“Pregnancy Brain” Not All in Your Head: Study
Pregnant women have long suspected it to be true, but a new study out of Australia has confirmed it: carrying a baby can make mothers-to-be more forgetful.
Australian scientists have found that a woman’s memory can be impaired for at least one year after she gives birth, although the effects are minor and generally concern unfamiliar or demanding tasks. “The memory deficits many women experience during and after pregnancy are pretty much like the modest deficits you’d find when comparing healthy 20-year-olds with healthy 60-year-olds,” researcher Julie Henry said.
The study analyzed the results of 14 different global studies that tested the memory performances of more than 1,000 pregnant women, mothers, and women who had not been pregnant. Findings showed that pregnant women performed significantly worse on some, but not all, aspects of the test.
The most difficult tests for the pregnant women were those involving new or difficult tasks. For example, recalling a memorized phone number was easily accomplished; remembering a new phone number or person?s name was harder for the women.
The study, published in the Journal of Clinical and Experimental Neuropsychology, also suggests that so-called “baby brain” can still be evident even a year after giving birth. But because none of the studies has gone beyond that time, it could not determine whether the problem is permanent.