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09Aug 13

Where did I leave my keys? Memory loss during pregnancy

When I was a first-time mum, I felt like I had lost my marbles! The baby had not arrived yet, and I was feeling so forgetful and out of sorts. I could never remember where my keys were, and once I even found them in the fridge! How did they get there? I can’t remember.

Memory loss during pregnancy

Memory loss during pregnancy


I annoyed my girlfriends by forgetting our coffee dates, and if I went to the supermarket without a grocery list, I would come home with only half of what I needed. Have you ever walked into a room for a specific reason, but when you arrive, you stand there like an idiot because you have forgotten why you had gone there in the first place? Yes? That was me times ten!

Society for Endocrinology

Friends of mine, who were also first-time mums, had the same complaint. Interestingly enough, I later read several studies by the Society for Endocrinology in the UK. Based on their findings, memory loss, especially spacial memory loss, is quite common in pregnant women.

The hormone changes that a woman’s body undergoes can affect the hippocampus, the part of the brain that has to do with memory. That explains why I could never find my keys! The theory is that the hippocampus is altered, but memory that affects the baby is not. It’s as if the body is making the child its number one priority, and thus changing the brain so the mother can focus on the child’s needs. Well, that’s the theory anyway.

Although irritating at times, the memory loss only involved my short-term memory, and not long-term. Thank goodness! And I only noticed my forgetful state during my pregnancy and the first couple months after my child’s birth. Those few months were frustrating, but now I am back to normal!

Remedies for Memory Loss

If you are going through the same issues I did, there are tricks you can use to reduce your short-term memory loss.

  • Get a good night’s sleep. Adults need between 7 and 8 hours, but pregnant women might need a bit more than usual because of the changes in their body. If you feel fatigued, get some rest!
  • Eat your fruits and veggies, especially spinach and broccoli.
  • Use post-it notes ore reminders on your mobile phone!
  • Ask your partner, close friend or family member to help you keep track of important appointments or grocery lists. Most women have a million things on their mind to begin with, so asking for help is completely reasonable.

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