
  3. Many new mothers and pregnant women are more likely to spend a lot of time thinking about the new changes & adjustments that having a newborn will bring /taking care of their baby – as a result, their short-term memory may be impaired!

So, when does pregnancy brain start?

There is no clearly answer for the exact time of when this kind of syndrome starts. Some women experience it in their early pregnancy (first weeks of the first trimester), while others reports that it occurs in the weeks of the second and third trimester.