I've always found the terms "baby brain" and "mommy brain" - used to describe memory and concentration lapses experienced by some pregnant women and new moms - mildly offensive. The implication, I thought, was that women somehow can't handle the changes to their bodies and lives and respond by moving through their days in a haze. And the terms do no favors to the many women (myself included!) who work through pregnancy and new motherhood. (Who wants her employer to think she's forgetful and unable to focus on the job?)
As it turns out, there actually might not be such a thing as "baby brain," anyway. Or so say Australian researchers, who studied the memories of 1,241 young women before and after childbirth and published a paper in the British Journal of Psychiatry. From BBC.com:
[The] team from The Australian National University followed up the large group of women at four-year intervals using memory tests.
During the course of the study more than half of the women fell pregnant, but this did not appear to have any impact on memory.
The test scores remained unchanged before and after pregnancy and did not differ greatly between the group of women who became mums and the group of those who did not.
Lead researcher Helen Christensen, PhD, said pregnancy books commonly tell women to expect memory and concentration problems, so it's convenient to blame a forgetful moment on a growing belly. But, as she told the BBC:
"Our results challenge the view that mothers are anything other than the intellectual peers of their contemporaries.
"Women and their partners need to be less automatic in their willingness to attribute common memory lapses to a growing or new baby.
"And obstetricians, family doctors and midwives may need to use the findings from this study to promote the fact that 'placenta brain' is not inevitable."