The debate over "preggo brain" continues with the release of a new study:
Pregnant women had reduced spatial recognition memory during the second and third trimesters of pregnancy, and this effect persisted for at least three months after birth, new study results suggested.
Researchers assessed the influence of sex steroids, such as estradiol, progesterone, cortisol and prolactin, on memory and attention during pregnancy in 23 women and compared results with 24 nonpregnant women. Using four computer-based tests, the researchers evaluated memory patterns, attention, mood and anxiety during each trimester and at three months after birth; some women were also tested at preconception and at 12 months.
Compared with nonpregnant women, pregnant women performed worse on the spatial memory test during the second trimester (82% vs. 70%; P=.001), third trimester (80% vs. 73%; P=.03) and at three months after birth (80% vs. 68%; P=.0001).
Moreover, pregnant women had decreased mood, greater anxiety levels and a higher risk for depression compared with nonpregnant women. Women in the control group had stable scores across all testing measures; however, a learning effect was observed.
Estradiol, progesterone, cortisol, prolactin and sex hormone-binding globulin were significantly increased during pregnancy. Conversely, dehydroepiandrosterone-sulphate levels were reduced by 50% during pregnancy.
“Forgetfulness and slips of attention are phenomena commonly reported by pregnant women, but scientists have yet to identify a specific mechanism by which this memory impairment might occur,” Diane Farrar, NP, of the Bradford Institute for Health Research, United Kingdom, said in a press release. “Indeed, some question whether the reported memory loss exists at all. More research is now needed to identify the neurological effects of pregnancy to help guide future research and provide information for women and those involved in maternity care.”Source