Noreen Reis, mother of three from Newtown, Pennsylvania, thinks the memory lapses are due to women becoming so consumed with the pregnancy that they ignore everything else. "All of our energy is concentrated on the baby growing inside of us," says Reis. That may be true, but what about the mother who has already had her child and still experiences these grains of memory loss?
Jennifer Trannon of Naperville, Illinois, and mother of three, says she experienced memory loss with all three of her pregnancies and isn't sure it dissipates after birth. "One day in the first month after I had my third baby, I got in my car and started driving to the store, forgetting that Elijah was asleep in his swing," Trannon says. Fortunately, she was only at the corner when she remembered and returned home to a safe and sleeping son.
Mother of five, Susan Morabito, BSN, RN, and CPN, of Mobile, Alabama, recalls documented research that put things into perspective for her. "Pregnant women are found to become forgetful during pregnancy and for several weeks or months thereafter as a result of increased fluid and swelling in the brain." Morabito felt comfortable with this answer since it meant that nothing she was doing (or not doing) contributed to this symptom.
Laureen Mercier, who lives just outside Vancouver, British Columbia, also experienced bouts of memory loss during pregnancy. She would empty the dishwasher only to realize that its contents had not yet been washed. Once she drove to her old home instead of to the home where she currently lives. "I hadn't lived in that house for six years!" says Mercier, who also recalls placing the toilet paper in the refrigerator instead of the bathroom. Her son is now a toddler and she still doesn't feel her memory has returned to normal.
If you experience mild bouts of forgetfulness, discuss them with your obstetrician. While not usually a dangerous symptom, memory lapses can be wearisome.
To keep your memory sharp, listen to what your body is telling you. Eat right, exercise, take vitamins, and rest when you feel the need.