Pregnancy increases women’s intelligence

Having babies improves memory and logic – 'baby brain' is a myth

Kate Winslet, Gwyneth Paltrow and Myleene Klass are all said to have suffered from ‘baby brain,’ which is characterised by lapses in memory or logical thinking, but the condition is a myth, according to a new study.

Researchers, who tracked 2,500 women over ten years, found no difference between their brainpower before and during their pregnancies.

In fact, they claim that rather than pregnancy causing a slump in mental and verbal abilities, it can actually result in improved cognitive abilities.

Moreover, Helen Christensen, chief researcher at the Australian National University in Canberra, believes these improvements could be permanent.

‘Women often report problems with memory and reasoning after they become pregnant,’ she said. ‘But the latest findings from our decade-long study, the most in-depth to look at this issue, has proven they do not.’

‘We found that women who were pregnant during the second or third batch of interviews performed the same on tests of logic and memory as they did before, and there was no difference between the pregnant women and the controls,’ she said.

‘It really leaves the question open as to why women  –  and often their partners  –  think they have poor memories, when the best evidence we have is that they don’t.

‘Perhaps women notice minor lapses in mental ability and then attribute it to being pregnant because that is the most significant thing in their mind at the time.

‘Or sleep deprivation could mask the positive cognitive effects.’

This supports research carried out by Dr Craig Kinsley, of Richmond University in Virginia last year, which found motherhood produces a surge of memory and learning ability that makes women more vigilant and alert.

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