Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Garbh Sanskar:Baby’s Brain: Part V

Scientists have uncovered many new insights about a baby’s mental life in the womb:

The foundation of your baby’s intelligence is being built while he is still a fetus.  This stage of your baby’s life is very critical because this is where the raw materials of his intelligence and personality are being formed.  Fetal brain development has long lasting effect on your baby’s personality.

Congenital malformations, premature delivery and many other conditions have a serious effect on your infant’s future and quality of life.  You should be aware of factors that can have an effect on your baby’s prenatal development, and avoid those that can be avoided.


Harmful to Baby's Brain Development During Pregnancy:

Early Birth (Even Slightly) -  According to a study published  babies born at 37 weeks and 38 weeks had significantly lower reading scores compared to children born at 39, 40 or 41 weeks. Math scores were also lower for children born at 37 or 38 weeks. Accordingly researchers  "The thing to keep in mind is that a child born 36 weeks, 6 days has brain size two-thirds that of a term infant," "They're still at a deficit with regard to brain development."

Inadequate nutrition -  The lack of calcium,  iron,  iodine and other vitamins lead to baby’s learning disabilities, delay in language development, behavioral problems, and a lower I.Q. The baby needs iodine to make thyroid hormone, which is essential for brain development. Iron is needed to make red blood cells that transport oxygen to the baby, affecting the baby's brain and body growth.

Folic acid deficiency – This leads to the baby’s neural tube being unable to close properly.  The neural tube is the tissue from which the brain and spinal cord develop.  Improper closing of this tube leads to severe malformations of the brain and spinal cord.  Folic acid is found in green leafy vegetables, broccoli, beans, citrus fruits and liver.

Vitamin D insufficiency– This is associated with poor growth of the baby and asthma. According to the research published, children born to mothers with low levels of Vitamin D during pregnancy are twice as likely to have severe language problems when they are in school.

Stress (and starvation) – A  study suggested that a mother’s stress during pregnancy may increase the risk of congenital brain malfunction in the baby. Severe emotional stress during the first months of a woman’s pregnancy may permanently impair the neurodevelopment of her unborn child, leading to an increased risk of schizophrenia later in life.   The stress referred here is not caused by the usual anxiety of daily life but those that are severe like emotional shock or death in the family.  The damage to the baby is possibly caused by increased stress hormone cortisol interfering with fetal development.

Mother's mental state – A fetus is sensitive to and can be affected by the mother's mental state. It is already preparing for life after birth based on the messages that the mom is providing. The study suggests that development is best in babies with moms who were either depression-free or had depression before and after giving birth.

Lack of sunshine – A study found that children whose mothers had low exposure to sunlight during the first 3 months of pregnancy may have a higher risk of developing multiple sclerosis later in life.  Vitamin D in sunlight is important for the fetus’ development of central nervous system. 


Researchers found that infants born to mothers with higher blood levels of the omega-3 fatty acid (DHA) at delivery had advanced levels of attention spans up to age 2. During the first six months of life, these infants were two months ahead of those babies whose mothers had lower DHA levels.

Exercise during pregnancy could be beneficial for improving fetal breathing movements and also for autonomous nervous system development. Mothers who continue to work out during pregnancy have smarter babies.

The sole purpose of these blogs is to provide information about the tradition of ayurveda. This information is not intended for use in the diagnosis, prevention or cure of any disease. If you have any serious, acute or chronic health concern, please consult a trained doctor/health professional who can fully assess your needs and address them effectively. If you are seeking the medical advice of a trained Ayurvedic expert, call us or e mail.

Dr Unnati Chavda

(Promoting pregnancy wellness)


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