London, Feb 3 (ANI): Pregnant women need not blame "the bump" for their forgetfulness, say scientists who claim the idea that bearing children affects one's brain power - the "baby brain" - is a myth.
To reach the conclusion, Australian researchers studied 1,241 women both before and after having babies, reports The BBC.
The British Journal of Psychiatry says any absentmindedness might be adaptive, shifting attention to the baby.
Lead researcher Professor Christensen said: "Part of the problem is that pregnancy manuals tell women they are likely to experience memory and concentration problems - so women and their partners are primed to attribute any memory lapse to the 'hard to miss' physical sign of pregnancy.
"Pregnant women may also shift their focus away from work issues to help them prepare for the birth of their new baby, while new mothers selectively attend to their baby."
But she said this shift should not be labelled a "cognitive deficit".
Professor Christensen and her team said: "Not so long ago, pregnancy was 'confinement' and motherhood meant the end of career aspirations.
"Our results challenge the view that mothers are anything other than the intellectual peers of their contemporaries.
"Women and their partners need to be less automatic in their willingness to attribute common memory lapses to a growing or new baby.
"And obstetricians, family doctors and midwives may need to use the findings from this study to promote the fact that 'placenta brain' is not inevitable."
Cathy Warwick of the Royal College of Midwives said: "It is about time that some research lays to rest this notion of pregnant women and the 'baby brain' myth.
"The physical and emotional stresses on a woman's body from pregnancy can make women feel more tired than usual.
"As we all know tiredness - for men as well as women - can make us lose concentration and cause us to function less effectively.
"This is why midwives encourage pregnant women to take appropriate rest breaks, at home and at work. Many pregnant women will need this rest, and all of them deserve it." (ANI)