Forgetfulness in pregnancy



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Pregnant women tend to be forgetful

Women experience enormous physical and psychological changes during pregnancy and breastfeeding. Many women tend to be forgetful, confused and have difficulty concentrating and finding words. This is not a cause for concern. It can be assumed that the impairments will pass soon after birth.

Pregnancy or breastfeeding dementia is often spoken of. From a medical point of view, however, this is not entirely correct, because "this memory deficit is not permanent," says Silvia Oddo, a psychotherapist specializing in obstetrics at the University Hospital Frankfurt. Dementia, on the other hand, always means a permanent breakdown process.

For experts, this state of affairs is far more than just subjective perception, as various studies have shown. Above all, there is a lack of concentration in activities that require higher memory performance. "Pregnant women or nursing mothers are often no longer able to plan complex actions or regulate their emotions," says the expert. Recent studies show that predictive memory is also affected. For example, pregnant women often have difficulty meeting deadlines that are a few days in the future.

The onset of forgetfulness is not due to structural changes in the brain. "No anatomical connection is known." Rather, science assumes that the memory deficit is based on hormonal changes. After birth, the oxytocin and prolactin levels are increased. The increased hormone release promotes on the one hand the bond to the newborn, but also leads to a focus. "As a result, mother and child live in a microcosm - other areas of life are forgotten," explains Oddo.

Past studies came to similar results In 2008, a total of 14 international studies were evaluated, in which more than 1,000 women had participated. At that time, too, it was found that memory is impaired during pregnancy - and in some cases up to a year after birth. However, according to the study, the effects can only be seen as minor. However, more demanding memory tasks such as multitasking and routine tasks were not affected.

These results are not really surprising. Pregnancy messes up life. "Then the body no longer knows: Should I use myself or the needs of the child?" After giving birth, there is no properly regulated daily routine for mothers. In addition to the deep sleep phases that were already missing during pregnancy, sleep problems due to the new biorhythm can also be added. Memory and concentration disorders are nothing unusual.

The psychotherapist has some tips for mothers. "You should try to sleep through the night." The man could take care of the child at night. In order to get enough sleep and rest, women would also have to learn to leave the household behind. "Especially in the beginning of breastfeeding, the mother should sleep when the child is sleeping, instead of washing dishes or doing the housekeeping." If she does the housework, it is important to finish small things before turning back to the child.
In addition to regular sleep, the brain also needs enough food and fluids to work properly. "Drink a lot and eat a balanced diet," recommends Oddo. Small notes help to remember appointments. "It is also very important to challenge your brain in a different way than just looking after the child and the household." This includes reading the newspaper or meeting friends to chat. (fr)

Image: JMG / pixelio.de

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Video: Pregnancy Symptoms: How to Cope with Pregnancy Brain. Parents


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