Roller coaster hormones, mixed with sleep deprivation create a condition known to many women as "momnesia" or "baby brain." But is it fact or fiction? KPLC's Britney Glaser finds out in this Healthcast.
There is one little reason Ashley Taylor of Westlake now relies on a daily to do list: seven-month-old Joshua has this working mom pulling double duty at home, leaving little time to rest and regroup. "I can't remember what I was doing," she said, "when I walk into a room, I'll go to say something and I'm like 'what was I even going to say?'"
Taylor started feeling "momnesia" around month three of the pregnancy, something husband, Todd can attest to and something that is common as hormones fluctuate, says OB/GYN Gisele McKinney at Lake Charles Memorial Hospital for Women. "You're going to forget and have more stressors and add on to the hormonal effect. It's a disaster, actually," she said.
A new mother's brain is a mess of hormones, dropping estrogen levels and oxytocin, a hormone released during breast feeding. That combo can spell confusion. "Closing the door before I leave so the dog doesn't run out," said Taylor, "locking my keys in the car or locking the baby in the car."
"Baby brain" has become the term to describe the memory lapse, but self-proclaimed "gyne-chiatrist," Dr. McKinney, says it's not a true medical condition. "Hormones do play a big part, but it's not a diagnosed, 'baby brain syndrome,' it's just life," she said.
McKinney says the best way to deal with this new life is to cut yourself some slack. "You just have to become able to be flexible and you're not going to hit all of those things that you're used to hitting. Give yourself a break and in fact, get some sleep," she said.
That is a prescription Taylor would love to have written But until then, it's notes - and reminders of where to find those notes! "I think I'm gonna be forgetful for a long time," she said, "so I better stick to my sticky notes."
One positive effect of baby brain in the long haul is that moms are actually strengthening mental muscles as they go about organizing their day with baby in tow.