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Do you notice that you are a bit more forgetful during pregnancy? This is also known as pregnancy dementia. Do you suddenly find the keys in the fridge? Do you deliberately walk to the bedroom, but once there you can't remember what you wanted to grab? It's perfectly normal to be a little more muddled and forgetful than usual during pregnancy. Don't worry, this will go away on its own. But for as long as it lasts, we've written this blog to make pregnancy dementia a little more bearable so you might even be able to laugh about it eventually. 

Symptoms of gestational dementia

In addition to the many physical changes you go through when you're pregnant, your brain also reacts to pregnancy. And that can manifest itself in a form of pregnancy dementia, which means your responsiveness and memory are a bit less than normal. You may notice that:

  • you become a little more forgetful: the neighbor's name or your appointment at the physical therapist completely pass you by. 
  • your concentration diminishes: You get distracted by everything. Tasks that you used to be able to complete in one hour now seem to take forever. Afraid you might get fired from your job because of this? Then quickly read this blog. 
  • you are more absent than usual: the stories of your partner, friends or family pass you by. 
    (Pregnancy Portal, 2020)

Causes of gestational dementia

Pregnancy dementia can be due to several factors, namely:

Affected memory: your body - and so your brain - reacts to pregnancy. As a result, your memory may not work as well as it should. Don't worry, it will get better on its own (Kraamzorg de Waarden, s.d.). 

Sleep deprivation: Many women experience poorer sleep during pregnancy. This prevents the brain from processing all the stimuli of the day and waking up not rested, which can lead to forgetfulness (Maternity Care the Values, s.d.). 

Other priorities: Even though your baby is still in your belly, he is already number 1. Therefore, during the day you are often busy with practical matters such as the nursery, parenting and maybe you are already thinking about the childcare or your job after you give birth. As a result, your brain is working extra overtime and less important things come second (Maternity Care the Values, s.d.). 

Progesterone: is a hormone produced by the body during pregnancy. This hormone plays an important role in such processes as implantation, growth of the uterus and milk production. But this hormone also causes your memory to temporarily falter (Kraamzorg de Waarden, z.d.). 

CholineNormally your body gets enough of this vitamin, but the baby in the belly likes to snack on it. Your brain needs choline, but because the body choline deficiency, it also affects your memory (Kraamzorg de Waarden, z.d.). Choline is found in eggs, nuts, beans, peas and spinach. To make sure you get enough of this vitamin, you can also choose a multivitamin with choline (Dubbel Zen, s.d.). 

Our 5 tips for pregnancy dementia 

  1. Try not to get too worked up about it. Make to-do lists for yourself or use post-its that you stick on the refrigerator, for example. 
  2. Use your phone's online calendar. Here you can also easily set reminders and pop-ups. 
  3. Take rest and try to get enough sleep. 
  4. The nutritional values in oily fish are good for your memory. So try to add fish to your menu twice a week.
  5. Share your important appointments with your partner, family or friends. And also tell them where you will put the car keys from now on. 
    (Pregnancy Portal, 2020)

Pregnancy dementia, of course, sounds very intense, as the term dementia is a very negative and heavily loaded term. The good news is that it really does pass. It is different in every woman, but in some women the poor memory can last up to 32 weeks after delivery. But one thing is for sure: it will be okay!

Sources:

Double Zen. (s.d.). Vitamins during pregnancy - Double Zen. Accessed October 7, 2021, from https://dubbelzen.nl/vitamines-tijdens-je-zwangerschap/

Kraamzorg de Waarden. (s.d.). Pregnancy dementia. Accessed October 7, 2021, from https://www.kraamzorgdewaarden.nl/blog/zwangerschapsdementie

Pregnancy Portal. (2020). Pregnancy dementia: forgetful and pregnant. https://www.zwangerenportaal.nl/zwanger/zwangerschapsdementie-vergeetachtig-en-zwanger

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