There’s a lot to think about when you’re pregnant. Whether you’re prepping your home for your new arrival or wondering if you remembered to add fries to that late night pregnancy craving order, everyone knows moms-to-be have a lot on their mind. Which is why “pregnancy brain,” or the temporary fog that many women report as part of their pregnancies, is especially frustrating.
However, you shouldn’t be alarmed. Dr. Sherry A. Ross, OBGYN, and author of She-ology: The Definitive Guide to Women’s Intimate Health. Period., explains that estrogen, progesterone, and oxytocin hormones affecting the brain during pregnancy are responsible for “momnesia.” Between the lack of sleep, excitement of new responsibility, and multi-tasking, momnesia can even affect moms even after giving birth. The hormones may change, but your responsibilities will only increase once you’ve got a whole new human to keep an eye on.
Here, eight women describe how pregnancy brain affected them:
1. “Pregnancy brain is real. I didn’t believe it at first but it happened to me. It became really evident as I was teaching Zumba classes and I’d forget choreography that I’d already been doing for months. I also continuously left my iPod in different spots at the gym after class or I’d walk out with the iPod still plugged into the speakers. I also forgot someone’s name I was interviewing mid-conversation.”—Terri, 29
2.“Just imagine completely forgetting what you were about to do in just about every task you attempt to complete. That’s pregnancy brain. You do random things you don’t remember doing, like putting a pitcher of juice in the cupboard, losing your cell phone for days on end, and even what you did in the previous hour! The best way I can explain it is like having short bursts of Alzheimer’s throughout the day.”—Demia, 31
3. “I was absolutely convinced that as an ‘older’ pregnant woman, my brain wouldn’t be susceptible to ‘pregnancy fog.’ Wrong. I had always been able to remember and process large amounts of information quickly. But growing a human takes away from everyday brain power. I started keeping pens and post-it notes in my bag to jot down things as well as making notes in my phone. It almost feels like I am checking my homework at the end of the night to see if it is done. If it is not written down, chances are I will forget and remember weeks later. Pregnancy brain feels like waking up, needing a coffee, having it, but it never really kicks in. Somehow you manage to get through it by modifying the simplest of tasks. In the beginning it was really frustrating, but now I am empowered by all that my body and brain can do at one time, with a little help and organization!”—Rubina, 38
4. “My memory was never any good, but no one would ever believe me until I was pregnant! The moment I became pregnant and forgot something, everyone chucked it up to ‘pregnancy brain’ fog. It was like people expected me to forget stuff when I was pregnant. If I missed a doctor’s appointment or got there late, I’d be excused because I was pregnant. It was great because I didn’t have to explain why I forgot something important, people just knew it came with being pregnant and didn’t ask questions.”—Sanaa, 25
5. “I’m not sure I ever believed in pregnancy brain until experiencing it for myself. I have to write to-do lists on my phone just to remember to paint my nails! My husband has noticed too. Recently, I came home from work, lit a candle in my bedroom, and went to put on a face mask. Afterwards, I sat in bed and — not thinking — I reached for the candle and took a drink from it thinking I had poured myself water, but instead managed to get hot wax on my face. All I know is I’m looking forward to meeting my little guy soon and remembering the little things again!”— Molly, 29
6. “Before having my son I was able to tell you exactly what outfit I wore going back months! This was before social media documented everything, too. Then I noticed my memory started to change while I was pregnant. I would leave my keys in the door while entering my home. I would unpack all the groceries only to leave the meat on the counter ’til my husband came home to find it hours later. It hasn’t gotten worse as my son has grown, but it definitely hasn’t gotten better. Now, if it isn’t written down there is no guarantee it will get accomplished.”—Alessa, 31
7. “I am a super Type A person, so ‘pregnancy brain’ was pretty frustrating. Nothing too drastic happened – no leaving a burner on and almost burning down my house or leaving something valuable in a public place – but there were several times I would actually forget what I was saying or would completely lose my train of thought. I would open the refrigerator and forget what I opened it to get. Or I would be typing out an email at work and write someone else’s name in the greeting because of overhearing someone say something totally unrelated. You really feel like you might actually be going crazy. The fuzziness was the worst in the first trimester and then cleared for the most part, thank God. Luckily, no lasting mistakes – just embarrassment!”—Kelsey, 27
8.“Pregnancy brain (thankfully) didn’t impact me at work, but there was a definite uptick in absentmindedness at home. I’d forget where I put something only minutes before, couldn’t remember where things needed to be put away, and forget conversations with my husband right after they happened. We were both able to laugh it off but sometimes it was frustrating to know that it was happening and our friends without kids couldn’t understand why I was suddenly such a dingbat.“—Kate, 31