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10 Ways to Support Baby's Brain Development in the Womb

When a woman is pregnant, she does everything possible to ensure the baby develops and grows well. She eats, exercises and even changes her lifestyle to support the healthy development of the baby. Did you know you don't have to wait till your baby is a few months old to start working on baby brain development? You can start supporting their brain development right from pregnancy time.

Book an online appointment with Dr. Apeksha Bhuyar for Pregnancy & Gynecology related issues.

Baby Brain Development in Pregnancy

First, let's understand the stages of fetal brain development and how the development happens.

First Trimester

The baby's brain neurons start developing as early as 16 days post-conception. Around week 6, the neural tube closes, which means all the neurons form by this time. Neurons are very important for brain function and communication to various body parts. After this, the neural cells start developing to aid in developing the nervous system. This is when the baby starts moving in the womb and develops their sense of touch.

Second Trimester

Now, the baby's brain starts directing the various organs and functions in the body, like preparing the diaphragm, chest muscles, natural reflexes such as sucking and swallowing, etc. This is also when their sense of taste and hearing develops. You can notice jerky movements from the baby when you hear a sudden noise or restless movements in a noisy environment.

The second trimester is also when the baby's brainstem and various systems mature. They start working, and there is an increase in brainwave activity. This is also when the brain's sulci (grooves and fissures) develop.

Third Trimester

During this last trimester, things begin to speed up and prepare the baby to face the real world. The brain gains weight, and the final connections are made. Doctors try their best to avoid a preterm delivery, as the baby's brain won't be fully developed and also carries the risk of brain injury. The baby develops reflexes and starts recognising voices, and organs go through their final development stages.

Activities for Fetal Brain Development

As mentioned above, the baby's brain develops a few weeks after conception. Here are 10 ways to support baby brain development while they are still in the womb:

1. Stay Active

When the mother-to-be exercises regularly and follows an active lifestyle, it benefits the baby, too. It can help develop the baby's brain function. However, consult your doctor before starting any exercise or physical activity during pregnancy.

2. Read to the Baby

You can start reading to your baby in the womb. When they are about 26 to 30 weeks old, babies inside the womb can hear sounds outside the body. Remember that they are very familiar with your voice, as they hear it daily. When you read to them, their brain starts picking up on your voice and paying attention. Reading to your bump can help improve their language and vocabulary development as they grow.

3. Talk to the Baby

People don't just talk to the bump because it looks cute or serves as a photo opportunity. There is real science behind it. Talking to the bump helps stimulate brain development. The baby will learn to recognise the voices they hear regularly (mother, father, sibling, close relative, etc.), which helps in bonding, speech, and language development.

4. Music Can Help

Listening to music in the womb can help improve neuron connections in the brain, which in turn helps in fetal brain development. Just like how the music you hear impacts your mood and feelings, it can impact the baby in the womb, too. Studies show that babies in the womb can turn and react to sounds outside the womb.

5. Get Ample Rest

Pregnancy is a tiring journey, and the mother-to-be needs ample rest to support the extra work her body is doing. Sleep is important for your and your baby's brain health. Sleeping through the night can be challenging, but a good sleep routine can help you get sufficient rest during pregnancy.

6. Take Your Folate

Doctors recommend an expecting mother start taking her folic acid even before she conceives or right from the time she confirms her pregnancy. Folate is an important baby brain development food that aids spine development. A folate deficiency can lead to serious complications and issues in the baby post-birth. Apart from the tablets the doctor gives, eat foods rich in folate like – dark green leafy vegetables, beans, peanuts, whole grains, fresh fruits, etc.

7. Eat Healthy

Consuming baby brain development food during pregnancy can help. Consume foods rich in essential vitamins and minerals instead of depending only on prenatal vitamins. Eating the right foods can help develop a healthy baby and control pregnancy weight gain and other gestational health issues.

8. Meditation

The pregnant brain tends to be overactive and rife with very stimulating thoughts. Sometimes, it can even lead to anxiety or increase your blood pressure, both of which can affect the baby's brain in the womb. Meditation or any calming technique can help calm both mother and baby.

9. Keep Your Brain Active

Engaging in brain-stimulating and challenging activities like solving puzzles or mathematical activities is important. Studies show that the brains of babies whose mothers engaged in mathematical or cognitively challenging activities showed better development and improved blood flow.

10. Avoid Alcohol and Tobacco

Consuming alcohol and tobacco during pregnancy can have serious detrimental effects on the baby's brain development. It is best to avoid alcohol and tobacco during both pregnancy and breastfeeding.


The baby's brain starts developing within a few days after conception and continues to develop till birth. Everything you do during pregnancy can impact brain development. So, eating right and engaging in brain-stimulating activities is important if you want your baby's brain to develop well before and after the delivery.


1. How can I improve my baby's brain during pregnancy?

You can engage in activities stimulating brain development, like reading, singing, listening to informative content, and solving mathematical puzzles. Ensuring your baby's brain receives all nutrients and sufficient rest is also crucial for a healthy brain.

2. What can I do to support my baby's brain growth?

You can follow a healthy lifestyle and diet and start doing activities that will contribute to the baby's brain development. Activities like reading, talking or singing to the baby, solving puzzles, and doing activities that challenge your brain can also be good for the baby's brain.

3. What food is good for a baby's brain in the womb?

Foods rich in folate and essential nutrients, such as dark green leafy vegetables, fresh fruits, nuts, and seeds, are good for fetal brain development. Following a healthy diet that includes various food sources can ensure the baby's brain receives all nutrients throughout its development in the womb.

4. How can I increase my baby's IQ?

You can start reading and singing to your baby when it is in the womb and perform activities that challenge your brain. Post-delivery, you can continue reading to the baby, playing music, and slowly starting educational activities to help increase their IQ.

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