- With Mayo Clinic obstetrician and medical editor-in-chief
Roger W. Harms, M.D.read biographyclose window
Roger W. Harms, M.D.Roger W. Harms, M.D.
"Nothing helps people stay healthy more than the power of real knowledge about health." — Dr. Roger Harms
As medical director of content, Dr. Roger Harms is excited about the potential for Mayo Clinic's health information site to help educate people about their health and provide them the tools and information to live healthier lives.
The Auburn, Neb., native has been with Mayo Clinic since 1981 and is board certified in obstetrics and gynecology. Dr. Harms is a practicing physician and associate professor of obstetrics and gynecology, and his specialty areas include office gynecology, high-risk obstetrics and obstetrical ultrasound.
From 2002 to 2007, Dr. Harms was director for education at Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minn. Dr. Harms was the 1988 Mayo Medical School Teacher of the Year and served as associate dean for student affairs and academic affairs. He is the co-author of the "Mayo Clinic Model of Education." In 2008, Dr. Harms was presented the Distinguished Educator Award, Mayo Clinic, Rochester.
Dr. Harms is vice chair of the Department of Obstetrics & Gynecology and medical editor of the Pregnancy section on this website. In addition, Dr. Harms is editor-in-chief of the "Mayo Clinic Guide to a Healthy Pregnancy" book, a month-by-month guide to everything a woman needs to know about having a baby.
"My medical education experience has grown out of a love of teaching, and that is what this site is about," Dr. Harms says. "If any visitor to this site makes a more informed and thus more comfortable decision about his or her health because of the information we provide, we are successful."
Healthy pregnancy (18)
- Leg cramps during pregnancy: Preventable?
- Vaccines during pregnancy: Are they safe?
- Air travel during pregnancy: Is it safe?
- see all in Healthy pregnancy
First trimester (3)
- Implantation bleeding: Normal in early pregnancy?
- Birth control pills: Harmful in early pregnancy?
- Nausea during pregnancy: A good thing?
Second trimester (1)
- Fundal height: An accurate sign of fetal growth?
Third trimester (1)
- Hypnobirthing: How does it work?
Pregnancy problems (9)
- Chickenpox and pregnancy: What are the concerns?
- Pregorexia: A legitimate problem during pregnancy?
- Cervical length: Why does it matter during pregnancy?
- see all in Pregnancy problems
Baby brain: Does it exist?
Does "baby brain" really exist?
from Roger W. Harms, M.D.
There isn't enough information to support the existence of baby brain — a term used to describe the idea that pregnancy or early motherhood can harm a woman's memory and ability to think.
Researchers began studying the theory of baby brain because women frequently report cognitive changes, particularly forgetfulness, during pregnancy and shortly after becoming mothers. Studies examining the relationship between pregnancy or the early stages of motherhood and changes in a woman's ability to think, however, have produced conflicting results.
Some studies have shown that pregnancy impairs a woman's memory during pregnancy and shortly afterward, possibly due to hormonal changes, sleep deprivation or the stress of coping with a major life change. Other research has shown that pregnancy and motherhood have no negative cognitive impacts.
Because the concept of baby brain is so widely accepted, some experts suggest that pregnant women and new mothers are more aware of everyday cognitive slips. As a result, they might mistakenly perceive themselves as having trouble thinking.
If you're pregnant or a new mother, don't assume that you're experiencing a cognitive decline. Keep in mind that becoming a mother involves an emotional and physical transition. While you're adjusting, focus on the positive aspects of pregnancy, motherhood and the journey ahead.Next question
Aspirin during pregnancy: Is it safe?
- Glynn LM. Giving birth to a new brain: Hormone exposures of pregnancy influence human memory. Psychoneuroendocrinology. 2010;35:1148.
- De Groot RH, et al. Differences in cognitive performance during pregnancy and early motherhood. Psychological Medicine. 2006;36:1023.
- Henry JD, et al. A review of the impact of pregnancy on memory function. Journal of Clinical and Experimental Neuropsychology. 2007;29:793.
- Parsons TD, et al. Pregnancy history and cognition during and after pregnancy. International Journal of Neuroscience. 2004;114:1099.
- Christensen H, et al. Cognition in pregnancy and motherhood: Prospective cohort study. British Journal of Psychiatry. 2010;196:126.
- Crawley R, et al. Cognitive changes in pregnancy: Mild decline or societal stereotype? Applied Cognitive Psychology. 2008;22:1142.