7 Tips to Boost Baby’s Brain Development

pregnant woman

Hoping to give your baby an edge on acceptance to the Ivy League? According to experts, there’s a lot you can do to boost baby’s brainpower even before birth. The human brain begins developing between the first and second week of fetal development.

Exercising throughout your pregnancy is a good idea, but avoid overheating — especially during the first trimester.

Though genetics play a role, diet, exercise and even maternal stress levels also have an impact on your baby’s brain development. 

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So what’s a mom-to-be to do?

“Get plenty of rest, eat nutritious foods and take care of yourself physically and mentally,” says Nancy Aaron Jones, Ph.D., associate professor of psychology and biomedical science at Florida Atlantic University, whose research identifies the contributors to optimal infant and child development. “Fetuses are totally dependent on their mom’s physical and psychological well-being,” she adds.

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MORE: Holistic Remedies for Common Pregnancy Ailments }

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Here are some specific strategies to help your baby’s brain development and give him (or her!) the brightest beginnings:

  • Focus on folic acid. Including lots of folic acid in your pregnancy diet is crucial to baby’s developing brain. The US Department of Health recommends that pregnant women get 400 to 800 mcg of folic acid during pregnancy. Most women can’t get enough folic acid through foods alone, so it’s essential to take a daily prenatal vitamin with at least 400 mcg of folic acid.
  • Skip the swordfish. Avoid exposure to environmental toxins in your pregnancy diet, which can cause neurological damage to the developing brain. That means steer clear of fish high in mercury, such as shark, swordfish, king mackerel or tilefish.
  • Fuel up on fish oil. 
    Omega-3 fatty acids (especially DHA) support baby’s brain development. The March of Dimes recommends that women consume at least 200 milligrams in a pregnancy diet and in a breastfeeding diet. Although foods such as low-mercury fatty fish (salmon, herring, sardines, freshwater trout or DHA-enriched foods) are an excellent source of omega-3 fatty acids, you may want to consider taking a daily vitamin supplement that contains at least 200 mgs of DHA during pregnancy.

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7 Tips to Boost Baby’s Brain Development

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56 comments

  1. Profile photo of Janice Janice says:

    I took a course in nutrition in college and I learned that I needed to add a lot more to my diet. But eating all the time is not possible so I got vitamins to supplement my diet. One of the things I am glad to have learned, is that what ever is good for your heart is good for your brain.Another thing is that, a variety is good for us, because we take in many vitamins, nutrients, and phytochemicals that we can not get any where else.

  2. Profile photo of Ada Ada says:

    Am all for the DHA. Heard Dr Oz talk about it today and it was amazing.

  3. Profile photo of Alicia Alicia says:

    This article was very informative. I have been trying a variety of prenatal vit’s, but will definetly pay more attention to see if there is enough Folic Acid @ DHA in them.

  4. Profile photo of Melody Melody says:

    I’ll want to remember this for the second time around…but I think I did pretty well with my first!

  5. Profile photo of Sara Sara says:

    Wish I had seen this before! At 39 wks it probably won’t help much…but I am still trying :)

  6. Profile photo of AmyC AmyC says:

    As usual a very good article

  7. Profile photo of Grace Grace says:

    love the info in the comments here too!

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  10. Profile photo of lindylee06 lindylee06 says:

    these are great tips but it would have also been nice to see the recommendation for mothers to get short amounts of exercise,even if its 15 minutes of walking or playing an active wii game,exercise lowers stress levels and helps mom keep weight down.

  11. Profile photo of annie annie says:

    Known also as vitamin B 9. It is essential to a good development of the baby. Usually, it is recommended to take supplement of B9/folate/folic acid 3 month before pregnancy and during the entire pregnancy. B9 vitamin is essential during the embryo period when we don’t know that we are pregnant.
    So eat your greens and take a supplement of at least 400mcg. Have a happy healthy pregnancy

  12. Profile photo of BEAngel2009 BEAngel2009 says:

    Here is foods u can eat to get folic acid.
    Fortified breakfast cereals (look on the label to see if the cereal has been fortified with folic acid)
    •Lentils
    •Asparagus
    •Spinach
    •Black beans
    •Peanuts (only if you do not have a peanut allergy)
    •Orange juice (from concentrate is best)
    •Enriched breads and pasta
    •Romaine lettuce
    •Broccoli

  13. what is folic acid, i need to eat more of that i think. I want my baby to be a genius. lol

  14. Profile photo of Valerie Valerie says:

    very interesting..

  15. Profile photo of ChrisS ChrisS says:

    This is a good article.

  16. Profile photo of nathalie nathalie says:

    Very good article!

  17. Profile photo of michelle michelle says:

    great tips, love this website

  18. I am worried that I over exercised a few times because I’m not sure what the perfect amount is. Also, I’m not sure I have the best prenatal vitamins – there are just so many =[ So overwhelming, being a mom to be =[

  19. Profile photo of Julie Julie says:

    All very good tips.

  20. Profile photo of Amanda784 Amanda784 says:

    Very good article. Definitely taught me something.

  21. Profile photo of Deee Deee says:

    Thanks for the important information greatly appreciated.

  22. Profile photo of mommy88 mommy88 says:

    Very good information…i think these things are very important to know.especially if you are a concerned pregnant mother and you want your baby to be healthy and also yourself.

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