Liability and "Pregnancy Brain"
What is Pregnancy Brain
Studies show that in the event of an automobile accident, men have always been and continue to be the leading culprits in distracted or dangerous driving habits, however, a recent study shows that "pregnancy brain", a phenomenon associated with forgetfulness and mental distraction affect many areas of behavior, including driving ability in women. From a legal standpoint, can a woman be held responsible for an automobile accident by claiming "pregnancy brain?" In most cases, traffic accidents are negligence claims and the same rules would apply. Negligence would be the failure to act reasonably and react as a reasonable person would. The case would probably be handled the same as any other one that is based on the driver's mental condition. If a pregnant woman is having a problem with "pregnancy brain," is it reasonable for her to get behind the wheel? In this case, if an accident occurs, she could be determined negligent and thus be liable for damages. On the other hand, if she is unaware that she suffers from "pregnancy brain," and would be danger to herself or others because of it, she couldn't be held liable. As in all negligence cases, you should contact an attorney in your state that knows the law regarding these claims. The law would be different, let's say, in Kentucky versus Ohio and would depend on the statutes in their state.
Studies show that in reality, based on a medical and physiological level, the brain does not change because you are pregnant. If you are still just as smart as pre-pregnancy, why all the forgetfulness you might ask? The answer lies in surging hormone levels! During pregnancy your body has fifteen to forty times more estrogen and progesterone than normal and this effects the neurotransmitters in the brain. Oxytocin, that is needed to prepare for labor and delivery, also increases and affects the brain's ability to function normally. Increased stress levels, lack of sleep and general anxiety over labor and childbirth all combine to make you feel as though you have the inability to remember the most trivial details.
Your spatial memory is affected by your hormones, which includes remembering where things go. From an evolutionary standpoint, it has been suggested that this is helpful so women will forget about all the tiny details in life and focus on the baby. Pregnant women spend most of their time thinking about the new baby and as a result, their short term memory may be affected
Studies show that the brain is incapable of processing two mental tasks at once. It takes your brain four times longer to process two things at once then if you just focus on one. During pregnancy, your brain is working against you as levels of progesterone and estrogen shoot up, as both are linked to memory. At these high levels, your ability to recall information is impaired.
The good thing is, after the baby's birth, this will all level out and you'll feel better! In the meantime, learn to focus on one thing at a time, jot things down and ask family members to pitch in and help. Take care of yourself and get enough sleep, pursue a relaxing activity before bedtime, such as reading a book or meditating. It will all soon be over!