09 February 2009

Pregnancy brain: myth or reality?

Alyson Hannigan of 'How I Met Your Mother' recently noted that being pregnant makes her feel like a stoned Koala bear. "I get tired a lot and I have pregnancy brain, which I never realized was a thing but it is," the expectant mom said on The Ellen DeGeneres Show Friday.

Contrary to popular belief, however, a new study reveals that having babies actually SHARPENS women's brains. A 10-year study into the phenomenon by scientists at the Australian National University in Canberra concludes that "baby brain" is an urban myth. Instead of suffering a slump in mental and verbal abilities during the early stages of motherhood, women's cognitive abilities improve when they become pregnant.

"We found that women who were pregnant during the second or third batch of interviews performed the same on tests of logic and memory as they did before, and there was no difference between the pregnant women and the controls," said Professor Helen Christensen, who is director of the centre for mental health research at the university in Canberra.

"It really leaves the question open as to why [pregnant] women - and, often, their partners - think they have poor memories, when the best evidence we have is that they don't," she said. "Perhaps women notice minor lapses in mental ability and then attribute it to being pregnant because that is the most significant thing in their mind at the time. Or sleep deprivation could mask the positive cognitive effects." Christensen believes the improvements in mothers' mental abilities could be permanent.

What do you think? Does pregnancy brain exist?

Sources: http://www.guardian.co.uk/science/2009/feb/08/pregnancy-maternity-sharpen-womens-brains

No comments:

Creative Commons License
The Baby Bump Project by Meredith Nash is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 United States License.