Wednesday, August 24, 2005

Memory Loss in Pregnancy: Fact or Fiction?

For those of you that don't know, my wife and I are expecting our third baby. We have 2 daughters ages 6 and 2.5. This ones a boy. *smiles* Anyway, It has been said that a pregnant woman experiences short term memory loss during pregnancy, especially the third trimester. Why am I writing this you ask? Well, I'd like to chime in and put in my own piece of evidence in affirmation to this phenomenon. First, I'll add a few paragraphs of what the experts say... then what I say...

(picture is not my wife)

The Experts...

Pregnancy can be a time of joy and expectancy for a woman, but few women will experience a pregnancy completely devoid of negative side effects. While most symptoms such as nausea and vomiting, weight gain, and increased fatigue can be attributed to measurable increases in hormone levels, other symptoms, such as short-term memory loss, are less quantifiable, and therefore, perhaps less palpable. In fact, recent data suggests that the memory loss experienced by pregnant and postpartum women is both real and measurable, despite an apparent lack of association with either anxiety or hormone levels.

What is Short-term Memory Loss?

If you are pregnant and approaching your third trimester, you may find yourself increasingly misplacing items such as keys or eyeglasses, forgetting appointments, or suddenly losing your train of thought in the midst of performing a task. Rest assured, this probably does not signal the onset of early Alzheimer’s disease, but may be a temporary condition known as short-term memory loss. Short-term memory, or working memory, as it is also known, is the process by which we store most of the daily, generally transitory information we need to get through our daily routines. This kind of information will most likely never make it’s way into our long-term memory, the process we reserve the more permanent information we encounter.

Memory Decline Greatest in Third Trimester

Approximately half of all pregnant women report increases in forgetfulness during the latter part of pregnancy and in the postpartum period.

In a 1998 study published in the American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Keenan and associates monitored the memory and anxiety or depression level of a group of women throughout pregnancy and in the postpartum period. A similar group of nonpregnant women were likewise monitored for comparison. While the length of material influenced the amount recalled for both groups, pregnant women in the third trimester showed a significant decline in memory. No such decline was noted for nonpregnant women.

According to a 1998 report in Fit Pregnancy magazine, at least one study has found that pregnant women's brains get smaller in the third trimester. British researchers scanned the brains of ten moms-to-be during their last trimesters and again a few months after their babies were born and discovered that brain cell volume decreases during pregnancy, only to plump up again sometime after delivery. It is thought to be as much as 6% of a decrease in brain size.

The Layman...

I AGREE!!! LOL Let's see what examples I can think of...

OK here's a reoccuring theme... I'm in bed reading a book, my wife comes in and gets ready for bed. Sometimes she talks to me while I'm reading... she's even gotten on the bed and talked to me about my book.. She then proceeds to turn off the light and get in the bed at which time I reply, "Thank you..." and she answers in laughter... "oops sorry". This happens frequently(like last night for example).

Hhmmm ok here's another one... It begins with these words... I'll stop by and bring you lunch before I (fill in the blank) and it ends with me looking at the clock at about 2PM with stomach growling wondering "where's my sandwich?"

The last example I'll give we experienced this month. I gave my wife a paycheck to deposit into our bank account. She takes it to the drive through and somehow it gets deposited into another account at the same bank that hasn't been used in a year or so... The truth of the matter is that my wife gave that account number as the account to put it in... LOL This was discovered when I couldn't buy gas for my car yesterday and the gas pump was screaming at me "NSF NSF NSF NSF NSF NSF NSF!!!!!" I started searching for the money only to be told at the bank this morning, "Um, you need to talk to your wife... the money's there..." me-"Did it get put into the old account?" reply-"Um, I can't tell you that (i'm not on the account) all I can say is you need to talk to your wife" Long story short... Problem solved...

I pray for one of 2 things to take place... 1) Example 3 to not happen again. 2) A medicine to be created to keep pregnant women's brains from shrinking...

The ongoing joke in my family is stated in one phrase when something is overlooked or forgotten... "6 Percent" LOL...




Blogger krysten said...

some parts of this make me feel so much more justified about the stupidity that overcame me during pregnancy...although knowing that my brain actually SHRUNK leaves me a little unsettled!! haha!

Theres a phrase that all my friends like to pass around to all the preggo ladies: "they say its the placenta that comes out with the baby, but really....its your brain!".

I can't say that my brain has recovered from the shrinkage, even almost two years after having my son...what's up with THAT! I used to be smart...really! LOL

PS - the cure to NSF accounts and missing lunches: dont leave anything up to your wife right now!! ;-)

11:09 AM  
Blogger Pat Man said...

LOL i think you're right... always have a plan B. Thanks for the comment.

11:23 AM  
Blogger J.T. said...

Hmmm. I wonder does this go both ways? I mean... if I start to have these kinds of problems with my memory, is there a chance I could be preggers? Should I buy a kit? See a doctor? An exorcist?

BTW, Pat - Krysten is my all-time favorite Jr. High girlfriend and long-time bus riding partner. She did, in fact, go to BRHS, and is now.... wait - what was I talking about again?

I'm hungry...

2:27 PM  
Blogger Pat Man said...

Hilarious you funny man J.T.

I'd recommend the the tests from the dollar tree... They seemed to be accurate enough for us. :)

-Pat Man

2:30 PM  
Blogger krysten said...

oh geez jason, why you gotta go and air our dirty laundry like that?! haha!

next you'll be talking about how you made out with my ear! oh wait, did i just say that?

and you only say favorite JR. High girlfriend because i wasnt fat enough for ya in HS! LOL

2:53 PM  
Blogger Pat Man said...

With your ear.... Hhhmmmm that sounds like a story I need to "hear" (Cheesy pun intended) Maybe we should swap stories... LOL I've got some great poetry written by the J.T. himself I could share with ya... LOL

3:51 PM  
Blogger krysten said...

hmmm, did you say poetry?? check out my post on memoriiiiiies...the unnamed artist gives himself away in the comments....hey, i tried to make it anonymous! he spoke out on his own! LOL

5:45 PM  
Blogger Pat Man said...

B. E. A. U. tiful!!! I've got some later poetry from said person a.k.a. Flash/Boywonder now. I think I may entertain Bribes to determine what I may or may not post. *wink wink*

6:24 PM  
Blogger krysten said...



8:28 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Maternal stress is also linked with imperfections in the developing nervous system which can lead to problems of perception, thinking, and memory. These mothers experience constant stress, shame, loneliness and, sometimes, clinical depression during pregnancy or after giving birth.

7:00 AM  

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