Pregnancy is an exciting time full of rapid change and development for both you and your baby. While the growth happening on the outside is clear to everyone (hello, growing belly!), it’s the development we can’t see that is truly fascinating. Your fetus will begin the process of developing a brain around week 5, but it isn’t until week 6 or 7 when the neural tube closes and the brain separates into three parts, that the real fun begins.
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When does the brain develop most in pregnancy?
Third trimester – The third trimester is brimming with rapid development of neurons and wiring. His brain roughly triples in weight during the last 13 weeks of pregnancy, growing from about 3.5 ounces at the end of the second trimester to almost 10.6 ounces at term.
Your baby’s brain is starting to look different, too: Its once smooth surface is becoming increasingly grooved and indented (like the images of brains you’re used to seeing). At the same time, the cerebellum (chiefly responsible for motor control) is developing fast — faster now than any other area of the fetal brain.
Its surface area increases 30-fold in the last 16 weeks of pregnancy! All of this growth is big news for the cerebral cortex (the part responsible for thinking, remembering and feeling). Though this important area of the brain is developing rapidly during pregnancy, it really only starts to function around the time a full-term baby is born — and it steadily and gradually matures in the first few years of life, thanks to your baby’s enriching environment.
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How can I improve my baby’s brain during pregnancy?
It is every parent’s dream that her/his baby grows up to be healthy and intelligent. Sure, mother’s diet, genes and emotions play a part in developing a growing baby’s intelligence, but what about tips for creating a smarter, happier baby? Are there any? “Inherited genes play a major role in determining intelligence and personality, but the right lifestyle choices can help ensure those genes are programmed in the womb,” gynaecologist Ratnabali Ghosh says. By the third trimester, your baby can memorise sounds she/he hears regularly. (iStockphoto) 1. Start a storytime habit When does learning begin? Psychologist and parenting expert Polly Sengupta says the foundations for language begin in the womb and, by the third trimester, your baby can memorise sounds she/he hears regularly. Iron found in leafy vegetables, like spinach, helps the flow of oxygen to the baby’s brain cells. (Shutterstock) 2. Eat healthy Omega 3 fatty acids are absolutely essential for baby’s brain development. Make certain you include foods that have a good content of omega 3, such as, fish, soybeans and spinach, in your diet.
Also, iron found in leafy vegetables, like spinach, helps the flow of oxygen to the baby’s brain cells. “Include nuts such as almonds and walnuts in your diet during your pregnancy. Walnuts are essential for brain development of adults and babies alike. Almonds are a good source of niacin, protein and energy and helps in the overall brain development of the baby,” Ghosh says.
And if you want your baby to have the gourmet palate of an intellect, get adventurous at dinnertime, Ghosh suggests, as your baby’s taste buds develop from around 12 weeks. In one study, babies of mums who drank carrot juice while pregnant showed a preference for carrots once born. Staying fit and active is all the more important during pregnancy. (Shutterstock) 3. Stay fit and active Love the endorphin boost you get from exercise? Well, so does your baby. Staying fit and active is all the more important during pregnancy. Fight the urge to laze around and get off the couch if you want to make your baby smarter, Ghosh says.
“Hormones released during exercise cross the placenta, bathing your baby in feel-good chemicals for up to a couple of hours. Plus, as exercise increases the flow of blood around your body, including to the womb. Hence, your baby’s development is given a boost,” she says. If you weren’t exercising before getting pregnant, stick to lightweight exercises and brisk walks, as it has been proven that mothers who are active during pregnancy have smarter children, she adds.
Latest research also suggests exercise during pregnancy can increase neurons in your baby’s hippocampus – the learning and memory part of the brain – by 40%. Unborn babies love music – it helps trigger happy chemicals, like serotonin, which encourage her/him to be calm and even increase concentration power. (YouTube) 4. Play music and get talking As the baby grows in her/his mother’s womb, she/he begins to hear and even respond to sound.
She/he may not understand what you are saying but stimulating your baby by talking or even singing can help with her/his brain development, says Sengupta. “You can even ask you partner to speak to your belly and feel the baby respond in return,” she says, adding, “From time to time listen to soothing music or even nursery rhymes.” Perhaps the most important education of all – you can shape your baby’s music taste.
“Unborn babies love music – it helps trigger happy chemicals, like serotonin, which encourage her/him to be calm and even increase concentration power. After the birth, your baby remembers and relives all those good feelings associated with the music each time she/he hears it,” Sengupta says. Deficiency of thyroid in the mother can affect the intelligence quotient of the baby. (Shutterstock) 5. Keep thyroid levels in check Thyroid is essential for the body. During pregnancy if your thyroid level is unstable it can affect the baby: Deficiency of thyroid in the mother can affect the intelligence quotient of the baby. You must take additional supplements for the well-being of the baby and a smooth delivery. (Shutterstock) 6. Don’t ignore the supplements During pregnancy your body needs extra nourishment. Though a wholesome meal will provide you with ample nutrition,you must take additional supplements for the well-being of the baby and a smooth delivery. All you need to do is soak some sunshine up for 20 minutes a day. (Shutterstock) 7. Get a little sunshine Never before has vitamin D been so important. All you need to do is soak some sunshine up for 20 minutes a day. “We test the pregnant mums who come to our clinic for vitamin D, and more than half of them are deficient. Research suggests an unborn baby can even distinguish between her/his mother and father’s touch. (Shutterstock) 8. Gently massage your tummy According to a Time magazine article, rubbing your belly gently is also a good stimulation for the baby. “A baby, still in the womb, can feel your touch.
From around 20 weeks, your baby will feel you touching your bump and stroking it can send calming messages to her/his nervous system, Sengupta says. Research suggests an unborn baby can even distinguish between her/his mother and father’s touch. Pass some almond oil: this is the best excuse for a massage ever.
What’s more? Your unborn baby even has sense of smell. Sengupta suggests you try and smell fresh flowers, fruits and other such soothing fragrances whenever you can, as these exercises will also help with the baby’s brain stimulation. Follow @htlifeandstyle for more
ABOUT THE AUTHOR Sanya Panwar is an online journalist with Hindustan Times. She writes on health, wellness, travel, fashion, relationships, films and pop culture.
What develops first in a fetus?
Path to improved health – Pregnancy begins when a man’s sperm fertilizes a woman’s egg. Since you don’t always know when fertilization occurred, doctors calculate pregnancy based on the first day of your last menstrual period (LMP). Your doctor will count forward 40 weeks from your LMP to estimate the due date.
Most births occur between weeks 38 and 42. If you have an ultrasound early in your pregnancy, your doctor may measure the baby to determine your due date instead. After conception, your baby begins a period of dramatic change known as the embryonic stage, This stage runs from the 5th through the 10th week of pregnancy.
During this stage, the baby is called an embryo. There are numerous changes that occur during the embryonic stage. First, the cells of the embryo (called embryonic stem cells) multiply and develop. They become the hundreds of different types of cells needed to make a whole human body.
Your baby’s major organs and body parts begin to take shape. The placenta forms during the embryonic stage. The placenta takes nutrients, oxygen, and water from your blood and passes these along to your baby through the umbilical cord. It also removes the baby’s wastes. The placenta will filter out most of the harmful substances that may be present in your body.
The amniotic sac forms during this stage as well. It is filled with amniotic fluid, which surrounds and protects your baby in the uterus. Below are some of the highlights that occur during the embryonic stage.
Nervous system. This is one of the first things to develop. It includes the formation of your baby’s brain, spinal cord, and nerves. Heart. An S-shaped tube forms on the front of the embryo. This will become your baby’s heart. At first the heart doesn’t beat, but soon it starts beating and pumping an early form of blood. Face. Your baby’s facial features begin to take shape. The eyes and ears form on the sides of the head and are linked to the brain. The eyes move forward on the face, and eyelids form to protect the developing eyes. Pieces of tissue grow and join together to create the forehead, nose, cheeks, lips, and jaw. The nasal passages, mouth, and tooth buds form the baby’s first teeth. A tongue with taste buds also forms. Arms and legs. At first, your baby’s arms and legs begin as little buds that sprout from the embryo’s sides. As they grow, the arms look like paddles and the legs look like flippers. A ridge appears on the end of each one. They eventually become your baby’s fingers and toes. Sexual organs. Cells form to become your baby’s eggs or sperm. Your baby’s vagina or penis is visible at the end of the embryonic period. However, it’s still too soon to tell on an ultrasound if your baby is a girl or boy. Muscles and movement. Muscles develop and the embryo begins to move. At first it’s only twitching and reacting to touch. Once the nerves and muscles start working together, your baby can start moving on purpose.
By the end of the embryonic stage at week 10 of your pregnancy, your baby will be about 1 inch long. That’s still too small for you to feel your baby’s movements. You’ll probably feel them starting in the middle of the second trimester. After the embryonic stage, the fetal stage begins and your baby is called a fetus.
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Which fruit is best for brain?
Certain fruits such as oranges, bell peppers, guava, kiwi, tomatoes, and strawberries, contain high amounts of vitamin C. Vitamin C helps prevent brain cells from becoming damaged and supports overall brain health. In fact, a study found that vitamin C can potentially prevent Alzheimer’s.
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What helps the baby’s brain and eyes develop?
One of the most magical moments for parents, following the birth of their baby, is when their newborn opens their eyes for the first time. Making eye-to-eye contact with your baby is priceless! Many new parents wonder, “What exactly does my baby see?” Help Your Baby’s Eyes During Pregnancy There are simple measures you can take during your pregnancy to help the development of your baby’s eyes and vision. Keep reading to learn how you can help your baby’s vision and understand what exactly they see during their first few months of life. The recommendations below can help in the development of your baby’s eyes and vision:
Maintain healthy nutrition, Avoid smoking, drugs and alcohol consumption. Always discuss with your OB/GYN before taking new medications, over-the-counter drugs and even herbal therapies. Take a prenatal vitamin, daily, with Omega 3 Fatty Acids – the DHA (docosahaxaenoic acid) has been proven to aid the baby’s developing eyes and brain.