By Dr Sam Megalli
Pregnancy and motherhood are beautiful journeys filled with joy and love. However, they also come with their unique set of challenges, one of which is the notorious ‘mumnesia’. Dr Sam Megalli draws on his 25+ years of pharmaceutical experience to unravel the scientific basis of baby brain, explain the cognitive shifts that occur, and provide practical solutions to help new mothers regain their mental clarity.
The Scientific Basis of Mumnesia
According to Dr Sam, delving into the world of neuroscience can shed light on the neurological reasons behind baby brain.
“Pregnancy triggers a surge in hormones, particularly estrogen and progesterone, which have far-reaching effects on the brain. These hormones play a crucial role in nurturing the developing foetus, but they can also influence cognitive functions,” says Dr Sam.
The hormonal fluctuations can lead to changes in memory, attention, and multitasking abilities during pregnancy and postpartum. As Dr. Sam aptly puts it, “Understanding the science behind mumnesia is the first step in demystifying this phenomenon. It’s not about forgetfulness; it’s about the brain’s adaptation to the incredible journey of motherhood.”
The Cognitive Shifts Explained
In an attempt to dispel common myths, Dr Sam emphasises that the cognitive changes experienced by expectant and new mothers are not signs of cognitive decline but rather adaptive responses to the demands of pregnancy and childcare. “Memory lapses, decreased focus, and challenges in multitasking are normal, temporary aspects of the pregnancy journey,” says Dr. Sam “Mumnesia is simply a testament to the body’s incredible ability to adapt. Essentially, the brain reallocates its resources to prioritise the well-being of both mother and child and while these changes may be frustrating at times, they are part of the beautiful tapestry of motherhood.”
So, what are some of the solutions?
Vitamin and mineral supplements.
According to Dr Sam, specific vitamins and minerals can work synergistically to address the cognitive challenges faced by new mothers. He backs his recommendations with clinical evidence, reinforcing the efficacy of these supplements in promoting mental clarity, focus, and memory.
Dr Sam advocates, “Supplementation can be a game-changer for new mothers dealing with baby brain. Key nutrients such as omega-3 fatty acids, B-vitamins, and antioxidants can support brain health during this transformative period. Consultation with a healthcare provider is essential to determine the righ supplement regimen tailored to individual needs.”
Whether you use pen and paper or an app, keep running tabs of everything that comes to your mind: groceries to buy, questions for the pediatrician, calls you need to return. You can also create reminders in your phone to help you follow through on these tasks.
Talk to other mums.
Hearing their stories will let you see that you’re not alone, and they may have advice you haven’t thought of.
It’s a struggle at times, but get as much sleep as you can. A good night’s rest supports your memory and cognition.
Focus on the big picture.
So, you forgot to pay the credit card bill and owe a late fee. It stinks, but is it really that big of a deal? Your baby is doing well and that’s what matters. Even better, reflect on the special moments you had today. Did your little one laugh at you, eat a new food, or say a new word? That beats having a Supernerd-like mind.
Above all, go easy on yourself. Memory lapses can happen to all mothers, and criticizing yourself can increase your stress and further cloud your brain.
By using some of the tips above and understanding the science behind mumnesia and incorporating the right supplements into their routines, new mothers can navigate this phase with confidence, knowing that clarity and focus will return as their journey continues.
Did you know that births peak in Australia in late September and early October? This is consistent with many other Western countries, including the USA, France, England and Wales, and New Zealand. Most researchers attribute this to ‘Christmas babies’- that is, babies who are conceived during the Christmas holidays. It’s a rough measure, but counting back 38 weeks from three of Australia’s four most common birthdays – September 17, September 23 and September 24 – gives us the nation’s most popular conception dates: Christmas Day and New Years Day!
Dr Sam Megalli is a Senior Pharmaceutical Executive, university lecturer, medical research specialist and founder of Australian wellness brand Ultra Nature.