4 Studies About Mommy Brain That Every New Mom Should Read

Ad failed to load

If you feel like your brain has never quite been the same since you gave birth, you're not alone. Not only are there hundreds of social media posts from moms facing similar "baby brain drain," but there are actually several studies about mommy brain out there that help explain exactly what the phenomenon is and why it happens to mothers everywhere.

Moms describe so-called "mommy brain" as a kind of chronic forgetfulness or absentmindedness that sets in after giving birth, and it's probably scared most new mothers out there, as Parents described it. It's a fair concern: I mean, is this just how you exist as a person now? Will you always be wandering around looking for your baby when you've got her firmly planted on your hip? Do you simply have to get used to constantly searching for the sunglasses that you're already wearing or the phone that's already in your hand? Isn't parenting hard enough without adding this into the mix?

If you're worried, read on to find a good mix of studies about "mommy brain" that every new mom should know about. Whether they're reassuring or not, however, is up to your own interpretation.

Ad failed to load

Becoming A Mom Actually Changes Your Brain

If you thought you were simply imagining the changes in your thoughts, think again: pregnancy can change both the size and structure of a mom's brain, and those changes can easily last at least two years after birth, according to a study published in Nature Neuroscience in February.

Ad failed to load

The areas affected, according to CNN, include brain regions involved in processing others' beliefs, feelings, and thoughts — and the women with the most notable changes in brain size and structure tended to be the ones with the strongest maternal bonds.

That Memory Loss You're Feeling Is Definitely A Thing

Ad failed to load

That constant memory loss that starts in pregnancy and continues on after birth is totally real, according to a group of Australian researchers. In a study published in 2008, they found that pregnant women suffer the most significant memory loss, followed quickly by new moms. The researchers weren't sure why the memory loss was taking place, unfortunately — but you can at least rest assured that you're not imagining it.

Mommy Brain Can Actually Get Worse With Baby #2

Ad failed to load

As the younger sibling, I guess I owe my mom an apology — one 2012 study found that the effects of "pregnancy brain" and postpartum "mommy brain" can feel even stronger in successive pregnancies. Researchers found that moms suffer successively worse memory loss with an increasing amount of pregnancies. To be fair, mothers could probably explain this with a simple, "Have you ever looked after multiple children while pregnant?"

You're Probably Really, Really Sleepy

Ad failed to load

Even four and a half months after giving birth, about half of new moms still feel excessively sleepy during the day, according to a study published in PLoS ONE in 2014. Sleep deprivation takes a huge toll on your mental functioning, so it's really no wonder that so many moms feel like they're all over the place.

Growing a child and taking care of a newborn infant requires a strong cocktail of hormones, and a lot of bonding, time awake, and attention — so it's only natural that a few nonessential brain functions (like remembering to buy milk) might go out the window in order to make room for the essentials (like keeping the baby alive).

All in all, it seems like mommy brain actually helps new moms become closer to their new babies — and most moms will tell you that not only do things get better, but it's all so worth it. (You might want to start writing essential things down for the next little while, though.)

Ad failed to load

Check out Romper's new video series, Romper's Doula Diaries:

Watch full episodes of Romper's Doula Diaries on Facebook Watch.

Ad failed to load
Must Reads

15 Baby Names With Unique Nicknames, So Your Family Has Options

I love a good diminutive name, also known as a nickname. I believe I’m partial to them because of my own name, Abigale, but I go by Abi. And since they’re both uniquely spelled, everyone thinks my name is pronounced Ah-bee for some reason — but even …
By Abi Berwager Schreier

The Entire Family Can Enjoy These Movies & Shows Coming To Netflix In June

It's just one of those sad facts of life: every month, shows and movies vanish from Netflix, their varied excitements no longer at your fingertips. But luckily the streaming service is always prepared to fill that content void with lots of new things…
By Megan Walsh

The Reason Why Babies Smile At You Will Seriously Make You Smile

Whether you're currently the recipient of your own baby's sweet smiles or you just seem to be a magnet for baby grins in general, you might find yourself wondering why babies are always smiling at you. Sure, you could be a 'smile whisperer' but scien…
By Kate Miller

8 Ways Your Baby Is Trying To Say That, Yes, You Are Their Favorite

For a baby to show a preference for a specific person is not only normal, but an essential part of their development. Babies need to form strong attachments to their caregivers for their emotional, social, and physical wellbeing. Usually, but not alw…
By Kimmie Fink

10 Reasons Why I Won't Apologize For Giving My Toddler A Pacifier

My first child had no interest in a pacifier. I tried a couple times to get him to take one, but he always spat them out and gave me an incredulous, judgmental look. But my second? It was love at first suckle. And after a while, the incredulous, judg…
By Jamie Kenney

Being A Dog Parent Prepared Me For Having A Baby, Really

I’ve always wanted kids; I was never as sure about raising a puppy. Then I spent six months living with someone who brought home an eight-week-old golden retriever puppy, and I see no way to make it out of that experience claiming not to love dogs. I…
By Heather Caplan

20 Of The Most Popular Unisex Names Of All Time, That You'll Be Hearing More Of For Sure

You might think of unisex names as a fairly recent trend, but the truth is these versatile monikers have been commonly used throughout history (well, some more commonly than others). That's why the team over at Names.org recently compiled a list of t…
By Jacqueline Burt Cote

How To Have A Date Night With No Babysitter, Because It's Easier Than You Think

After having children, many couples feel that their love lives immediately go out the window, but it's so important to make your romantic life a priority so both you and your partner can be the best versions of yourselves you can be. As we all know, …
By Abi Berwager Schreier

9 Ways Baby No. 3 Made My Family Feel Complete

My husband and I decided to have another baby right after we got married and, well, we had no idea what we were getting into. I got pregnant right away, endured a high-risk pregnancy, and, before I knew it, my third baby had arrived. Together, we emb…
By Steph Montgomery

8 Stereotypes About New Dads That Are *Totally* True

Much like new mothers, new fathers have a lot on their plate. Parenting can be scary and complex, especially at first and regardless of your gender. People want to do right by their kids, after all. And since all new parents are a hot mess, dads are …
By Priscilla Blossom

8 Differences Between Being Pregnant In Your 20s Vs 30s, According To Science

Whether you're planning a pregnancy, or just thinking about your future family, it's typical to think about things like child-spacing, how many kids you want, and when to start trying to conceive. When making your pro/con list, you might also conside…
By Steph Montgomery

16 Moms Share Remedies For Their Most Intense Chocolate Cravings During Pregnancy

For better or worse, pregnancy is usually synonymous with odd cravings. Sure, there are the stereotypical combos like pickles and ice cream that plague gestating women the world over, but there are other mind-boggling combinations, too, including but…
By Candace Ganger

Putting Sunscreen On Your Kid Doesn't Have To Be A Fight — Here's How To Do It

I am almost translucent, so me and sunscreen are basically besties at this point. Even though my children are beautifully deep brown thanks to my husband's genetics, I still slather them like biscuits being buttered because I refuse to take risks wit…
By Cat Bowen

19 Moms Share The Way They Cured Their Pregnancy Comfort Food Cravings

I was obnoxiously sick during the first trimester with, "lucky" for me, both of my pregnancies. For the first three months I lived on saltines, lemonade, and fresh bread. Once I was able to eat, however, all I wanted was savory and sweet comfort food…
By Dina Leygerman

I Used To Judge Formula-Feeding Moms — Until I Became One

The other patrons in the hip Brooklyn restaurant probably couldn’t care less what I was feeding my baby, but I’ll always remember the shame I felt as I quickly mixed up his bottle of formula in front of them. I admitted to my childless friend that I …
By Katherine Martinelli

7 White Lies It’s Necessary To Tell To Keep Your Relationship Healthy

Telling lots of lies typically isn't associated with a healthy, strong, lasting relationship, and that's still certainly true, but not all lies are exactly the same. Though you've probably heard from someone at least once or twice that the lie they t…
By Lauren Schumacker

The Skinny Jeans That Saved Me Postpartum

Accepting my post-pregnancy body is hands-down one of the most difficult things I’ve ever done. It’s something that I still work on every single day. During my first pregnancy, I was 20 years old, so I managed to bounce back quickly. In fact, I dropp…
By Allison Cooper

7 Ways Your Baby Is Trying To Say They Feel Safe

In those first weeks of new motherhood, it can feel like you need an interpreter for your newborn. With their limited means of communication, figuring out what message your baby is trying to get across to you can be a challenge. With time, however, y…
By Kimmie Fink

Here's Why Dogs Are Obsessed With Babies' Poop, According To Science

Most family dogs seem to understand babies, and they're more than happy to make friends with the newest member of the pack. It's adorable... for the most part and until you go to change your little one's diaper. Suddenly, you're wondering why dogs ar…
By Lindsay E. Mack

6 Signs You're Meant To Have A Big Age Gap Between Kids

There's a five year age difference between my two children, to the day. Their age gap wasn't planned but, for a variety of reasons, works well for our family. And since I was so focused on having a second baby, I totally overlooked the signs that wou…
By Candace Ganger

My Dog Knew I Was Pregnant Before My Family Did

Growing up, I was 100 percent sure I'd be a mom one day. To a dog, that is. My baby plans came later. And once my husband and I were sure we wanted both a dog and a baby, we'd add to our joint dog-and-baby name list over Sunday brunch or on date nigh…
By Melissa Mills