I think that anyone who has been pregnant or has been around someone who is pregnant notices that it isn’t just a woman’s mid-section that changes with pregnancy. Pregnancy seems to change just about everything and the brain is no exception.
The complaints about “pregnancy brain” used to seem so silly to me, that is until the time I apparently brought the downstairs remote control upstairs, couldn’t figure out why it wouldn’t control our upstairs TV and declared the downstairs one missing and the upstairs TV broken. For two days. Until my husband figured out what I did wrong. Apparently it was the two remote controls on my bedside table that tipped him off.
It turns out that the hormone surge that makes me want to strangle the people who drive 5mph under the speed limit in the fast lane is the same hormone surge that may be responsible for “pregnancy brain.” And those brain changes may be permanent.
Now, as a caveat, the studies that show these findings are relatively new and most of them were done on pregnant rats, but the list of things that scientists have learned about brain changes during pregnancy are pretty astounding.
It turns out that during pregnancy you produce new brain cells that work specifically for smell, and they last for the rest of your life. The theory is that these cells make you a better mother because you can recognize your offspring’s smell throughout their lives. I think it also reinforces how much you need to make sure your kids bathe regularly since you’re going to be able to smell them extra-well forever. But that’s just me.
Another discovery in these studies was that baby movements in utero affect mom in more than just a ooh and ah kind of way. When your baby kicks, your heart rate increases, even if you can’t feel the kicks. It’s not known exactly how this nervous system response changes the brain, but the idea is that it helps mom bond with the baby. And at least for me, that couldn’t be more true. I practically explode with happiness when my baby kicks, and I promise you I’m not being the least bit sarcastic.
Now, the downside to all these changes is that as your brain is being modified by these hormone surges you may have less available focus to remember where you put your remote controls or the password to your email account. It’s just another example of a mom tradeoff.
Your brain is busy turning you into a more prepared mother, so as embarrassing and inconvenient as these lapses in coherent thoughts are, I think they’re probably worth it in the end.
Source: Fox News