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Is it true that pregnancy can cause memory problems?

Is it true that pregnancy can cause memory problems?


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Maybe – many pregnant women think so! Some studies back up that perception, but others don't.

Pregnancy-induced forgetfulness could be from hormonal changes, disrupted routine, lack of sleep, or simply being preoccupied. We do know that the gray matter in women's brains changes during pregnancy.

A 2018 Australian study analyzed 20 studies involving more than 700 women and concluded that general cognitive functioning, including memory, is significantly poorer in pregnancy. Changes start to develop in the first trimester and are especially apparent by the third trimester.

Another study of 23 women found that spatial recognition memory (remembering how to navigate places, for example) is negatively affected in the second trimester and postpartum. (Other executive functions, such as self-control or the ability to pay attention or organize, were not negatively affected.)

However, over the years, other large studies showed no difference in cognitive abilities (including memory) during or after pregnancy. Other scientists concluded that pregnancy has mild effects on memory, but that women's expectations might be driving those self-reported results. One study reported that memory is negatively affected during pregnancy but only among women with depression.

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Watch the video: The Effects of Brain Injury on Memory (December 2022).

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