Self-reported cognitive change during pregnancy

Aust J Adv Nurs. 1991 Sep-Nov;9(1):20-9.


Two groups of women were studied to elicit their perceptions of cognitive changes during pregnancy. In the first phase of the study, 236 primiparous women were surveyed using a structured questionnaire three to five days after delivering their baby. Sixty-four percent of women reported changes in cognition during pregnancy. More changes were reported by the women who were older, better educated, married or living as married, had private health insurance and had attended an obstetrician during pregnancy. Phase 2 was designed to survey and assess the content (type, range and salience) of the cognitive changes. Forty-eight multigravid and primigravid women and two postpartum women were surveyed using a semi-structured questionnaire; 82% reported experiencing cognitive changes during pregnancy and postpartum, including difficulty in concentration, absentmindedness and short-term memory loss. It is argued that while prior research has associated altered mental functioning during pregnancy with psychiatric disturbance, this is not a necessary relationship. Education about cognitive changes during pregnancy may assist women to understand a common experience and to develop effective coping strategies.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adaptation, Psychological
  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Cognition Disorders / epidemiology
  • Cognition Disorders / psychology*
  • Female
  • Hospitals, Teaching
  • Humans
  • Memory
  • Pregnancy / psychology*
  • Pregnancy Complications / epidemiology
  • Pregnancy Complications / psychology*
  • Prevalence
  • Self-Assessment*
  • Surveys and Questionnaires