So my sister Is going through some postpartum forgetfulness, and it reminds me all too well of my own 2 year bout with it. It's hard to prepare for your new baby when you can't remember the tips you've been read or been told. The worst part of having what's dubbed as "pregnancy brain" is that you are mostly cognizant of the fact you've forgotten…What was the name again of that movie we saw two weeks ago? Ugh. I loathed it.
What is this brain fog? If you're pregnant, you already know. A general dreadful feeling of trouble concentrating and/or remembering. A sense of having a "twisted tongue" at times during speech. You can even experience light-headedness, headache and irritability. Not good if you're trying to get back to work or school. The medical world has attributed it to your ever-changing hormones during pregnancy.
After speaking with my doctor and my family, they all recommended that I wait it out. "Oh, after you have the baby, your memory will return. Don't worry about that." Then 6 months later, my doctor said that it could last up to 18 months. By 18 months I was sick of dealing with it. Although I saw some improvement, It was not enough to feel good about. I had recently started taking omega 3 supplements for my skin and cardiovascular health, but noticed that after taking them for a while, I slept better and also could concentrate and remember more. I then started challenges to find out what else could help me. After a few months I felt so much better, I started reminding my husband of things he'd forgotten to do (much to his chagrin 😉). Here are some things you can do to diminish the brain fog symptoms and avoid dealing with it for as long as I did.
- Lower your refined sugar intake. That means you're going to have to fight your daily donut cravings. Replace the refined sugar with healthier carbs like fruits and sweet potatoes. I never even tried to lower my refined sugar, so of course I had issues. The refined sugar helps increase inflammation in your body, which exacerbates your brain fog and increases your chances of developing other diseases.
- Increase your healthy proteins. I ate a lot of chicken already, but it was fried, battered and fried again. The unhealthy oils used to fry the meat negated the good benefits the protein in the chicken had. Instead, try to bake, or use olive oil with your meats
- The Olive oil is a source of omega 3s. This, along with certain fish like salmon and tuna, is considered to be "brain food"
- Increase your antioxidants. Foods like pecans, cranberries and even green tea contain the antioxidants needed to help reduce inflammation in your body. Dark chocolate also has the antioxidants, but you should look for unsweetened dark chocolate so the affect won't be countered with that unrefined sugar.
- Herbal remedies. If you are no longer breastfeeding and you are partial to taking herbs, ginkgo biloba and gotu kola
- Exercise. Also something I wasn't doing too much of. I know it can be quite difficult to keep up with as a new mom, but at least 15-30 minutes a day could bring about results for you. Put your baby in their swing or play pen and start sweating. I like Jane Austin's 10 minute workout for quick and easy morning and afternoon stimulation.
It is critical to consult your doctor first before starting exercise or taking supplements to ensure it fits with your medical plan after giving birth. The goal is to be in good health for both you and your baby. They're going to need you for years to come.
This is not an exhaustive list of reducing brain fog, but simply what has worked for me. If you have had good experiences with other healthy options in reducing brain fog, feel free to share below.