Sunday, February 14, 2010

Does Pregnancy Affect Memory? - Motherlode Blog -

When I was pregnant with my first child, I went off to the mall one day to buy baby things. All went smoothly at the first stop, but at the second I left the package I was carrying from store one. I remembered to take my purchase from store two, but then forgot that purchase at store three. This went on about half a dozen times with me retracing my steps across The Galleria for much of the afternoon.

As I retrieved each purchase, the saleswomen were reassuring. After all, they worked at places like Baby Gap and Pea in a Pod; they had seen this before. Don't worry, they said with poorly veiled amusement. It's "pregnancy head." Or "baby brain." Or "mumnesia."

It is also — possibly — a myth. According to this month's issue of The British Journal of Psychiatry pregnancy does not make you forgetful. It makes youthink you are more forgetful because you are already worried about memory loss, theorizes Helen Christensen, the researcher from Australian National University who led the study.

And the reason you might be worried is because prior studies have linked pregnancy, parenting and forgetfulness. But those were based mostly on self-reporting by women during pregnancy and did not compare cognitive performance before, during and after.

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