A baby's brain development starts very early and with that, an expectant mother needs to think about how to help that development.

Stimulation is one of the ways to engage your baby and promote healthy brain development. Here are several ways to stimulate fetal brain development.

Eat healthily

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As an expectant mother, one thing you should think of is your health. Physical, mental and emotional health. The healthier you are throughout your pregnancy, the better your baby’s will be. Brain development happens from the nutrients you get from food.

If being healthy is a new thing to you, research healthy habits like eating well, taking supplemental vitamins and  gaining and maintaining a healthy weight.

The internet is filled with different health dishes, smoothies and fruits, all you have to do is research and you can help yourself and your baby.

Stay hydrated

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The human body is comprised of 70% water. Water plays different roles in the body. For pregnant women, water is essential for fetal development.

Not everyone remembers to take 8 glasses of water every day but as a pregnant lady, it is important to do whatever it takes to have your water. There are different ways of doing so

  • Get a big bottle of water and fill it during breakfast and have it with you everywhere all day.
  • Put a reminder on your phone every hour to have your water.
  • Have someone who takes the water with you. They will keep you in check.

Interact with your baby

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That the baby is still inside your womb does not mean that you cannot interact with them. If babies can interact with the mother through physical contact such as kicking, stretching and rolling around inside, the mother can do the same through sound.

There are different ways to stimulate a babies' brain and help it develop better through sound such as:

  • reading books aloud
  • playing soothing music
  • speaking to them as though in person
  • letting other family members talk to the baby - father, other siblings

This will trigger responses from the baby and keep their brains active as they continue to develop.  

Take your vitamins  

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Food alone may not be an adequate source of vitamins during pregnancy. Therefore, ensure that you take your prenatal vitamin supplements.

These vitamins are usually prescribed by doctors in the early days of your antenatal clinic visits.

Prenatal vitamins have the following  

  • Zinc
  • Folic Acid
  • Vitamin D
  • Vitamin C
  • Iron
  • Vitamin B12

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Avoid medication

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Taking medication is a normal thing for most people whenever sick, but when pregnant, such things need to be looked into a bit more.  Certain medications have been associated with conditions such as ADHD, birth defects, autism, anxiety, and other developmental issues.  As a result,  before taking any kind of medication, seek medical advice from a professional.

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Avoid smoking and drinking

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One of the most important things that doctors tell pregnant women is to avoid alcohol consumption or smoking while pregnant.

Nicotine in cigarettes constricts the blood vessels and thus reduces blood pressure. As a result, your baby does not get the necessary nutrition. This interferes with the baby's cognitive brain cell development.

Alcohol, on the other hand, leads to poor fetal brain development and Fetal Alcohol Syndrome (FAS). Babies born to mothers who were drinking during pregnancy may exhibit symptoms such as:

  • impulsive behaviour
  • attention deficits
  • poor cognitive and memory skills
  • lower IQ
  • motor function disabilities
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Exercise, body positioning and movement, in general, has been known to relax muscles that are important during delivery. Exercise also helps bring the baby to the correct position for delivery.

Avoid stress

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Numerous studies show that stress during pregnancy may increase the risk of congenital brain malfunctions in babies.

Therefore, do your best to relax and avoid any major life changes during your pregnancy. Promote a sense of calmness and try stress-reducing activities such as:

  • Getting enough rest - sleep
  • Drinking peppermint tea
  • Light Yoga stretches
  • Breathing exercises
  • Talking to a professional or a friend
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In conclusion...

Having a healthy baby is the goal for any parent, so keep these points in mind as you continue to care for your bundle of joy.

This October, Parents magazine brings you an exciting new issue that’s all about your health!
We talk to Professor Lukoye Atwoli and his wife, Maureen, as they tell us about their love, family and trying moments, including a cancer diagnosis. They also reveal their plans on addressing mental health-related issues in an enlightening read. Also read about Sharon King’ori who unknowingly shelte…

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