When it comes to becoming a mom, there are a lot of changes that occur in a woman’s life. From the physical changes that happen during pregnancy to the emotional and mental changes that happen after giving birth, becoming a mother is a transformative experience. One of the most commonly discussed changes that women experience after giving birth is the phenomenon known as “mommy brain.” But is mommy brain really a real thing? And if so, how long does it last? In this article, we’ll explore these questions.
Is Mommy Brain a Real Thing?
There is no doubt that mommy brain is a real phenomenon that affects many new moms. In fact, research has shown that there are actual changes that occur in the brain during pregnancy and after giving birth that contribute to cognitive changes in new moms. According to a study published in the journal Nature Neuroscience, there is a decrease in gray matter volume in the brains of women during pregnancy and in the first few months after giving birth. This reduction in gray matter volume is particularly notable in the areas of the brain responsible for social cognition, which could explain why new moms often feel more forgetful and have difficulty focusing on complex tasks.
In addition to the physical changes that occur in the brain, there are also hormonal changes that occur during pregnancy and after giving birth that can contribute to mommy brain. According to a study published in the journal Hormones and Behavior, estrogen and progesterone levels decrease rapidly after giving birth, which can contribute to cognitive changes such as forgetfulness, difficulty concentrating, and mood swings.
How Long Does Mom Brain Fog Last?
The duration of mommy brain fog can vary from woman to woman. Some women may experience only mild cognitive changes that last for a few months, while others may experience more significant cognitive changes that last for a year or more. In general, the cognitive changes associated with mommy brain tend to be more pronounced in the first few months after giving birth and then gradually improve over time.
Why Does Having a Baby Really Make Women More Forgetful?
There are a few different factors that contribute to the forgetfulness that many new moms experience. One of the main factors is sleep deprivation. Newborns require frequent feeding and care, which can make it difficult for new moms to get the recommended amount of sleep each night. Lack of sleep can have a significant impact on cognitive function, including memory, attention, and reaction time.
Another factor that contributes to mommy brain is the overwhelming number of responsibilities that come with being a new mom. Not only do new moms have to care for their newborn, but they also have to manage household chores, work, and other responsibilities. All of these demands can lead to increased stress and anxiety, which can also affect cognitive function.
Other factors that contribute to mom brain include lack of sleep, stress, and multitasking. Mothers often have to juggle multiple responsibilities, such as caring for their children, managing the household, and working outside the home. This can lead to mental overload and exhaustion, which can affect cognitive function.
What is Mom Brain?
Mom brain is a term used to describe the changes in cognitive function that many mothers experience during and after pregnancy. It’s characterized by symptoms such as forgetfulness, distraction, difficulty focusing, and fatigue. It’s not a medical diagnosis, but rather a common experience reported by many mothers.
Some researchers believe that mom brain is related to hormonal changes that occur during pregnancy and breastfeeding. The levels of estrogen and progesterone increase during pregnancy, which can affect memory and concentration. After birth, hormone levels drop, which can cause mood swings, fatigue, and forgetfulness.
Symptoms of Mom Brain
The symptoms of mom brain can vary from person to person, but they often include:
- Forgetfulness: You might forget appointments, tasks, or names.
- Distraction: You might have trouble focusing on a task or conversation.
- Mental fog: You might feel like your thoughts are scattered and disorganized.
- Slower processing: You might take longer to process information or make decisions.
- Fatigue: You might feel tired, even after getting enough sleep.
These symptoms can be frustrating and make it challenging to get things done. However, they’re a normal part of motherhood, and they usually improve over time.
Being a mom can be incredibly rewarding, but it can also be challenging. One of the most common challenges that many moms face is dealing with “mom brain” – the feeling of being forgetful, overwhelmed, and unfocused. Luckily, there are some simple steps that you can take to improve your mom brain and feel more like yourself again.
Get Enough Sleep
One of the best things you can do to improve your mom brain is to get enough sleep. When you’re sleep-deprived, it can be hard to focus and remember things. Aim for 7-9 hours of sleep per night, and try to stick to a consistent sleep schedule.
Practicing mindfulness can also help improve your mom brain. Mindfulness involves being present and aware in the moment, which can help reduce stress and improve focus. You can practice mindfulness through meditation, yoga, or even just taking a few deep breaths throughout the day.
Exercise is another great way to improve your mom brain. Exercise releases endorphins, which can boost your mood and help you feel more focused. Aim for at least 30 minutes of exercise most days of the week.
Aromatherapy can also be helpful in improving your mom brain. Essential oils like Sandalwood and frankincense can promote relaxation and reduce stress. You can use them in a diffuser, or apply them topically with a carrier oil.
Take Care of Your Hair
Taking care of your hair may seem like an odd addition to this list, but it can actually have an impact on your mom brain. Using a shampoo and conditioner that is free from sulfates and harsh chemicals can help reduce scalp irritation and inflammation. This can lead to healthier hair and a healthier scalp, which can in turn help improve cognitive function.
Simplify Your Life
If you’re feeling overloaded, try to simplify your life as much as possible. This might mean delegating tasks, saying no to unnecessary commitments, or cutting back on your to-do list.
Stress can make mom brain symptoms worse, so try to find ways to reduce stress in your life. This might include meditation, exercise, therapy, or simply taking breaks when you need them. Set aside time exclusively for yourself. A home spa kit is a great way to pamper yourself and unwind – without leaving your house and leaving baby for too long.
Use Memory Aids
Lists – Keep a pad of paper or even jot down on your phone, keep notes on everything from the last time you gave the baby ibuprofen to the fact that you need to buy diapers the next time you’re at the supermarket. Then, when you have time organize your notes into actionable lists. For instance, you might have a to-do list and a grocery list.
How to improve Mum Brain in Summary?
Go easy on yourself. Memory lapses can happen to all mothers, and criticizing yourself can increase your stress and further cloud your brain.
When you have a rough plan for the day, it gives you some structure and predictability. This will free up your brain to focus on other things rather than mentally trying to plan your day. Put an emphasis on getting some sort of schedule going as soon as you can after birth.
Involve your partner as much as you can. And, if family or close friends live nearby you can ask for their help, especially if you feel like you need a break.
Take self-care seriously and set aside time each day to unwind and rejuvenate! Self-care is not self-indulgence, its self-preservation.
Insert little bits of self-love into every day routines – like leaving on a diffuser with fragrance oils in the lounge. Treat yourself to a spa kit that way you can always slip into the “home spa” when you have the few minutes available. Don’t under estimate the joy of using a luxury hair wash – the feel good, look good hair lasts for days!!!
Focus on the big picture – and value watching your newborn bundle grow up to bring you bundles of joy!