Is Baby Brain Real?

Accidentally used soap as toothpaste? Put your keys in the fridge? Used fly spray instead of cooking spray? These are all scenarios that can occur (and have!) as a result of baby brain – but is the notion actually real?

Whether you’re frequently forgetting appointments or simply having difficulty reading, you may be experiencing baby brain. So, why do pregnant women make these silly mistakes, and is it cause for concern? To help you understand the ins and outs of baby brain, we’ve identified symptoms to look out for as well as several useful tools to help limit those forgetful moments.  

What is baby brain?

Baby brain is a major phenomenon that affects 4 out of 5 women during pregnancy. Also known as ‘mum-nesia,’ it is a term used to describe the erratic state of a woman’s mental agility during pregnancy, predominantly affecting memory and concentration. This can lead to out-of-character behaviour like forgetfulness, difficulty reading and lack of mental clarity. These memory lapse symptoms are often mild and unnoticeable to others; however, they can also be terribly frustrating when you can’t remember where you’ve parked your car!

Whether you’re a mother or mother-to-be, don’t assume you’re bound to experience baby brain. There is not sufficient evidence to determine who will experience it and who will avert it. There is also no evidence to suffice that it is hereditary or a consequence of other health factors.

Why do we get baby brain?

Some say it is women’s brains preparing for motherhood, others don’t believe it’s even real. There is yet to be a definitive answer to the cause of baby brain, which leaves room for masses of speculation. However, if you ask a current mum, new mum or mum-to-be, they’ll most likely have a baby brain story to tell!

It’s understood that pregnant women often experience changes in their sleeping patterns, hormones, stress levels, moods and diet. These factors impact the cognitive functioning of one’s brain and can, therefore, affect mental clarity – justifying why the salt ended up in the sugar container.

What are the symptoms?

Symptoms of baby brain can vary from person to person, but their severity is relatively low. These are the most common symptoms of baby brain experienced in pregnant women:

  • Forgetfulness
  • Lack of attentiveness
  • Mood fluctuations
  • Disrupted sleep patterns
  • Difficulty reading
  • Mental fogginess

How do I manage the symptoms?

  • Making lists.

Whether it’s groceries, jobs around the house, your friends’ birthdays or simply where you left the TV remote, keeping lists provides security and prevents simple things from being forgotten.

  • Getting adequate sleep.

Sleep deprivation has a heavy effect on the best of us, let alone someone growing a child. Ensuring you have enough sleep limits the chances of tiredness bringing out the baby brain.

  • Using a voice recording app on your phone.

We don’t always have pen and paper on us, so use your phone to verbally note things down! This is also handy when using a hands-free device on long drives.

  • Maintaining a balanced, healthy lifestyle.

Having a healthy lifestyle is essential for optimal growth for yourself and your baby. Hydrating frequently and eating plenty of foods rich in Omega-3 is a great way to support healthy brain function.  

  • Just going with it.

Whether you’re a new mum, experienced mum or mum-to-be, parenting is hard work and requires a lot of mental energy. Sometimes we just have to stop, wind down and accept we put the milk in the pantry or sunglasses in the dishwasher.


Baby brain behaviour isn’t any cause for concern and is simply the result of an expectant mother preparing herself for her new role in motherhood. If you are experiencing baby brain, you’re not alone. Please remember, becoming a mother involves a major mental and physical transition – if you have any concerns about your mood, please contact your health care provider.

Tags: Parent's Corner