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!
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?
We all know about the importance of taking folic acid and eating well during pregnancy to maintain good health for ourselves and our developing babies. Still, many of us experience pregnancy cravings. And hey, with all the work our bodies are doing to grow those babes, we deserve to embrace those sometimes unhealthy cravings from time to time, right?
I’ll be the first to confess: I was like an animal whenever Red Vines were around last year when I was carrying my twins. And though it’s not my secret to tell, my editor confessed to eating a Sarabeth’s muffin nearly every day while pregnant with her second child, after passing her gestational diabetes test!
Well, if you’re going to indulge in junk food while pregnant, new research suggests there are actually better and worse times to do so for your developing baby.
University of Adelaide researchers have shown there are two important periods when junk food is most dangerous. These latest findings branch off from earlier research that demonstrated that mamas who eat junk food during their pregnancies are laying a foundation for babies who are addicted to a high-fat, high-sugar diet by the time they are weaned.
The new studies show the two times to “turn around this junk food addiction” are in late pregnancy—as well as in adolescence.
“Our research suggests that too much junk food consumed late in pregnancy for humans has the potential to be more harmful to the child than excess junk food early in the pregnancy,” wrote Jessica Gugusheff, post-doctoral researcher in the School of Agriculture, Food and Wine.
The good news is this gives moms a chance to set things right as their pregnancies progress.
Gugusheff wrote, “Importantly, it also indicates that if excess junk food was consumed by the mother in those early stages of pregnancy, there may be a chance to reduce those negative effects on the baby by eating a healthy diet in late pregnancy.”
A new study offers some surprising new ideas on how body clock genes could affect our fertility and proneness to miscarriage.
The research, which comes out of Warwick Medical School and University Hospitals Coventry and Warwickshire NHS Trust and was published in the Journal of the Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology, shows the way in which those genes turn off for a period of time to allow an embryo to implant in the uterus, a key piece of the timing puzzle for conception.
Looking at endometrial cells from the linings of both healthy women as well as those who had experienced miscarriage multiple times, the researchers found that women who experienced those losses might be less capable of regulating the clock genes in their uterine lining.
The study also offers insights about how fertility may be affected in women with atypical work hours—like night shifts.
Most importantly, of course, the researchers hope that identifying this cause of multiple miscarriages might be able to help more people conceive—huge news for anxious couples who are TTC. And it could have significant implications related to IVF, if doctors were able to use knowledge about bio-rhythms to have more success with implanting embryos.
Professor Siobhan Quenby, a consultant obstetrician at Warwick Medical School and UHCW NHS Trust said in a statement, “We hope that [the study] will increase worldwide knowledge about possible reasons for infertility and recurrent miscarriages, so that we are able to help families achieve their dream of having children.”
If you want to stay up on the cute trends in pregnancy announcements, gender reveals, and all things related to sharing news about a baby on the way, there’s one new video that offers a primer of it all rolled up into one!
The video, posted by Cole Cuchna on YouTube and bound to go viral, shows a couple excitedly sharing that they’re expecting right at the beginning. The three-minute stop-motion vid then shows mom-to-be progressing through pregnancy, noting the exciting developments on chalkboards hung on the wall behind them. (Trend number one!)
As the unborn baby develops and gets larger in mama’s womb, the couple notes the various size comparisons with fruits and veggies on those chalkboards. (Trend number two!)
All the while, the couple scurries around to get ready for their growing family, even showing that the room they’re filming in is destined to become they baby’s nursery when they remove the hanging chalkboards to paint the wall in preparation.
Around mid-way, they learn they’re having a girl, and share that gender-reveal news amid a pop of pink confetti raining from above. (Trend number three!)
In the end, the baby comes a week ahead of schedule (the big event happened earlier this month, ) and little miss Mabel appears in the frame in her mama’s arms, yawning sweetly, while the family’s pup also makes a fun cameo in dad’s arms.
One of my favorite parts? Mom manages to wear the very same stretchy black dress throughout her pregnancy! It’s a testament to the power of elastic—one that even worked for me during my twin pregnancy.
This little one is already an internet sensation and is still in the womb! Mom-to-be Jen Cardinal posted her 14 week ultrasound video on Youtube yesterday, and I promise it’s not like any ultrasound you’ve seen before. The unborn baby is actually clapping!
Although the baby did not actually clap seven times like the video shows, “the experience is one I’ll never forget, the baby clapped three times, then the doctor rewound and scrubbed it while we sang,” Cardinal added in a Youtube comment. “No mystery. It was amazing.”
The pair chose to sing “If You’re Happy and You Know It”—an appropriate choice. Cardinal’s unbelievable video already has more than 100,000 views.
Caitlin St John is an Editorial Assistant for Parents.com who splits her time between New York City and her hometown on Long Island. She’s a self-proclaimed foodie who loves dancing and anything to do with her baby nephew. Follow her on Twitter:@CAITYstjohn