I want to know what happens to your brain cells when you are pregnant.  It is like they dissolve overnight, as if your body is so busy cultivating new life, it doesn’t have time to maintain it’s normal function. I think maybe it’s the placenta sucking all reasonable thought processes out of your head – which is why I like to call the phenomenon ‘Placenta brain’.

When pregnant with my first child, I had many times where I wondered whether I might have had a lobotomy overnight! One morning I awoke, poured cereal into a mug, put the cereal container in fridge then instead of getting milk out to put on the cereal, I got distracted by grapes in the fridge and found myself standing there munching on grapes, wondering why I was at the fridge in the first place.

Any time through my pregnancy, and for some time afterwards, if my brain wouldn’t function, I would simply blame my placenta head and move on.

The sad thing is, that it isn’t like you give birth and your brain cells return immediately. The worse case I suffered was a mixture of placenta brain and sleep deprivation. A dear, elderly neighbour came to visit my gorgeous newborn baby girl. My neighbour was very talented at porcelain painting and said she would like to paint a porcelain baby’s bootie with my daughter’s name and date of birth. My first thought was how it was such a sweet gesture. She then asked me for those details. I stood there, my mind blank. I couldn’t for the life of me remember what my baby’s name was. This was my adorable new cherub that I was spending every waking hour caring for and I could not think of her name. I have never been so embarrassed! I tried to buy time mumbling platitudes about how lucky we were to have such great neighbours and what a lovely thought it was. Then crunch time came and I had to confess to her that I couldn’t remember my baby’s name. The dear old thing told me not to worry and just to let her know when I could remember. Who on earth can’t remember their own bundle of joy’s name? I felt like such a bad mother and stood there hating the fact that my brain cells had been hijacked by the placenta! 

As my elderly neighbour said goodbye and walked up our driveway, suddenly out of nowhere, my baby’s name came to me. I opened the front door and yelled at her triumphantly that I had remembered my baby’s name. Relief swept through me and I proceeded to fill her in on her details.

Thankfully years have passed and I haven’t forgotten her name again. In fact, I call it out a lot everyday (she might say too much!). I have also mastered the correct process for making cereal, so maybe those brain cells have finally regenerated!

What stories do you have about suffering from ‘placenta brain’ when you were pregnant?



(Photo courtesy of