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Science Proves Baby Brain Is a Real Thing

But 'baby brain' might not mean what you think it does.
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By Anisa Arsenault, Associate Editor
Updated April 14, 2017
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You may think you know the signs and symptoms of baby brain: car keys in the trash, soap in the refrigerator, crying at that commercial. It’s that emotional, confused state many pregnant women swear they experience. Don’t let anyone roll their eyes and tell you it’s a myth; Victoria Bourne, PhD, says baby brain is very real—it’s your body’s way of preparing you to bond with your child. But it might not mean exactly what you think it does.

A new study has found that changes really do occur in your brain during pregnancy. (Nope, you’re not going crazy!) A special test on facial expressions showed that pregnant women demonstrate increased activity in the right side of the brain when interpreting emotion from facial expressions, even more so than brand new moms. Your, well, enhanced emotional state is preparing you to be more in tune with your baby’s needs as soon as she is born.

“Our findings give us a significant insight into the ‘baby brain’ phenomenon that makes a woman more sensitive during the child bearing process,” Bourne said at the British Psychological Society’s annual conference. “The results suggest that during pregnancy, there are changes in how the brain processes facial emotions that ensure that mothers are neurologically prepared to bond with their babies at birth.”

So while baby brain may leave you emotionally sensitive for a few weeks, it’s not yet technically linked with the forgetfulness and mix-ups we typically associated it with. But no one is blaming you for blanking on your home address with all those changes in your brain going on. Be patient; it’s all in the name of being closer with your baby.

And you’re not alone. Bumpies have reported trouble recalling words, standing in the elevator without pushing any buttons and even trying to pay for food with their ID.

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