4 Simple Ways To Help Baby's Brain Develop
A lot of momma's try their best to help baby's brain develop while they are pregnant. They play classical music for baby to hear, read to their belly, and even have baby listen to tapes "proven" to increase IQ. However, when it comes to the best brain development for your child, it comes down to four simple things. Gaining the right amount of weight, eating the right foods, exercising the right amount, and not becoming too stressed. I learned these things while reading the book "Brain Rules For Baby" by Dr. John Medina, which I highly recommend to ALL new, expecting and experienced mothers. I will breakdown below what is meant by each of these categories and why they are important.
When you are pregnant you will need to eat more food to fuel your tired body and growing baby. By eating more you will be able to grow a larger baby which science has proven provides smarter babies. Yes, your weight and what you consume can determine how well your baby's brain is developing. For instance, Dr. Medina notes a malnutrition study where babies experiencing an extreme lack of nutrients due to their mother's not intaking enough have fewer neurons and smaller connections between neurons. This caused these kids to have more behavior problems, lower IQs, and have slower language growth. Thus, you want to be eating enough to give your baby the nutrients she needs in order to have healthy brain development. But how much should you be eating exactly? According to Dr. Medina, how much you should be eating is all dependent on your pre-pregnancy weight. If you were overweight before you got pregnant you only should be gaining around 15 to 25 pounds, where if you were underweight you should be gaining 30 to 40 pounds. Mainly, the amount you eat in order to gain your optimal pregnancy weight is very important. It is also very important not to eat anything you can dream of (fried foods, fast food, etc.) to gain this weight.
I can go on for hours discussing what you should be eating while pregnant but instead of doing that I am going to redirect you to two articles I have already written on the subject, The Practical Guide to Pregnancy Nutrition and Healthy Foods To Eat While Pregnant. However, if you wish for an even more in depth look on why you should be eating certain foods, check out Dr. Medina's book "Brain Rules For Baby" - link below - where he discusses the importance of Omega-3s and eating a well balanced meal.
Exercising the proper amount during your pregnancy can lead to easier labor and less stress. What? Easier labor? That's right! When you are fit you are more likely to push for a shorter amount of time, making it so your baby doesn't experience oxygen deprivation which can cause brain damage. Make sure you don't over work yourself too much though. Working out too much can overheat the baby. This causes the baby's heart rate and breathing to decline since the rising temperature in the womb decreases the oxygen baby receives. So remember to workout but don't go crazy. Workout approximately 30 minutes a day doing moderate exercises.
When you are stressed, your baby is stressed. Yes, that's right. Are you freaking out about how you are doing at work or how your finances are? Well your stress influences your baby's development and causes behavioral issues. However, you shouldn't stress about stressing too much since not all stress is bad. Confused yet? Yeah, I was at first too, but studies have found that a little bit of stress - like what you typical feel when pregnant - is good for baby. That is because this little bit of stress gets you moving (and as we previously discussed, moderate exercise is good for baby's brain development). A ton of toxic, bad stress is detrimental for baby. For instance, losing a loved one or getting fired. Your stress hormones with seep through the placenta and enter your baby's brain and can potentially damage it. That is why it is so important that you relax and meditate during your pregnancy. Proper stress relief can help not only you but your baby significantly.