Forgetting when expecting

  • By Dr. Neha Agrawal


Do you feel your mind is all over the place and you are not able to remember things? Feeling spaced out, forgetful, unable to concentrate properly?

Don’t worry, it is normal.

Pregnancy is a lifetime experience for any woman, and life changing too. The changes a woman experiences in her body during pregnancy are a mix – enjoyable, painful, annoying, funny, sweet, weird, troublesome and beautiful.

The weird ones are quite a class apart. Some of those also affect the mind. One such symptom is forgetfulness during pregnancy.

What is it?

The main symptom is being forgetful during pregnancy. Different terms have been used to describe this – Pregnancy Brain and Momnesia.

Women feel a bit scatter-headed during pregnancy. If you are pregnant, you may have noticed some lack of concentration lately. Short-term memory is not faring too well.

You forgot the doctor’s appointment.

You don’t remember if you took the morning medication or not.

You had planned to call somebody today, but whom?

Your friend is coming to see you, but what time did she say?

You wanted to check out that new collection of mommy clothes, but which street is that store located at?

Your husband called to check on you and asked if you had lunch, you don’t remember if you did.

Has this happened to you? Don’t sweat it out, it is normal to experience some forgetfulness during pregnancy.

Why does it happen?

There is no conclusive medical evidence of why this happens. There are some explanations though.

Your head is full of thoughts during this period. There is a little person growing inside you, everyday is a new day for you and there are a crazy set of changes your body is experiencing. How much can you handle! So, the mind does go a little fuzzy. Your memory may take a relaxation break and may take its own time to process things.

Another reason could be the pregnancy hormones. They come into play and make you flaky during the later stages of pregnancy, around the third trimester. The progesterone and oestrogen levels during pregnancy actually increase the volume of brain. Seriously, no jokes!

A larger brain does not mean more intelligence; instead this could be a reason for memory lapses during the latter days of pregnancy. The intelligence, remains unaffected, IQ is the same. It is just the processing and retrieving of information that is mildly affected.

This phase is completely temporary and is not at all harmful.

The pregnancy hormones are the known culprits here, but researches are not conclusive enough to show definite patterns.
What to do?

Nothing. This means, there is no cause to worry. So, no real intervention or treatment needed. All you need to do is take it in your stride and laugh it off. To avoid day-to-day difficulties, you may like to follow some of the following tips:

Set reminders – For medication, appointments, visits, scheduled tests

Write down – Keep a pen and paper handy, note down the phone numbers, addresses, names, etc. that you may need with details about the same.

Be tech-savvy – If you are the techie kind, explore your phone. There are many tools which will help you organize your activities.

Don’t beat yourself up – It is okay if you forget, don’t put too much pressure on yourself to remember things. Just let it be.

Back up – Husband, friend, mother, relative- share important information with anyone you are comfortable with. Big deal if you forgot the appointment, your husband will remember it. He does not have pregnancy brain, after all!

Relax – Too much thinking, information and activities may be taking a toll on you. When feeling too overwhelmed, just take a deep breath and relax for some time.

Laugh it off – Joke about it, enjoy and find fun in these memory lapses. This is also a lifetime experience.

Forgetting during pregnancy is absolutely normal, common and only transient. Don’t stress it out.