The Scientific Truth Behind “Mo Brain”

An alarming number of women report during pregnancy or after giving birth experiencing brain fog. It is known as ‘Brain Mom’.

The Woman Post | Carolina Rodríguez Monclou

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According to neurobiologist José R. Alonso, nearly 80% of pregnant women report having more difficulty remembering phone numbers or structuring a complex sentence after giving birth. This phenomenon has been called "momnesia," "baby brain," "pregnancy brain," or "mommy's brain." Why does this phenomenon happen?

Being a mom comes with a lot of challenges, and one of them is that it can get really overwhelming. A study conducted by OnePoll on behalf of MitoQ found that parents lose an average of 4,000 hours of their lives to brain fog and lose focus on up to three daily tasks.

"Mom brain" describes the experience of feeling forgetful, distracted, disorganized, or scattered due to being pregnant or having children. In reality, this is a result of mom burnout. It's both a neurobiological phenomenon and proof that women are exhausted from overworking. According to the OnePoll study, mothers spend 219 hours yearly zoning out without even realizing it.

While hormonal balance could explain mental haze, it can't be ignored that women work "night shifts" at home when it comes to taking care of the kids, helping them with homework, preparing everything for the next day, and doing house chores.

Motherhood comes with sleep deprivation, significantly when raising a baby, so losing track of the time it's nothing new. However, our culture shouldn't make fun of mothers' forgetfulness since that symptom hides a more significant problem: Burnout and exhaustion.

Being busy and stressed as a parent is a reality that we need to learn to deal with. Unfortunately, many women nowadays face the pressure of caring for almost everything at home and feel guilty if they are working mothers. Consequently, overwork women experience the effects of exhaustion on their health.

Also read: Infertility: Topic of Interest for Men and Women

On the other hand, "mom brain" tends to show up at the most inconvenient times: When taking your kids to school, packing their lunch, or fulfilling an important task. Every time it's more usual that this phenomenon doesn't get addressed at all. Since banishing brain fog isn't as urgent as completing other tasks and goals throughout the day, many women don't mind experiencing it. Some even get used to it and deal with how tired they feel daily.

It is possible that the myth of "mom's brain" is due to stereotypes about being a mother. Another critical factor is the lack of sleep associated. This happens because of the discomfort at the end of pregnancy. The first months after childbirth and the burden of raising that baby is very difficult.

Nobody has a clear mind when they don't get enough sleep, and it is estimated that mothers accumulate 700 hours of sleep deficit the first year after having a child. Another cause of "mom's brain" is the change in priorities: We can attend to many things, but the order of priorities changes after giving birth, and that can make some things stop mattering in our daily behavior.

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