Working memory from pregnancy to postpartum: Do women really change?
SourcePsychoneuroendocrinology, 126, (2021), article 105169
Article / Letter to editor
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SW OW PsKI [owi]
SW OZ BSI ON
SW OZ DCC NRP
PI Group Memory and Emotion
SubjectRadboudumc 13: Stress-related disorders DCMN: Donders Center for Medical Neuroscience; Radboudumc 1: Alzheimer`s disease DCMN: Donders Center for Medical Neuroscience; Social Development
Studies indicate that pregnancy is associated with declines in working memory (WM), potentially due to intense pregnancy hormonal fluctuations. These declines extend into the postpartum period and may even be worsened due to sleepless nights and continued hormonal changes. However, previous studies finding WM stability from pregnancy to postpartum have not used a control group to examine practice effects on WM tests. The current study used a well-matched control group, fathers, to examine a) whether mothers and fathers differ on tests of WM during pregnancy and postpartum, and b) whether mothers show a postpartum WM decline, taking into account the practice effects of fathers. Results revealed that mothers (N = 75) and fathers (N = 44) performed equally well on a WM task at both time points and improved across time at a statistically equivalent rate. Use of a Reliable Change Index and a regression-based sensitivity analysis bolstered these results, indicating that taking practice effects into account, the majority of women did not improve or decline in WM from pre- to postpartum. These findings add to the literature on pregnancy-related changes in cognition and raise new questions about potential cognitive changes in men during the same period.
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