How to Improve Baby Brain Development During Pregnancy

brain development

What you feed your body will feed your child. You only want the best, so choose the best.

What NOT to Eat During Pregnancy

In the recent years, we’ve found many ‘health’ foods are not so healthy.

Soy foods and products were preferred for some time, but recently, we have discovered they are simply bad. Oh, not all soy foods. Fermented soy is truly a health food. But, can you actually find real fermented soy in your stores? Outside of Asia, probably not. That tofu in the stores is not truly fermented.

We now know unfermented soy, especially in baby foods, causes problems, such as delayed development, allergies (environmental and food), asthma, lower IQ, and childhood cancers (leukemia). Later in life, consuming soy is directly linked and a known cause of thyroid problem. It’s also linked to depression, excessive weight, and heart disease.

pregnancy food

Anything low fat is slowly losing favor as healthy. We now know low fat lifestyles and diets are causes of diabetes, heart disease, obesity, and depression. Low-fat diets during pregnancy have resulted in lower birth weight, development problems, sickly children, and miscarriage.

Eating a diet rich in healthy fats provides us with stronger, healthier bodies. Proper fat consumption during pregnancy can be easily measured in the development of the fetal brain. We’ll go into this more below.

low fat dangers

Coloring and preservatives used in processed foods, especially the snack foods pregnant women enjoy are directly linked as a cause of ADHD in children. Several studies have shown that children with ADHD problems significantly improve and are even cured of ADHD when these chemicals are completely removed from their diet. Starting early, you can avoid potential problem by simply avoiding any foods that contain chemicals and pesticides.

Below we’re going to talk about the 5 best ways to improve your baby’s brains.

But first, we’re going to go over some brain development timelines for your child’s life. You’ll see the impact of what you choose to put in your body on how it will affect your child for the rest of their life.

Fetal Brain Development

The fetal brain goes through several stages of development. During the first trimester, the nerve cells form, but are not actually developed as a brain. Impulses begin to fire without pattern or direction. Sensory organs and nerves are not developed at this point, so the fetus does not feel pain.

During this time, it’s especially important to avoid chemicals and dangerous substances. The first trimester is a time of exponential growth. Healthy fats from natural foods are especially important since nearly 70% of the new tissues are fat based.

During the second trimester, nerve functions start to synchronize and differentiate. The sensory organ begin development, as do the nerves. About the 5th month, the baby can now start to feel, although the sensations they feel are very limited and erratic. Those healthy fats provide faster development, and healthier nerve connections.

During the last trimester, the brain is forming learning abilities and beginning memories. This is a time where exposure to classical music and soothing sounds will affect the child’s disposition later in life.

Infant Brain Development

Through the age of 5, the brain of children develops nerve connections at a rate unparalleled in any other time of development. Children can possibly develop and use over 100,000 new neuro connections per day.

This is why it is recommended children learn by doing things, listening to speech and language, and begin to read. It is much easier for a child to start learning these functions now than in the next couple of years.

Childhood Brain Development

From age 5 to 10, the learning capacity of children begins to slow down, however, they are still learning at a rate of about 10 times what an adult can learn. The odd phrase ‘picks up knowledge like a sponge’ is accurate. Children at this time will form 10,000 to 50,000 neuro connections per day.

The basic skills of reading, math, comprehension, and association are created now for a lifetime. Children who are stimulated during these years will go on to be smart and productive adults.

Avoiding sugary foods, colorings, chemicals, and pesticides during this time allows children to start developing self-control and ability to pay attention without artificial medications.

Teenage Brain Development

The final cementing of a personality and learning type occurs during the teenage years through about the age of 25. During this time, the brain is settling into patterns that determine a personality. Habits made during this time will last a lifetime. (Adults can change their personality, thinking patterns, and habits with conscious thought and hard work.)

During this time, hormones are being produced randomly and excessively. Many attention deficit drugs and supplements alter these hormone patterns. Artificially altering the patterns can delay the natural settling of these hormones, causing ADHD and depression later in life.

It’s important during this time to avoid brain damaging chemicals and recreational drugs. The disruption in brain activities can make learning more difficult in later life and severely impact the state of brain and hormones.

stages of brain development infographic

Share this Image On Your Site

5 Ways to Improve Your Baby’s Brain Development

Building your baby’s brain health starts far before pregnancy. Providing the healthiest and safest growing space is important to the overall health of your child.

But, if your baby is a surprise, then starting when you can is also important.

Prepare a Good Environment

Your baby will be at home totally within your body. Anything that goes in your body will go into your baby’s body. We need to make sure that only good things are going in.

There is a myth that the placenta filters out many toxins between you and your baby. While it does filter out some, most of what goes into us, goes into your baby. Drugs, medications, alcohol, chemicals, toxins, and hazardous materials all accumulate in your baby’s body.

toxins during pregnancy

Avoid doing remodeling and painting during pregnancy. While it is one of the most common ways to prepare, the toxins from paint and cleaning supplies are one of the #1 ways to disrupt your baby’s ability to build healthy brain tissues. In fact, a series of studies out of Europe found that 100% of babies born in 2013 had at least 12 chemicals in their systems at birth, with a staggering 238 at the max. The most common chemicals were the ones found in cleaning supplies.

Eat Healthy

Food is your #1 way to provide building blocks to your child. Choose wisely what you will give.

The only source of natural vitamins and minerals are fruits, vegetables, and whole cuts of meat. Processed foods contain many of those toxic chemicals we want to avoid.

Food cravings are often a sign of mineral deficiencies. Seeking out certain foods is a way to get them. Choose carefully. Ice cream has no nutritional value, therefore is just a sugar craving. This can turn into diabetes if not well controlled.

pregnancy menu infographic

Share this Image On Your Site

Drink Lots of Water

A staggering 78% of all people in the US are dehydrated right now. In the summer, this number can climb to 90%. In most people, this results in aching in joints, increased chances of high blood pressure, fatigue, head pain (a hangover is a dehydrated brain), and a depressed immune system.

In pregnant women, this can cause the amniotic fluid to become thicker. While this is often not a fatal condition, it can be uncomfortable and delay development.

water and pregnancy

Choose your source carefully. The only really good way to tell if your water is healthy is to have a private laboratory run a test on the water your drink. Then, you can make an informed decision.

There are pros and cons to the various sources of our water.

Personal well waters and springs are sometimes the cleanest and freshest sources. They tap into water deep underground. However, it’s also much easier to have bacterial contamination and unknown contaminants.

City water or tap water is tested and certified safe (within reason). However, it often doesn’t taste that good and can have contamination introduced in many ways. The chlorine and fluorine introduced are not good for your body.

Bottled water is considered to be safest, but that’s simply not true. Most bottled water is actually city water that is treated to remove the chlorine, thus making it more susceptible to bacterial contamination. The bottles introduce new contaminants. While the bottles are secure for 6 months, most bottled water sits in a warehouse for 4-10 months before going to a store. These plastic residues are more harmful than chlorine. Plus, in the past 10 years, bottle water has received more recalls and warnings than all public water services combined.

Regardless of the source, we require water and lots of it. Most people need between 64oz (2L) and 96oz (3L) per day. Being pregnant should mean you are drinking closer to the 96oz (3L) mark.

Yes, it will mean that your already crushed bladder with be filling more often. None of us can really help it when the baby dances on our bladder. However, this is something you really need to be aware of. Water is life and your baby needs all she or he can get.

Exercise Properly

I know, you’re balance is off, your feet ache, and you’re tired. Did you know that will go away the more you exercise?

Gentle, but stimulating exercising during pregnancy increases the blood flow to all parts of your body, including the baby. It will also increase your baby’s heart rate, muscle movements, and stimulate growth. In the past, women didn’t exercise, but kept active through normal activities.

 Exercise during Pregnancy

For most people, it’s perfectly safe to continue to exercise throughout pregnancy, all the way through giving birth. Now, this is the exercise that makes you feel good after you are done, not the kind that makes you want to fall over. If you already have a routine prior to becoming pregnant, most doctors will advise you to keep it up, just to start backing off when the baby becomes a hindrance to the exercise.

Yoga and swimming are two of the best exercises for pregnant women. Swimming takes much of the pressure off your body while providing quality resistance to keep muscles firm. Swimming also keeps you from sweating excessively or raising your core body temperature, which can be hazardous to your baby’s health.

Yoga provides muscle stimulating workouts, enhanced balance and coordination and peace. Yoga can help reduce many of the pain and waddling effects of pregnancy.

While exercising doesn’t provide real, tangible result right away, children of women who exercise are more likely to seek out sports and activity during their lives and be able to achieve the balance needed to keep good grade and activities at a high level.

Provide Brain Stimulating Activities

”Listening to Mozart makes babies smarter” was said in the movie The Incredible. It’s 100% true. Although, any classical, jazz, or instrumental music works, too. Studies show that music enhances brain function, and stimulates many parts that are not stimulated in any other way. A study of musician’s brains shows in excess of 5 times as many interconnections in the brain than non-musicians.

Your baby won’t come out of the womb playing the piano, but will come into the world with an appreciation of finer details in music, life, and love. Also, listening to classical music in the womb leads children to seek out music in schools. Student musicians have an average of 11 points higher IQ than non-musicians.

Reading provides similar stimulating material. But, don’t discount view art and nature. While science has yet to make a connection, it’s been long understood that viewing classical art encourages children to become more creative. It’s believed that the happiness derived from the mother viewing the art becomes ingrained in to the child, who will then seek out art in the future.


Many of these suggestions are not new ideas. Going back to a slightly simpler time takes many of the risks away from women and babies. The easiest way to make sure your baby is healthy is to make sure you are healthy.

If you liked our article, please share it and use the comment section below to tell us about your experiences or ask any questions. Thanks!


Christina Major

Christina Major is a holistic nutritionist, traditional naturopath, and herbalist. She has a Master’s degree in Holistic Nutrition and an advanced degree in Traditional Naturopathy. Further certifications in herbalism and metabolic typing. She owns and operates Crystal Holistic Health Consulting based in PA, the USA since 2010.
  • Is true /false that when awoman concive ababy during the day 13-14ovulation the reseacher say that is abest baby?

    • Hey Leonard!

      When a woman is ovulating, she can conceive. It is a short window of 24 to 36 hours when the egg is in the perfect position within the fallopian tubes.

      Please read this article, which gives exceptional amount of detail on the ovulation process and getting pregnant.

  • I am 5 months pregnant I like to know more about how to improve development of brain for my baby. I really appreciate what you have share with us.

    thank you

    • Hey Mpume!

      Thank you for your question and Congratulations on your pregnancy.

      One of the best things you can do for your baby is to make sure you get all the nutrition you need and to make sure your life is as consistent and stress-free as possible. For an upcoming mother, we know stress is a way of life.

      Look over some of the suggestions we have in this article again and supplement with a complete nutritional plan that make sure you get all of the vitamin minerals that both you and your baby need.

      Much of that can be accomplished by eating a diet that’s filled with vegetables and fruits. Avoiding processed foods will also help.

  • please fallow up updates in embryo development in all aspects and develop the bright color to baby

    • Hello, Dr.SHANMUKHA SWAMY!

      We didn’t understand your question or what you would want to say. Please try to explain yourself better and we will be happy to assist you.

      Thank you.

  • I am very happy with this article. It has given me an insight about how I can take of my baby both in the womb and out of the womb especially in the development of the brain which is a critical part of the body. Thank you

    • Hey Kuks,

      Good question!

      Walking is an excellent exercise as long as you are physically able to do it. Walking uses the majority of the body.

      It is the first exercise people are recommended to do after surgery and other injuries. Even if you have pain from arthritis or other issues, walking is still a fabulous exercise (get your doctors OK to make sure you won’t hurt yourself).

      We recommend yoga because it is a much more full body exercise routine, encourages deep breathing, and you are often around other people in case something goes wrong. Swimming takes the pressure off of the back and the belly so you can do more with your body without risk to your baby.

      But, if neither of these is available to you, walking is an excellent way to exercise. In fact, many midwives are recommending walking exercises during labor to reduce pain and stimulate delivery.

      Most women are able to exercise right up until labor, and this is much healthier for both mother and baby.

  • The only source of natural vitamins and minerals are fruits, vegetables, and whole cuts of meat.

    This is not true. Nuts and seeds provide protiens and fats without the carcinogens and other toxins present in meat. Studies comparing vegan lifestyles with those who eat meat have shown reductions in diseases accross the board for those who cut meat and dairy from their diets (google it). It is important to keep in mind the SOURCES and Practices involved in the foods we consume. Higher consciousness practices will be translated to the baby.

    • Hey, Om!

      Thanks for reaching out to us. Nuts and seeds fall into the fruit category of nutrition. The reason we don’t mention nuts and seed specifically is people tend to overdo the nuts and seeds and cause other health problems. We’re trying to keep it simple and sticking to what people traditionally considered fruits and vegetables take the diet a huge step towards being healthy.

      Eating too many nuts and seeds can throw the balance of the fats in the body off, leading to inflammation, liver problems, and kidney stones. Many people are allergic to nuts, and many more experience diverticulitis because of nuts and seeds.

      In addition, there are certain toxins present in nuts and seeds that are toxic to infants newborns. For example, the mold that grows on the peanut can be transferred through the breast milk to the infant and concentrations greater than 5 parts per billion can kill a child.

      For people who are concerned about toxins in meats, getting local and naturally raised animals avoids growth hormones, antibiotics, and toxins. If you are shopping exclusively in the grocery store, you’re not going to find healthy foods. This includes fruits vegetables and nuts.

      As for the vegan lifestyle, medically and nutritionally most of these studies have been debunked. They’re bad science. The vast majority of research that has been done on the vegan lifestyle has been concluded in less than 6 months. While there are positive health changes in the short period of time, the studies that follow vegans for more than 2 years show an increased rate of depression, suicide, heart disease, cancer, and many other problems. 98% of all vegans return to eating meat because their health becomes so bad they have no choice. 100% of children raised in a vegan lifestyle have shown nutritional deficiencies, growth retardation, and mental problems.

      It’s nearly impossible to put together a healthy diet in order to raise a baby on a vegan lifestyle. The requirements for protein fats and vitamins a baby needs is so complex that veganism cannot supply the nutrition. Countries that use a mostly vegetarian lifestyle rely heavily on breastfeeding (which is non-vegan) and animal products, like milk and cheese. In fact, in many countries of the world, a vegan diet is considered child abuse.

      Hope it helps.
      Thank you!

      • I think you should read more…

        Please provide me your research to backup what you said. Also whenever you write something, have some references. Writing without references are like writing your opinions without facts. Thank you.

        • Hey, Kelvin!

          Thank you for your advice and suggested reading. There are over 30 links to individual websites and studies in the article to back up what we said. Please go back and click on the red links to see those articles. We reference only authority and well-known websites.

  • Thank you very much for sharing such a useful article for pregnant women.

    I have one question. You have mentioned to avoid remodeling and painting during pregnancy. About which painting you have written? Is it about normal water color painting? Because I am pregnant and I do some water color painting many times.. So is it safe to do or do I need to avoid it?
    Looking forward for your answer soon.

    • Hello Mrs. Bhat!

      Wow, this is a great question I didn’t even think of.

      The painting we are recommending you avoid is the large-scale painting of rooms and buildings. The volume of fumes coming off of this paint can reach toxic levels for your child.

      The smaller scale painting that you questioned should not have these problems.

      We know many pregnant women have used watercolor and oil paints without any issue during pregnancy.

      You should, however, research the paints you are using to make sure there are no toxic chemicals that could affect your child. If safe, you should be able to paint to your heart’s content.

      Just as a precaution, we just recommend painting in a well-ventilated room so you avoid any issues. And if you’d like, please share pictures of what you paint during your pregnancy to show other women just how expressive they can be.

  • Can we always advertising me about this, I am ? leaning more thing and different that I know ?…..

  • WoW!!
    It is possible to develop a child’s atheism in a very poor manner because when we focus on the most important things in our childhood, we will know that the child will be better. This is considered to be the most important post to me.Thanks for this post.

  • Is it okay to drink Coca Cola while pregnant? Will it make baby have autism or other developmental problems?

    • Hey Sandy!

      This is an interesting question.

      According to the studies that were done by the soda company, the soda is safe to drink by everyone.

      However, other studies have shown that drinking soda can cause obesity and diabetes in both you and your baby.

      The caffeine, phosphoric acid, chemical colorings, and way too much sugar is not healthy for anyone.

      There are also tentative links to behavioral problems, such as ADHD.

      We have not found a link to autism, but all studies have shown that drinking soda while your pregnant is not healthy for you or your baby.

  • I am 14th week pregnent but my TSH level is 9.14 and now I take medicine for this. Please tell me it is harmful for my baby?? ?

    • Hey Sapna!


      Generally, medication for low thyroid is not harmful for your baby.

      We recommend working with your doctor to make sure your levels come up and there is no harm coming to your baby.

      One of the things that will help both your TSH levels and your baby is to make sure you get in lots of fruits and vegetables while you are pregnant and breastfeeding.

      That way, you are not ingesting any chemicals that will suppress your thyroid hormone or cause damage to your baby.

  • Hi I am 7weeks pregnant and I have thyroid of 5.9 I never had this before. I am on thyronorm but I wanted to know will this harm my baby’s growth and if so then what best can I do?

    • Hey Sharmein!

      This is a difficult question to answer. Having a change in your thyroid levels during pregnancy is fairly normal. The medication you’re on theoretically should not harm your baby. However, long-term testing has not been done. If you are truly concerned about this problem, we recommend getting a second opinion from a doctor who will be able to review your individual medical history and discuss with you, the pros and cons of the medication you are on. Visiting a naturopath or herbalist are also options available to you.

  • I am expecting a baby girl and I want her to be healthy, so thanks for the tips.

    Can you please share the safe ways and eatables for having a fair child.

    • Hey, Ankita!

      Congratulations on your expected child! The best way to have a healthy child is to make sure you are eating a diet that is rich in fruits and vegetables from quality sources that avoid pesticides and chemical fertilizers.

  • Although the main source of vitamins and nutrients needed during pregnancy should come from your diet, a daily prenatal vitamin can help fill small gaps—just in case you unintentionally do not get enough key nutrients. Prenatal vitamins should be taken up to three months before conception, if possible. Consult your healthcare provider about which supplement is best for you.

    • Hey!

      That is excellent advice to work with your doctor. Fortunately, many of the women here already have been seen by their doctor, and they want to make sure their babies get as much healthy nutrition as possible. Vitamins are good. However, they are restricted to the few essential chemicals that are put into the pills, and not all companies create their vitamins with quality ingredients. By focusing in on food and natural supplements, your body gets more of the phytonutrients that it needs to become healthy.

  • Taking it will help ensure that you get the balance of nutrients your baby needs, like folic acid and vitamin B12 to make red blood cells, vitamin C to produce collagen, vitamin D for bone building, and zinc for brain development. If your vitamin upsets your stomach, don’t just ditch it: Try taking it with a meal, or talk to your doctor about switching brands.

    • Hey!

      These are good suggestions for people who are taking prenatal supplements. Many of the readers want to have a more natural route because the prenatal vitamins are chemical compositions that bind with various fillers. Some of the less scrupulous companies do not provide quality vitamins, and people feel better with natural sources. Many doctors are also switching from prenatal vitamins to natural foods because, in natural foods, you get the thousands of phytonutrients. This helps promote healthy growth rather than just sustain life. Also, these prenatal vitamins are not designed to support healthy growth only to minimize disease. There is a big difference between surviving and thriving.

  • Pulsus Group is an internationally renowned medical peer-review publisher and conferences organizer established in the year 1984 publishes and hosts the work of researchers in a manner that exemplifies the highest standards in research integrity.
    With a legacy of 30 years of excellence in Medical Publishing and with a support of various societies, PULSUS Conferences invites all the participants from all over the world to attend “World Congress on Advancing Nutritional & Food Sciences” under the theme “Exploration and Evolution in the field of Nutrition and Food Science” during October 17-18, 2018 in Rome, Italy. This includes promote keynote presentations, Oral talks, Poster presentations and Exhibitions.

  • Hi there, i’m 11 weeks pregnant and i want my baby to b more intelligent so what should i do? i quite smoking just 3 days before.will smoking harm my baby’s growth?

    • Hey Yana!

      These are good questions. Congratulations on you pregnancy and quitting smoking! This will go a long way to make your baby healthy and smarter. Cigarette smoke is well-known for reducing IQ in children and causing many health problems which will lead to miss days from school. We recommend giving your child the best life you can, to remain away from smoking. We also recommend eating a diet that is very rich in fruits and vegetables to give your child the best nutrition possible. Choose foods with a lot of healthy fats, especially the omega-3 fatty acids, to improve and develop a healthy brain. And remember to exercise. We know it’s challenging while you are pregnant, and we know exercise during pregnancy helps stimulate blood flow, which improves the health and mental function of your baby.

  • I am 10th week pregnant but my TSH level is 12.60 and now I take medicine for this. Please tell me it is harmful for my baby???

    • Hey Depeka!

      This is a complicated question. You want to work with your doctor to discover why your TSH levels are so high. There could be various underlying factors. In general, the medications for thyroid functions are not considered harmful to a fetus or baby. We recommend talking to a pharmacist and your gynecologist to make sure what is going on inside your body is truly safe for your baby.

      Thank you!

  • Hello mam ,mra abhi abotion hua h 5month mare baby m bhut se problem thi uske brain m water tha or uske back ki bone bhi theek nhi thi , multiple disorder the docter n bola h pr je kaise ho gya smaj nhi aa rha bhut upset hu m

    • Hello, Ishu!

      Can you please ask your question in English and write it again? It’s hard to understand what you meant, even with Google Translate. Thank you!

  • Hi I am 8 weeks pregnant and I have thyroid of 4.27, is there any problem of baby brain development? and how to control this in pregnancy. please guide me.

    • Hey Sneha!

      This is a complicated question. We assume you mean your TSH is 4.27. That is considered elevated, but may not be dangerous. We recommend talking to your physician to rule out any underlying causes and any dangers it may pose to your baby.

      Thank you!

  • I’m highly impressed by your educational articles. I’m now looking forward to receiving a baby. My wife is fourteen weeks pregnant and I always force her before she eats. She usually throws out the little she eats. I want to ask that how can she eat the recommended foods to ensure proper development of the brain of the fetus?

    • Hey Bernard!

      Congratulations on your new child! If your wife is having some difficulties eating, the root ginger is well known for reducing nausea and encouraging appetite. It is a food and has been proven safe for pregnant women. Using ginger should help her minimize nausea and begin to eat regularly. If this type of problem continues, you need to discuss it with a doctor.

  • Thank you for this wonderful informative article. My Wife is 32 weeks pregnant now and she always throw up every morning, after which she will be fine. I hope this can not affect her and the baby? thanks

    • Hey Dayo!

      Congratulations on becoming a father! Many of the food and supplement based recommendations we have helped women to have healthy pregnancies and support your new baby to be strong and intelligent. Since there are many causes of morning sickness for pregnant women, we recommend talking to a doctor about her issue. In many cases, a piece of ginger to chew on helps reduce the symptoms of nausea without causing any problems in health for the mother or baby.