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Stephanie Benavidez

Pregnancy Brain: How To Deal When It Happens To You

Get tips from someone who's been in your shoes.

A typical evening for me Monday through Friday is pretty mundane. Come home from work. Get dressed in comfy clothes. Load washer/dryer, dishwasher. Relax. You get the point. However, I only half did most of my "chores." Sure, I unloaded and loaded the washer, dryer and dishwasher, but I forgot to press "start" on at least two out of the three machines. Mind you, this has happened on more than one or two occasions. Sound familiar?

Pregnancy brain for me is the feeling of walking into a room—of actually going in for a purpose—and not remembering what you heck you went in there for, 10 times a day. I consider myself a pretty smart person. I'm also a Type A, list-making freak. My list items ranged from "finish blog for The Bump" and "make dentist appointment" to "call Mom to ask her about XYZ" or "Buy train ticket today at 5 p.m." So when I started forgetting the simplest things, it's safe to say freaking out was an understatement. Is belly brain just a myth or was this my new reality?

Photo: Lindsey Balbierz

I totally believe that pregnancy brain is real. And it's completely normal and extremely common. The good news, though, is that it's also temporary. Here are some helpful tips that have helped me get me through my brain lapses:

Take a deep breath and try not to be too hard on yourself. Stress will only cloud your brain even more.

Get more sleep.

Avoid trying to do everything all at once. As you attempt to register for gifts, plan a babymoon, research strollers, bottles, and other necessities and interview pediatricians and child care providers, you'll feel a lot more clearheaded if you can focus on just one task at a time and let go of others. Write the important things down on paper and make it a priority to actually look at the list throughout the day. You might also try to prepare your to-do list the night before. Want to go high-tech? Put that iPhone or Sticky Note feature on your lap-top to good use and set up alerts for yourself.

Forget about taking the herbal supplement gingko biloba. This "memory-booster" has not been proven safe for use during pregnancy.

Expect the haze to hang in during the first weeks after you give birth. Fatigue may take the place of hormones as the primary culprit, but that too shall pass.

Just remember not to get frustrated with yourself when you load the washer and dryer but forget to press start, or find your car keys in the refrigerator—try to laugh it off. If anything, it will make for a good conversation piece with your significant other and friends!

PHOTO: Ryan J. Lane / Getty Images