All you need to know about the baby’s brain development during pregnancy
Even before a woman gives birth, she starts thinking like a mother. Mothers-to-be often wonder what they can do to aid in shaping her baby's brain health and intellect.
The foetal brain undergoes various phases of development.1 During the first trimester, the nerve cells develop but are not formed as the brain. Sensory organs such as the skin, eyes, ears as well as nerves are not formed during this stage, so the foetus cannot feel pain. Healthy fats from different foods are required during the first trimester since about 70% of the new tissues are based on fats.1
The nerve functions start to coordinate during the second trimester. Also, the sensory organs and nerves develop during this phase. The baby can start feeling during the fifth month, even though the sensations are quite limited. Again, the healthy fats help in faster development and better nerve associations.1
The brain starts generating learning capabilities and beginning memories during the third trimester. So, exposure to soothing music and sounds can alter the child’s personality in later life.1 Here are a few tips that can show a positive impact on your baby’s brain development during pregnancy:2
- Eat right: Consume vital baby-building nutrients such as folate from vegetables and fruits such as spinach, oranges; Vitamin C from oranges, tomatoes; iron and protein from meat, lentils; calcium from milk, cheese, yogurt; Vitamin D from fish; carbohydrates and fibre from whole grain products.
- Maintain a meal schedule: Eat regular meals every day, and limit the intake of caffeine.
- Be positive: Be active every day, as it will help you to relax and manage stress.
- Avoid harmful exposure: Since tobacco smoke is hazardous, ask family members or visitors to smoke outdoors.
- How to Improve Baby Brain Development during Pregnancy. Available from: https://www.developinghumanbrain.org/baby-brain-development-during-pregnancy/. As accessed on: 16/6/2017.
- Tips for Parents – Brain Development. Available from: http://www.beststart.org/resources/hlthy_chld_dev/tips_brain_dev/HBHB_did_you_know_ENG_Full.pdf. As accessed on: 16/6/2017.