If you have ever had a baby, there’s a term that might seem very familiar to you: baby brain. While not overly flattering, the phrase ‘baby brain’ refers to the decreased cognitive abilities that many new mothers and fathers experience in the first few months following the birth of their child. Put simply, it means having difficulty with everything from remembering why you looked into the fridge to completely basic mathematics. But is baby brain just an urban legend, or is it something every new parent will likely experience? And if it is real, what is there we can do about it?
Let’s find out!
Let’s Break Baby Brain Down Further
As mentioned above, the popular phrase baby brain is used to describe the persistent forgetfulness and lack of focus after giving birth. The phenomenon is so widely believed that many mothers-to-be ask their doctors for help in combating it. However, there has been no research to support such a syndrome. It’s true, however, that new mothers are sleep deprived and possibly anxious, but if they do experience symptoms of memory loss or confusion, there’s little chance that these things are a permanent disorder. Most women bounce back within a few months after giving birth (thankfully).
Symptoms of Baby Brain
Symptoms vary, but many mothers will experience erratic periods of confusion, forgetfulness, and absentmindedness in which they can't recall names, words, etc. Experts believe it is caused by multiple factors; most notably, higher levels of estrogen and other hormones that affect emotions and behaviour during pregnancy, while also noting that motherhood means taking on more responsibility—both at home and work—than ever before. This may translate into a lack of sleep or difficulty concentrating due to stress.
How To Deal With Baby Brain
As a new parent, it is important to expect and accept that the experience is likely to affect your memory, mood, energy levels and ability to concentrate. It varies amongst mothers and fathers, but will not last forever. After delivering your baby, take time off from work (if possible), to minimise your focus and responsibilities on your new parenting roles. In time, your mental sharpness is likely to return back to normal levels once you get back into a routine and more familiar with this new life. In addition to exercising daily (which helps with memory) and sticking with a regular sleep schedule as much as possible (restful sleep can help improve concentration), the key is to preserver!
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