Let's Forget 'Pregnancy Brain'

October 29, 2014 9:42 PM

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Let's Forget 'Pregnancy Brain'

I am a 33-year-old woman, eight months pregnant with my first child. Like every other person I have ever met -- man, woman or child -- I have occasional moments of forgetfulness. Every so often I enter a room and forget what I've come in to look for, or I trail off in mid-sentence, forgetting the point I was trying to make. These things have certainly happened in the last eight months, just as they happened in the preceding 384 months. So why is it that now that I am visibly incubating a human, people feel free to point out these occasional moments of absentmindedness and exclaim in delight, "Pregnancy brain!" or "Baby brain!"? Had I known that this was a commonly accepted tag for forgetfulness, I would have used these labels enthusiastically during the many hours of meetings I have had with brilliant but absentminded colleagues who can barely remember my name, never mind the details of our previous discussions. But "pregnancy brain" is not the term we use when non-pregnant people exhibit normal lapses in memory. Rather, these terms are reserved for a class of individual already viewed as weak and helpless by our society.

I've read article after article disseminating the idea that so-called "pregnancy brain" is a real effect, yet virtually no hard data exist to support this claim. A few studies purported to find evidence that pregnant women are more prone to memory lapses than non-pregnant women, but such findings ha...

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