“Pregnancy brain” is a genuine sense of fogginess that makes it difficult for pregnant women to concentrate or remember things that they would typically remember before becoming pregnant. For other women, pregnancy brain is an unfortunate stereotype that can “undermine a woman’s confidence” in her mind and body while pregnant.

Doctors are divided on whether pregnancy brain is real or if it’s a myth lived through a shared cultural conception of what it is to be pregnant. A 2014 study from Brigham Young University (BYU) found that there was no correlation between impaired cognitive function and pregnancy. Researchers at BYU are confident that absentmindedness or forgetfulness is not due to pregnancy. In fact, the BYU research noted that the women in the study performed well, even when they thought they weren’t.

So, if pregnancy brain isn’t real, then why do so many women report experiencing these symptoms?

One popular answer points to the added fatigue and stress that stems from pregnancy. Pregnant women are frequently fatigued, particularly in the first and last trimester. They may feel tired or sleepy even after a full night of sleep due to the change in hormones. It’s easy to understand how fatigue could contribute to absentmindedness pregnant women experience. Haven’t we all felt a little “out of it” after missing a few hours of sleep or after a particularly stressful day? Now add a surge of hormones and a growing baby into the mix – it’s easy to see how you could have forgotten where you left your keys.

It’s important for women to remember to give themselves a break during pregnancy. It’s OK to forget things from time to time or feel a little absentminded every now and then because it likely just means that you’re long overdue for a rest. Should you have any concerns about your pregnancy, or would like to discuss your symptoms with your provider, please contact PGOMG.