Posts Tagged ‘
Pregnancy Brain ’
Tuesday, April 7th, 2015
Last summer, I sent a half dozen emails to my editor at work, all of which bounced back before I finally reached out to a personal address to ask what the heck was going on. Yeah, so… it turned out I’d sent all those emails to an address she’d had when we’d worked together at a previous job, years earlier! Oops. Like many other things, I blamed the mess-up on so-called “pregnancy brain.”
But there’s bad news out now for people like me who scapegoat “pregnancy brain” for all the times we seem to goof up tasks that would have otherwise been obvious and easy: Science says it’s not actually a thing!
Neuroscientists at Brigham Young recently came out with the findings of a study that showed no meaningful difference in the brains of pregnant and postpartum women versus women who were not pregnant.
To get their findings, researchers spent three hours analyzing 42 women, half pregnant and half not. They evaluated the participants for memory, problem-solving skills, and comprehension. In all of those areas, the women from both groups all performed at the same level.
Interestingly, although the pregnant women were actually doing fine, they felt they were falling behind cognitively. Dr. Michael Larson, lead author of the study, said that’s because of pressures from society.
“There’s a big stereotype out there that when you get pregnant… you’re not going to perform as well, and especially that your memory will go down,” Larson wrote. “That stereotype definitely plays a big role, in our interpretation, in why they feel they’re not doing as well.”
What do you think: Does (or did) pregnancy brain feel real to you?
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Alesandra Dubin is a new twin mom. She’s also a Los Angeles-based writer and the founder of home and travel blog Homebody in Motion. Follow her on Facebook, Instagram, Google+ and Twitter.
Photo courtesy of Shutterstock
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Tuesday, May 13th, 2014
Driving with a baby bump may lead to a bumpy ride! You know that “pregnancy brain” everyone keeps talking about? It could be affecting your driving too. According to a study published in the Canadian Medical Association Journal, women have more car crashes when they are pregnant than any other times in their lives. “It amounts to about a 1 in 50 statistical risk of the average woman having a motor vehicle crash at some point during her pregnancy,” said Dr. Donald Redelmeier, a researcher with the Institute for Clinical Evaluative Sciences in Toronto.
When you think about it, it shouldn’t be so surprising, as Dr. Redelmeier explains: “A normal pregnancy is associated with fatigue, nausea, insomnia, anxiety, and distraction. All those changes could contribute to driver error.”
What is shocking, however, is that during the second trimester, a woman’s odds of being behind the wheel in a multi-car accident—one that was bad enough to send her to the emergency room—were 42 percent greater than they were in the three years before she became pregnant. But in a woman’s third trimester, when her belly is at her biggest, she presumably drove more cautiously, because the risk of a crash was significantly lower than even before she was pregnant.
So why the increase in crashes during the second trimester? The thought is that women in the first trimester, when they could be at their queasiest, either have someone else drive or that they are super-cautious because they know they don’t feel their best, and the idea of being a mom is brand new, so they are on their best behavior in all facets of their lives. And in their third trimester, their super-sized bellies are a constant reminder that they have a baby onboard who needs protecting. But in the second trimester, when most women are feeling like their old selves—after the morning sickness subsides for most—they are more likely to let their guards down and let their minds drift.
The conclusions were formed by looking at records for more than 500,000 women who gave birth in Ontario. The women were tracked for four years before and one year after the births. The researchers counted each car crash that was serious enough for a woman to show up in an emergency room.
Before pregnancy, the number of serious crashes for all the women, as drivers, was 177 per month, an annual rate of 4.5 per 1,000. That stayed steady in the first month of pregnancy. By the fourth month, the same women were having 299 serious crashes a month, or an annual rate of 7.6 per 1,000. The rate fell sharply by the last month of pregnancy, to 2.7 per 1,000—and stayed low the year after the births.
Researchers point out that this doesn’t mean women shouldn’t be driving while pregnant, they just need to pay extra-attention to the road. According to USA Today, The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists urges pregnant women to always buckle up with a lap and shoulder belt, keep air bags turned on, and keep 10 inches between the steering wheel and their breastbones. And pregnant passengers should move front seats back as far as possible or sit in back seats, says the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.
No matter which trimester you’re in, just keep reminding yourself that you’re carrying precious cargo!
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Image of pregnant woman driving courtesy of Shutterstock.
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Thursday, May 9th, 2013
True to her beyond-ditzy character, Brittany, on Glee, when it came time for Heather Morris to share her baby news with her cast mates, she came down with a bad case of pregnancy brain. Costar Matthew Morrison, who plays teacher Mr. Schuester on the show, tells BANG Showbiz, “It’s funny, when she told me—I think I was one of the first people—she whispered in my ear, ‘I’m 13 months pregnant’, and I was like, ‘Months?’ and she said, ‘I mean 13 weeks!’”
Don’t make fun of her, because you’ll realize soon enough, if you haven’t already, that when you’re pregnant the strangest things come out of your mouth—if you can even find the words at all. It’s not that you become stupid, or that your IQ drops or anything—it’s just that the strangest things seem to misfire in your head. When I was pregnant, I’d mix up people’s names, use the wrong word in a sentence, and my brain would constantly go blank mid-thought and I’d forget what I was talking about all together. It was the most bizarre feeling—my mind and my mouth just wouldn’t match up!
I interviewed Heather in 2011 for her cover story in Fitness magazine, and the smart woman I met is anything but the airhead she plays on TV (though she’s just as funny and as good at delivering one-liners as her alter ego). I truly think she’s going to be a great mom, because even then all she talked about was how she wanted to start a family with her boyfriend Taylor Hubbell, a former baseball player for the University of Louisiana at Lafayette.
I wish her the best. I think she’ll have no problems adjusting to mommyhood. She’s already an awesome aunt (She showed me pictures of her adorable nieces on her iPhone—she was so proud!). So my only advice to her is to not be too hard on herself because if she’s anything like I was, I’m sure that gaffe won’t be the last case of pregnancy brain before she gives birth. She’s reportedly due this October—just in time for season five of Glee.
Tell us: Have you had a case of pregnancy brain? What’s the funniest thing you’ve said?
Image of Heather Morris courtesy of Shutterstock.
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