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. 

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.

MORE: Holistic Remedies for Common Pregnancy Ailments }

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.

What do you think?

7 Tips to Boost Baby’s Brain Development

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56 comments

  1. LIZ says:

    i did exercise during pregnancy in the pool some studies say thats good for babys brain develop

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  5. Ian says:

    Good nutrition is a good idea.

  6. Alanna says:

    I’m opting for flax seed oil instead of stinky fish oil.

  7. Michaela says:

    I think this article about boosting my baby’s brain development is very essential.This is my first pregnancy and I want do everything right. Great reading!

  8. Daniela says:

    Relaxing is definitely the hardest part especially in the third trimester

  9. mommy nhoj says:

    I was on folic acid a month before we got married as part of preparing my body to conceive – so to speak! I ate a lot of citrus fruits on my first trimester and keep myself hydrated with water and fruit juices

  10. Cassye says:

    During my first trimester, I have not been able to stomach any form of prenatal vitamins. Now that I am 12 weeks, I want to take them, but I’m afraid of becoming sick! Any pointers?

    • candice says:

      Have you tried the chewables or gummies?

    • I actually found the gummy prenatal vitamins didn’t upset my stomach, but you might want to bring them to your gyno and ask if you need to supplement them with anything else, as they don’t always have 100% of everything you need during pregnancy. I’ve also heard some doctors suggest even just taking a children’s vitamin, as they are easier on your stomach. Oh, and be sure to never take them on an empty stomach too! Good luck mama!!

  11. Nat says:

    Just to let people know if you have a seafood allergy you can take flax seed oil or hemp oil to get your DHA.

  12. Lindsay says:

    Just got a prenatal vitamin with folic acid and dha today 🙂

  13. KITTYNOLAND says:

    I believe that the omega fatty acid is crucial to brain development in utero. I do think one has to be careful though with certain supplements and herbs. I’m not exactly sure how exercise helps a baby in utero yet it certainly helps mom.

  14. BabyKurth#1 says:

    I’d have to agree that relaxing isn’t he hardest part, but I’d score in A+ in all the other categories.

  15. Phammom says:

    Relax is the hardest.

  16. It is going to be so hard to relax for this pregnancy!

  17. easy enough for me, thanks for the article

  18. Phammom says:

    Seems easy enough thanks!

  19. Heatherly says:

    Oh I like these helps. I’d love to be able to relax around here too!

  20. Sushi was so hard to avoid! I love sushi and it was so hard to not eat it.

  21. Vidya says:

    Eggs, chicken and protein shakes are all i do for my protein serving everyday.

  22. Vidya says:

    Don’t the prenatal vitamins contain everything that is required and not supplied by the pregnant woman’s diet?

  23. Phammom says:

    Very good information!

  24. Marilyn says:

    This is good, I recently bought Silk DHA Omega and it’s delicious and it’s good for the baby 🙂

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