What is Mom Brain and is Mommy Brain Real?

What is Mom Brain and is Mom Brain Real - Let's Talk Titties Blog - Mommy Brain - Titty City Design

Estimated read time: 13 minutes

Let's talk about brain fog in motherhood. Is this a myth or is there truth in this? 

Have you ever forgotten your phone number? Misplaced your car keys even though you were sure they were in your purse? Forgotten someone’s name who you’ve met a couple of times before?

Well, if you’re pregnant, or a mom, and these situations sound familiar, then you might be suffering from a natural phenomenon called pregnancy brain fog, or mom brain.

But what is mom brain? Is mom brain real? And heck – how long does mommy brain last anyway?! Don’t worry mama, we’re here to answer all your brain fog questions and show you why we believe mom brain needs to be rebranded.

In this article:

 

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What is Mom Brain? 

While it can be a useful thing to “blame it all on mom brain,” the truth is a woman’s brain really does change not just during pregnancy but after she gives birth.

Whether it’s slipping your mind why you went into the kitchen, blanking on your friend’s partner’s name, or putting the remote down and almost immediately forgetting where you put it, mom brain could be the reason. While mom brain, or mom mental fog, can sometimes feel alarming, don’t worry mama. These little slips are completely normal not to mention very common, so try not to worry.

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Why does Mom Brain happen? 

So, why does mom brain happen? Brain fog in motherhood is super common. Our brains are constantly changing things. They adapt as we learn things, experience things, and especially when we fall pregnant and become moms. Motherhood and forgetfulness happen.

During pregnancy, gray matter decreases in some parts of the brain and then increases in some areas after giving birth. Some research shows that these postpartum cognitive changes can help you be a better caregiver.

And this is why we think parental memory loss, also known as mom brain, needs to be rebranded. Yes. It can make you feel foggy, forgetful, and kinda like you’re losing your mind…but the physical changes that occur in your brain when you’re pregnant and after giving birth can help you be an even better mom to your baby. 

These are the physical changes* that occur in the brain of a new mom:

  • The hippocampus gets smaller. This part of the brain is in charge of your memory and word recall.
  • The amygdala becomes larger. This is where emotions come from and could explain why you cry easily or feel too stressed to keep a lunch date with your friend. 
  • Your prefrontal cortex gets smaller. This is where executive function takes place and why mom brain can make planning difficult.


 *According to obstetrician and gynecologist, Amy Richter, MD

While it may sound freaky, these changes can be seen as nature’s way of helping you become a great parent. You’re suddenly spending all your time caring for your little one and your focus has shifted from you to your baby. Your brain is attuned to the most important thing - keeping your gorgeous babe safe, happy, and healthy. 

Mom brain doesn’t sound so bad now, does it? It kind of makes it sound like a superpower. And we are all for that!

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Pregnancy Brain Fog

OK, so before we get into the question of is mom brain real, let’s look at what happens before you become a mom. Specifically, pregnancy brain fog. OK. You’ve probably heard of it, and you’ve possibly experienced it, but what is pregnancy brain? 

The first thing we have to do is clarify something. Is mom brain real? Yes! Pregnancy brain fog, or pregnancy brain, is very real. In fact, there have been multiple studies and research around pregnancy brain fog which revealed a relation between being pregnant and poorer performance of typical cognitive functions and that it affects many pregnant people and moms.  

Mom brain is a phenomenon used to explain the commonly experienced cognitive changes that happen to women while pregnant postpartum. So before anyone dismisses your symptoms as you’re just being clumsy, or, you’re just forgetful, know that pregnancy brain fog is - while not a sanctioned medical condition - can be very real and is very common. You are definitely not alone mama.

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The Most Common Symptoms of Pregnancy Brain

OK, so before we get into the question of is mom brain real, let’s look at what happens before you become a mom. Specifically, pregnancy brain fog. OK. You’ve probably heard of it, and you’ve possibly experienced it, but what is pregnancy brain? 

The most common symptoms of pregnancy brain:

  • Memory lapses

  • Forgetfulness

  • Clumsiness

  • Poor concentration

  • Absentmindedness

  • Difficulty maintaining focus

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Why does Pregnancy Brain Fog happen?

While it’s not totally clear what leads to the symptoms of pregnancy brain fog, there are a few possible reasons. Some of these include:

  • Hormones | Those lovely pregnancy hormones estrogen and progesterone among others can produce symptoms that can affect brain function and cognition.
  • Stress | Oh we’ve all felt this. Being pregnant and being a mom means you have a lot on your plate and lots on your mind. When this happens, it can make it tricky to concentrate, which in turn can lead to being forgetful and absentminded.
  • Tiredness | It’s no secret that being a mom and being pregnant can leave you zapped of energy. Combine this with poor sleep or even lack of sleep, and it’s easy to see why fatigue can lead to having a foggy brain.
  • Morning sickness | If you suffer from morning sickness (or all-day sickness, let’s be real), it’s likely you feel worn down and fuzzy. Another possible cause of mommy brain.

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There is also research that suggests being pregnant can lead to memory impairment and a reduced attention span, which trickles its way into the postpartum period after giving birth.

But, let’s be real. The mental load of parenthood and its impact on the endless tasks and distractions can make anyone feel foggy. All your attention is now towards your baby and their needs, and your brain is actively learning and helping you keep your baby alive and well. That’s pretty awesome if you ask us.

Even though there has been all this research, the general medical consensus is still out on whether or not pregnancy brain fog is an actual sanctioned medical condition. But if you’ve experienced it, you’ll know it’s very real for you.

Is memory loss during pregnancy normal?

Just remember that these symptoms are normal, and if you have them you are definitely not alone. As we mentioned before, having mom brain can make you a better caregiver. It kick-starts structural changes in the brain that can make your brain more efficient when it comes to parenting, from fostering attachments to your baby to making you more attuned to their needs. 

 

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What to do to Combat Mommy Brain

Now you know what mommy brain and pregnancy brain fog is, and why it can actually be pretty amazing, you might be wondering if there is anything you can do to help yourself through the fog – pun intended. 

Cognitive changes after childbirth just happen. While you can’t prevent or get rid of mommy brain, there are some things you can do to help manage it. 

We put together some tips for coping with mom brain and ways to improve the mental fog and managing forgetfulness as a mom. Although these aren't exactly mom brain solutions, we do have tips for improving mom memory.

1. Lists are a mom's best friend

It doesn’t matter if it’s on your phone or in a notepad, but making lists can be a real lifesaver. Use a list to keep mental tabs on everything you have on your mind when it happens; groceries, washing, calls you need to make, arrangements you need to respond to, important dates you need to remember, etc. You can also use your phone to set up helpful reminders when you need them. 

2. Be kind to yourself

We’ve already seen that memory lapses and fogginess due to mom brain can happen to every pregnant person or mom. So go easy on yourself. Don’t criticize yourself if you do get a little forgetful. This can add to your stress levels and make you feel worse.

3. Rely on support

It takes a village to raise a child, and your support network is your village. Speak to friends and family and ask for help if you need it. This isn’t a sign of weakness. Of course you can do it all on your own but you shouldn’t have to. You have people around you who love you and want to help.

4. Talk to other moms

Nothing can make you feel less alone than knowing there are other people out there who feel the same way you do. Think about joining some pregnancy or parent support groups or just chat to your friends who are also parents. You’ll see you’re not alone and they might even have some awesome advice you can use.

5. Get sleep when you can

Sleep deprivation and cognitive performance go hand in hand. Sleep refreshes the brain and even though it might be hard to grab those extra precious hours of Z’s, you need to look after yourself. Ask friends, family, or your partner to take over so you can take a nap and feel restored.

6. Hydrate yourself

Make sure you drink plenty of water. Even mild dehydration can have adverse effects, impairing your ability to focus and zapping your energy. Treat yourself to our Titty Tumbler which is perfect for sipping throughout the day.

7. Play brain games

Instead of switching on Netflix, try playing a brain game instead. Crosswords, sudoku, word searches, and solitaire are all great games that help create new neural pathways, which can make you feel sharper overall.

8. Eat brain-boosting food

Fill up on foods like fish, beans, eggs, wholegrain bread, oatmeal, sweet potato, dark, leafy greens, and dark chocolate. 

9. Exercise

If your doctor says it’s OK, working out regularly to the best of your abilities can not only help keep you healthy, but it can sharpen your memory and help you sleep better at night, increasing your alertness during the day.

 

TIP: Remember, a little forgetfulness and fogginess during pregnancy and parenthood is normal. But if you’re having a lot of trouble concentrating or focusing, or if you’re feeling sad most days, it might be worth speaking to your doctor about the possibility of postpartum depression.

 

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Is Mom Brain Real?

You bet it is Mama!

And even though we understand having pregnancy brain fog or mommy brain can be a bit of a pain in the butt, we hope we’ve shown you how mom brain should be seen as a superpower.

Memory challenges in motherhood and even when used in a joking manner, the terms ‘mommy brain,’ and ‘pregnancy brain’ add to the preconception that having a baby somehow makes you less capable. But this couldn’t be further from the truth. Even though feeling foggy, forgetful, and distracted can be annoying, the changes in your brain during pregnancy and postpartum could be nature’s way of helping you be the best mama possible.

So if you do have pregnancy brain, don’t worry Breastie. You’re doing an amazing job and we are so proud of you. 

If you enjoyed this article, make sure to share it on social media, send the link to fellow mom friends, and join our supportive online mom community on Instagram and TikTok @tittycitydesign.

At Titty City Design, we believe that every boobie is beautiful, and that should be celebrated. We are a female-owned and operated, small business here to spread self-love and body positivity with our line of boob apparel, boob accessories, and boob-themed decor and products for the home. A portion of our proceeds goes to help support postpartum people and breast cancer patients.

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