Naturally, you want the best for your baby. You may have researched baby gear, subscribed to every bump blog, and sought advice from friends and family. But not many people know that you don’t have to wait until your baby is born to help them develop their mind or support their growth.
Science tells us that there are certain things you can do to help enhance your baby’s brain development in the womb. Although the thought of supporting your baby’s prenatal brain growth might have you imagining yourself with headphones stretched around your bump playing Mozart or Beethoven, as it turns out, classical music doesn’t do much in the way of improving your baby’s IQ. But here are six simple, research-supported ways to help boost your baby’s brain development in utero.
1. Take a Hike
Well, it doesn’t have to be a hike, a 30-minute walk will do the trick! Exercising and staying active while pregnant is important for your body’s health, but studies show that it can also improve your baby’s brain function.
From the experts
“Regular aerobic exercise during pregnancy is beneficial both for the mother and for the infant…studies demonstrated that the aerobic exercise during pregnancy improves brain functions of the offspring.”
– Scientific World Journal, 2012
Remember, always check with your doctor before incorporating a new exercise routine, especially during pregnancy. For some post-pregnancy exercise tips, check out 5 Exercises busy moms can do at home.
2. Food as Medicine
Since you have nine months of nourishing not only your own body but also your baby’s growing body ahead of you, let’s talk about food. Egg yolks are full of choline, (a recommended vitamin for pregnant women) which has been shown to improve learning and memory in babies when taken during pregnancy. Some studies have even shown that choline changes the structure of brain cells, making them more supportive for cognitive development.
DHA (an omega-3 fatty acid) has also been associated with better brain development. You can find DHA in many prenatal supplements, but you can also get it by including fish like salmon and sardines (fish that contain less mercury) in your diet.
3. Supplement A Healthy Diet
Along with incorporating some vitamin-rich foods into your diet, make sure you add a prenatal supplement with Folate (A.K.A. B vitamin folic acid). Folic acid, or getting the right amount of Folate, helps your baby form healthy brain cells.
4. Read to Your Bump
Listening to classical music during pregnancy might not make much of a difference but talking to your baby can. Language learning begins in utero, and studies have shown that parents who talk and/or read to their baby throughout pregnancy promotes early word recognition after they’re born. Get some ideas for a baby friendly story time or even read your book club book out loud, just to get the sound of your voice going.
5. Get More Sleep
Remember, you’re sleeping for two, staying well-rested is incredibly important. Not only will sleep help boost your mood and fuel your immune system, but it also increases your chances for a healthy birth. With the right amount of sleep, your baby’s brain will have the time to properly grow in the womb and there’s less risk for post-birth developmental issues.
From the experts
“Protecting sleep during pregnancy is not only good for a mother’s health, but her child’s health as well.”
– Michael J. Breus, PhD, Psychology Today
6. Get Geared Up
Of course, once your baby arrives, their brain will still be developing — mostly during sleep. Continue their head start with our safely weighted Zen Sleepwear™. From their first swaddle to transitional sleepwear that adjusts to their sleep style as they grow, Zen Sleepwear™ bundles set you up with options that support longer sleep at every stage.