The term “Pregnancy Brain” may sound a bit funny to some, but I am here to tell you that it is a VERY real thing. Managing it can be overwhelming, make you feel like you aren’t handling your duties as a woman, and make you question your mothering capabilities.

It’s important to know that you aren’t alone and that there are some brilliant ways to overcome this nagging problem. So how do you combat pregnancy brain while still keeping your dignity and sanity?

There are plenty of creative options for managing pregnancy brain that will make your life so much easier. Making lists, creating memos, setting alarms, along with many other alternatives, can help boost your memory and combat the symptoms of pregnancy brain.

What is “Pregnancy Brain”?

A lot of people write pregnancy brain off as a myth and one reason for this is that there isn’t enough research done on the occurrence to give a -straight-forward explanation to why pregnancy brain happens. It isn’t until you experience it first-hand that you realize it’s a real thing.

Pregnancy brain, also referred to as “momnesia” is simply defined as forgetfulness during pregnancy. For me, it was leaving my car running for hours while I was at work, inadvertently neglecting doctors’ appointments, forgetting entire conversations and occurrences that happened the day before, etc.

It could be attributed to the changes that occur in our bodies during pregnancy such as elevated hormone levels, fatigue, and sometimes depression. During pregnancy, our hormone levels are at a higher level than at any other time in our lives combined.

Studies have also found that pregnant woman experience a reduction in gray matter in the brain literally shrinking the brain size. This could very well account for the symptoms of pregnancy brain. (Source)

How long does momnesia last?!!!!!

Woman struggle with it daily and it isn’t something that just magically goes away with the birth of your child. Unfortunately, it can last up to two years after giving birth. (Source) The reduction of gray matter in the brain occurs in the area of the brain that is associated with social interactions.

On the bright side, this is thought to help mothers’ bond with their baby, recognize social threats against their baby, and even help them identify the needs of their baby.

One of the struggles we face with this is that we may come off as irresponsible, forgetful, and uncaring to our spouse or even our children because we forget important dates and issues as a result of this irritating problem.

A whopping 80 percent of expectant mommas reported increased forgetfulness during pregnancy so you aren’t alone.

Fortunately, there are ways to combat this problem that you can incorporate into everyday life. Not only will it help you with this issue, but it will help you be more focused and organized in general.

Here are 10 steps to help you combat pregnancy brain naturally:

1. Focus on one thing at a time

As a mother of four, I know this is hard to do. Multi-tasking is something that we do regularly to save time (or so we think). It’s actually proven to slow us down and make us more error prone.

It helps to focus on one important thing at a time but when you have 10 important things that are happening within the next week, it can prove difficult to do this. Try to focus on the thing that is coming up first rather than looking into the future and trying to focus on everything that is coming up.

Once you get the first thing under your belt, THEN move on to the next thing on the schedule. This will keep you from getting too overwhelmed with everyday tasks and activities.

Combining the next suggested technique with this simple process will prove to be a very effective time management and organization tool.

2. Write EVERYTHING down

I know it sounds like a lot, but it will help you TREMENDOUSLY in the long run. You can get a notebook for specific things like a work notebook for work-related things that you need help remembering, a momma notebook where you write down doctors’ appointments, important dates to remember for school, promises made to your children, etc., and a “me” notebook where you write down things you need to remember for yourself.

If you are going to have separate notebooks, don’t forget where you put them; the struggle is real momma.

Post-it notes where ever you need them are also beneficial. Writing everything down helps so much because even without pregnancy brain it’s easy to forget things when you have kids, a job, a husband, and an all-around hectic life.

3. Organize your home

You can help your case by putting things in the correct place so that you don’t have to worry about not being able to find it when you need it. Always put important things out of reach of your children because they WILL get them and lose them. It’s extremely frustrating when you go to get something quick, only to find that it isn’t where you put it, or where you thought you put it. You can avoid this by being organized. It’s never too late to begin and until you do, you will struggle with finding important things daily. Trust me when I say, this will make your life SO MUCH easier!

4. Get enough sleep

It can be extremely hard to get enough rest when you are pregnant, especially when you are in the big and uncomfortable stage but getting enough sleep can contribute to better memory quality. Some ways to naturally induce sleep are, spraying a lavender/water mixture on your pillow at night, getting exercise, and/or reading a book right before bed. Getting enough rest has been proven to trigger changes in the brain that solidify memory, which in turn strengthens connections between brain cells and transferring information from one brain region to another. (Source)

5. Exercise

Studies have found that exercise can help you get the rest you need in order to be able to focus the next day. In a study produced by the University of British Columbia, it was found that aerobic exercise (like running and walking) boosts the size of the hippocampus, which is the area of the brain involved in verbal memory and learning.

Exercise is not only a wonderful way to combat memory loss, but it is also healthy for you and assists your body in countless ways.

6. Make memos and alarms

Sometimes writing everything down doesn’t work alone. You may not even go back and look at your notebooks before an important date. The best way to make SURE you make important dates is to set alarms on your phone.

You can set these alarms for as many days ahead of time as you think you need. That way you don’t have to worry about the date sneaking up on you. I suggest making one for a few days ahead of time as well as hours before.

Melissa’s Tip:

Use an Alexa enable device or Google Assistant device to set reminders. The Google Home Hub my hubby bought me is a life saver!

7. Participate in games that keep the mind sharp

There are plenty of games that were designed to sharpen the brain which, in turn, helps you focus better and improves memory retention. Some brain game websites to try are BrainHQ, Braingle, and SharpBrains. These websites feature plenty of brain teasers and brain games that help to focus the mind and keep the brain sharp.

8. Use Essential oils to boost memory

Many essential oils are known for their memory boosting qualities. Rosemary, Peppermint, Lemon, and Cypress are all helpful when trying to stay focused and alert, just to name a few.

The easiest way to receive this benefit is through diffusion (diffusing 5-10 drops in an essential oil diffuser) but you can also make roller-bottles to take with you on-the-go by mixing 15 to 20 drops of essential oil in a roller-bottle and filling the rest of the bottle with a carrier oil like fractionated coconut oil.

Just shake it up and roll it on behind the ears, on the temple, and other pressure points to receive maximum memory-boosting benefits. You can also inhale them straight from the bottle if you are in a rush.

9. Repeat important things out loud

According to a study, repeating things out loud can increase memory recall. Instead of keeping it in your head, say it out loud to yourself. Sure, people may look at you like you are crazy, but at least you will have a better chance of remembering. You can also exercise this one by telling a friend or loved one.

Just setting a reminder using your voice on an Alexa or Google Assistant device as mentioned in tip #6 will help your brain commit the task at hand to your memory.

As long as it’s said aloud, it should help you retain and remember the information.

10. Eat foods high in DHA

Not only is DHA great for baby’s brain development, but it can also help with momma’s pregnancy brain as well. (Source) The best sources of DHA for pregnancy are eating cold water fish and taking purified fish oil supplements.

Your fish consumption shouldn’t exceed 2 to 3 servings per week because fish can contain mercury and too much mercury can be dangerous during pregnancy.  For this reason, Albacore Tuna should either be avoided or limited to 6 oz per week because it can be high in mercury.

Fight Back!

It is possible to combat pregnancy brain. If you implement the steps above, they should make coping with the symptoms of it significantly easier and it will appear that you have it all together. It’s OK, they don’t have to know our little secret!

Rest assured that your gray matter will return and your hormones will fall back into the normal range, with time.

Until then, do everything you can to beat momnesia so that you can feel like the super-mom you are destined to be.

Don’t forget to pin this so you can easily come back to it when the symptoms really hit and you are desperate to fight back.

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