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Studying with Baby on the Brain -- How to concentrate on your work while pregnant

Updated on November 15, 2011

I've always been good at school. I was born a nerd, basically. Instead of going outside and playing in the dirt as a kid, you would more likely find me curled up in my bed reading Nancy Drew or the Box Car Children series (this series definitely needs a resurgence, by the way... it's awesome.) I was always on the Honor Roll, named a Governor's Scholar, graduated high school with honors, on the Dean's List in college, blah blah blah.

Early in my pregnancy, when I was reading everything about the nine months that lay ahead of me that I could get my hands on, I stumbled across a syndrome of some sorts that is often referred to as 'pregnancy brain.' I was a bit skeptical at first, but have come to find out that it is a very REAL phenomena.

I'm currently taking various anatomy and psychology classes, and my grades have definitely started to plummet. I sit in class, and I honestly do try my best to pay attention, but it's as if everything my professors say goes in one ear and out the other instantly, or worse yet... goes right over my head. My concentration levels are so low it's ridiculous.

I come home and I cram, writing and rewriting lectures, drawing diagrams, making up practice quizzes, hoping that something will sink in before the exam comes.

Here are a few tips that I can give other mothers in my position that I have found to be helpful:

-If you're going to use homemade flashcards to retain information, use colored ones or use colored ink when writing them out. This makes them more attention getting, and also associating the information on the card with the color may make it easier to remember.

-Some women develop Carpal Tunnel Syndrome during pregnancy, making writing painful. It can also make typing easier, but if you really want to make flashcards, you can use a website like You type out all the information, and it will generate matching games, flash cards, hangman, etc. I find it very useful.

-Study a little bit at a time. Don't put too much information in front of you at once. Read a section and do review questions, as opposed to doing a whole chapter at once.

-If you're studying anatomy structure exams, like I am, photocopy the diagrams, white-out the labels and try to go back and label them yourself.

As always, the key from turning short-term memory into long-term memory is repetition.

So far, through some basic research (nothing too extensive/brain wracking), all I have come up with is that this is all due to hormones, and anxiety about my pending life change. For now, I'm just going to do the best I can with all the things I have on my plate.


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