A new study has found that baby brain is a real condition. Research conducted by Purdue University revealed that ‘mumnesia’ affects many new mums. It can cause confusion and forgetfulness, but tends to fade away over time.
Researchers stressed that this condition is only temporary and usually lasts no more than a year. Lead author Valerie Miller explained that hormones and sleep deprivation can affect the attention and memory processes in the brain.
The study analysed the results of the ‘Attention Network Test’ of 60 mums who were at least one year postpartum compared to the results of 70 non-mothers.
The participants were asked about how tired they felt and about their attentiveness. The team found a match between the women’s answers and their test results. "For this particular study, we recruited mums who were past that first year postpartum because we wanted to see the long-term effects of maternity," the team shared.
"This means that women have accurate awareness of their cognitive state, and that their concerns regarding their perceived attentional functioning should be taken seriously," commented Dr Amanda Veile.
"It's possible, if anything, that maternity is related to improved, rather than diminished, attentiveness."
Speaking of the results, the team explained, “We also believe that "mummy-brain" may be a culture-bound phenomenon and that mothers will feel the most distracted and forgetful when they feel stressed, overextended and unsupported. 'Unfortunately, many mums feel this way — especially now in the midst of economic and political instability and pandemic.”
The team stressed that motherhood did not negatively impact a woman’s attention span. New mums actually become more attentive after their first year of motherhood. The study was published in Current Psychology.