It all started when I was about 5 weeks pregnant…

…and I am still waiting for it to end.

I am positive there is a hormone secreted during pregnancy, which we shall call from here on ‘porridgebrainogen’, which converts your brain into lumpy bits of porridge and prevents you from remembering even the simplest of things. The problem is that this state passes from time to time only to allow you to:

  • remember (too late, of course)
  • regret
  • fret

Is it my imagination? Why am I so forgetful?

According to, a study may have found the reason why women are supposedly more forgetful when pregnant after discovering that a hormone linked to Alzheimer’s spikes during pregnancy. says: “Forgetfulness during pregnancy is fairly common. It’s not something you need to worry about and isn’t a medical problem, though it may well have a physical cause. Several small-scale studies have suggested that the size of women’s brains can alter during pregnancy.

A study conducted by a University of Southern California psychologist found that women suffer from impaired cognitive function while pregnant, maintaining neither their short-term memories nor their concentration and ability to retain new information. However, another study on rats showed that mother rats were able to learn quicker and were better at problem-solving than virgin rats, so perhaps there are long-term advantages to becoming a mother!

Forgetfulness may also stem from feeling a little overwhelmed by the huge life changes you’re about to experience. Those concerns about the future can crowd the mind of an otherwise clearheaded person.”

So, whatever the reason is behind your ‘porridge brain’, rest assured you are not the only one going through this. Thousands of mothers and mothers-to-be are forgetting something this very minute.

Is there anything I can do about it?

Try devising strategies to help you remember what’s important. Mimi Towle, a journalist from Mill Valley, California, pregnant with her first child, couldn’t remember the phone numbers she’d dialled for years. “I’d take a break from whatever I was doing and try to visualize myself dialling that number,” she says. “The process of calming down often helped.”

You can also reduce frustration by using tactics such as carrying a small notebook for jotting down reminders, keeping a detailed daily calendar, and assigning items you use often, such as keys, to one place. When I was pregnant I purchased a book and wrote everything down in it, otherwise I was sure to forget!

Forgetfulness may be your cue to simplify your life.

Easier said than done, of course. But you don’t absolutely have to wallpaper that room you’ve been meaning to get to for a while now. Or clean all your closets just because a new baby is arriving. This sort of self-imposed stress, part of the feverish nesting that women often get into before a birth, can lead you to forget things.

Is forgetfulness ever a sign that something’s wrong?

Not by itself. However, if you find you’re really having trouble thinking or concentrating, and you’re also feeling down or you notice a loss of interest or pleasure almost every day, you could be suffering from depression.

If you’re feeling unusually sad or overwhelmed, it’s important not to suffer alone. Be sure to discuss it with your doctor so you can get the help you need.


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