Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Where is my Mind?

I am starting to notice some effects of the "pregnancy brain fog" they say happens when your body is busy making a baby. I've locked myself out of the house (and had to crawl in through the window), put things back in odd places (what, the chips don't belong with pots and pans?!), and just plain forgotten what the heck it was that I was doing. Here is what What to Expect says of baby brain fog:

"Didn't realize that feeling like a ditz was part of being pregnant? Here's why you've suddenly become an airhead, and what you can do about it.

What it is: Pregnancy-induced brain fog, a true (and truly frustrating) hallmark of pregnancy. You may forget appointments, what you just walked into the store for, where you left your purse, whether you turned off the stove — and maybe, your phone number.

What causes it: As usual in pregnancy, it's just your hormones having some fun, this time at the expense of your memory. And believe it or not, your brain-cell volume actually decreases during the third trimester of pregnancy (which could explain why you can't remember what you just read about in that last paragraph). Not to worry, your brain will plump back up a few months after delivery.

What you need to know about it: First of all, pregnancy forgetfulness is completely normal — and extremely common. It's also temporary — you'll have total recall again long before you start to have your "senior moments." And try not to be too hard on yourself, as stress will only cloud your brain even more.

What you can do about forgetfulness:

  • Write it down. If you really need to remember something — an appointment or to take your prenatal vitamin, for example — leave a big note in an obvious place. You might also stash a notepad and pen in easy-to-remember spots like your purse, your car, and your bathroom.
  • Turn high tech — using your Palm Pilot, Blackberry, laptop, or other electronic organizer to help keep you, well, organized and less forgetful.
  • Reduce the number of things you need to remember — cut down on what you're responsible for by delegating some jobs to others. Easier said than done, but worth a go. (You'll forget about the less important stuff, anyway.)
  • Have a sense of humor about this airhead stage and encourage your partner to do the same. Who cares if you left the car keys in the refrigerator?
  • Forget about taking the herbal supplement gingko biloba. This "memory-booster" has not been proven safe for use during pregnancy.
  • Expect the haze to hang in during the first weeks after you give birth. Fatigue may take the place of hormones as the primary culprit, but that too shall pass."

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