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How does pregnancy affect the brain?

You don't lose brain cells per se during pregnancy, but as your metabolism changes, your brain restructures the connections between cells, changing in preparation for motherhood. This is probably no surprise to those of you who've experienced "mommy brain," which is a kind of subtle forgetfulness that makes pregnant women put the milk in the cupboard or dump chili powder on ice cream.

Typically limited to the third trimester, mommy brain might actually have evolved as a way of helping you focus on your baby and block out worrisome thoughts. But don't fret about your inability to think straight. In the final 1 to 2 weeks before birth, your brain will begin to increase in size again and build new maternal neural circuits, eventually becoming stronger than it was before and helping you to better cope with your newborn.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.