It is every parent’s dream to have a healthy and intelligent baby. But, is there a way you can shape your little one’s brain to be smarter, right from the womb? The theory of “nature versus nurture” gives an interesting insight. The nature aspect of the theory suggests that the level of one’s intelligence is already determined by the genes he inherits from his parents. The nurture aspect speaks of how the environment influences his cognitive skills. Simply put up, the DNA and the environment together contribute to the intelligent quotient of the baby.
While we have little control over what we inherit to our offspring, its journey in the uterine environment can be well-managed to make it sharp-witted by taking these simple steps.
Ways To Boost Your Baby’s IQ Right From The Womb
1. A Healthy Diet
The importance of following a healthy diet during pregnancy cannot be emphasized enough. What you eat influences your baby directly. Since Omega-3 and niacin are vital components for brain development, including their food sources is mandatory. Nuts like walnuts and almonds, fishes, and green leafy vegetables are primary sources. The FDA recommends avoiding swordfish, tilefish, king mackerel, and large ocean fishes, as they have potential toxins like mercury and lead.
Research indicates that choline, found abundantly in eggs speeds up the process of brain development. It also reduces the chances of baby getting dementia or Alzheimer’s disease in later time.
2. Physical Activity
It is common to feel lazy and lethargic during pregnancy. Fighting the laziness and putting your fit foot forward sharpens your baby’s brain. The endorphins (hormones) released during exercise or any other kind of physical activity like walking or swimming supports the process of brain development. The hormones pass through the placenta to the baby keeping it active for around 8 hours.
Studies show that mothers who are active during pregnancy have smarter babies, as the neurons in the hippocampus of the baby (area of the brain responsible for learning and memory) increase after exercise.
From as early as 16 weeks in the womb, your baby can listen to the sounds and respond to it. Though it may not understand or relate to the sounds it listens to, the sound waves increase the baby’s ability of pattern recognition. Soothing music, rhymes, and lullabies have a calming effect on the fetus and also increase its concentration power. Talking to the baby when in womb helps it identify yours and your partner’s voice early after birth. Communicating in more than 1 language improves its language skills as well.
Loud noises and loud music should be avoided, as anything loud to the mother is loud to the baby.
4. Belly Massage
Gently rubbing your belly stimulates the brain development of the baby. The baby can sense your touch right from the womb, which increases its sensory abilities. It can even distinguish between yours and your partner’s touch. Smelling fresh flowers, fruits, and anything soothing have a similar effect.
Lack of vitamin-D in pregnant women has been linked to the occurrence of autism in children in later stages. Though research is still in progress in this regard, the fact is, vitamin-D is necessary for overall bone and heart development. It is also required to keep preeclampsia at bay, which is one of the reasons of Down’s syndrome in the babies. A 20-minutes exposure to the early morning sun is necessary.
6. Thyroid Check
Research indicates that decreased levels of thyroid hormones in pregnant women can affect the IQ of the baby. Throughout your pregnancy, make sure your thyroid levels are within the specified range. An iodine-rich diet is usually recommended if you do not have any other issues related to hypertension or preeclampsia. In any case, it is good to check with your doctor on the dietary changes needed.
The prenatal supplements rich in folic acid, iron, DHA, calcium, and other necessary micronutrients should not be ignored during pregnancy. Though a wholesome diet suffices all the dietary needs, your body requires extra nourishment to support the growth and the delivery of the baby. Supplements play a vital role in brain development and should be taken after consulting with your doctor.
Apart from these, strictly avoiding alcohol, drugs, or smoking is suggested. Having a happy and stress-free pregnancy also impacts the baby’s state of mind. Pregnancy is a beautiful journey, experiencing it thoroughly by following a healthy lifestyle results in a healthy, happy, and intelligent baby.