HYBRID EVENT: You can participate in person at Baltimore, Maryland, USA or Virtually from your home or work.

10th Edition of International Conference on Neurology and Brain Disorders

October 21-23, 2024

October 21 -23, 2024 | Baltimore, Maryland, USA
INBC 2019

Janet Leathem

Speaker at Neuroscience Conference - Janet Leathem
Massey University, New Zealand
Title : Baby brain: Examining the link between sleep, information processing speed and executive functioning during late stage pregnancy


‘Baby brain’ is a term given to the phenomenon experienced by many pregnant women who feel that pregnancy has induced cognitive impairment.  Investigation of cognitive deficits during pregnancy has focussed on subtypes of memory, but more recently has included the domains of information processing speed and executive functioning with inconsistent results being found.

Using a larger sample and different measures than previous studies, the current study sought to clarify these inconsistencies and examine the relationship between information processing speed and the planning component of executive function. Could the perceived impairments in executive functioning can be more accurately understood as secondary consequences of impairments in processing speed?

Participants were 133 New Zealand women, 68 in the late stages of pregnancy with their first child, and a control group of 65 who were not (and had never been) pregnant.

Results showed significant impairment in simple reaction times for pregnant women compared to controls and a trend towards significance impairment on more complex choice reaction time measure. There was no difference between the groups in the planning component of executive functioning.

Deficits in sleep quality and altered mood during pregnancy were considered as potential moderating variables on results.  While pregnant women had significantly poorer self-reported sleep quality than controls, this did not correlate with cognitive scores.  However, anxiety was shown to impact on planning time during the executive functioning task, and on performance during that task.

The results of this research clarify current inconsistencies in results published in extant literature and reveal areas for further research regarding cognition during pregnancy. 


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