Brain Health and Neurocognition after Pregnancy Study

Working to understand how and why pregnancy complications affect brain health in people who have given birth.

Get Involved

What is the nuMoM2b-BraiN study?

The nuMoM2b-BraiN study, or Brain Health and Neurocognition after Pregnancy, is an ancillary study to the nuMoM2b Heart Health Study. Prior research has shown that pregnancy complications like gestational hypertension, preeclampsia, and preterm birth are linked to higher risk of stroke and cognitive symptoms, years later. However, we know very little about the reasons for this. The nuMoM2b-BraiN study will investigate connections between pregnancy complications and long-term brain health.

Our goal is to understand how and why pregnancy complications like preterm birth and hypertensive disorders of pregnancy affect brain health in people who have given birth.

What does the study entail?

Participants in nuMoM2b-BraiN will be asked to complete several questionnaires. These questionnaires will include questions about migraine history, health and lifestyle, and family history of brain conditions.

Some participants will be asked to have pictures of their brain taken using a magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) machine.

Participants will also be asked to play games on an iPad to test mental function, such as how you learn and remember things.

Additionally, blood pressure, height, and waist and hip circumference will be taken at the time of the visit.

Brain Information

What is brain health?

Brain health means protecting the blood vessels in your brain from damage as you get older. This can reduce your risk of future stroke, memory loss, and difficulty with thinking and learning.

Why is brain health important for women?

Stroke is the 3rd leading cause of death in US women


Alzheimer disease is the 4th leading cause of death in US women


On average, women live longer than men and therefore need to keep their brains healthier for longer!


Pregnancy and the Brain

Complications during pregnancy can impact one's brain health. Some of these pregnancy complications include preeclampsia, preterm birth, and gestational hypertension. Studies have shown that women who experience pregnancy complications may be at higher risk of different brain problems such as stroke and dementia.

Through studies like this one, we are researching ways to prevent these events from happening.

What should I do if I experienced one of these pregnancy complications?

Manage your blood pressure

  1. Eat a balanced diet that is low in salt
  2. Quit smoking
  3. Take your medications properly
  4. Partake in regular physical activity

Control your cholesterol

  1. Know your numbers
  2. Lower your intake of saturated and trans fats
  3. Become more physically active

Reduce your blood sugar

  1. Manage your weight
  2. Quit smoking
  3. Track your glucose levels
  4. Eat a healthy diet of vegetables, fruits, whole grains, beans, legumes, nuts, lean proteins and fish

Get active

  1. Regular exercise improves blood flow and memory
  2. Strive for 30 minutes of physical activity a day, 5 days a week--go on walks, bike, dance!
  3. People who exercise regularly are less likely to develop brain diseases, like stroke and dementia

Eat better

  1. Try to limit your salt and added sugars intake
  2. Limit your intake of saturated and trans fats such as butter and cheese
  3. Eat a wide variety of fruits and vegetables
  4. Consume minimally processed foods

Manage your weight

  1. Set realistic goals
  2. Understand how much and why you eat
  3. Manage portion sizes
  4. Make smart choices
  5. Be physically active

Stop smoking

  1. Set a quit date within the next 7 days.
  2. Choose a method: cold turkey or gradually.
  3. Decide if you need help from a health care provider, nicotine replacement or medicine.
  4. Prepare for your quit day by planning how to deal with cravings and urges.
  5. Quit on your quit day.

If you are worried about your brain health, talk to your primary care physician--they can refer you to a neurologist. A neurologist is a doctor that treats diseases of the brain and nervous system. If you have any concern, a neurologist can do brain testing to help understand your symptoms.

How to get Involved in nuMoM2b-BraiN

If you are participating in the nuMoM2b Heart Health Study, you can be a part of the nuMoM2b-BraiN study. Your participation in this study is extremely valuable, because currently there is little known on how pregnancy complications can affect long-term brain health. This study will help us understand the link between pregnancy complications and brain health after pregnancy.

The nuMoM2b-BraiN study is funded by the National Institutes of Health, National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (R01NS122815).
Principal Investigator: Dr. Eliza Miller, Department of Neurology, Division of Stroke and Cerebrovascular Disease, Columbia University

Contact Us

For more information on how you can get involved, contact

Supplemental links

Brain Games

These links are for recreational purposes only—they are not a part of any research being conducted for this study.