Best Pregnancy Foods Healthy Fetal Brain Development

We may earn money or products from the companies mentioned in this post.

Healthy fetal brain development is a big task for your developing baby throughout your pregnancy.

One of the biggest things you can do to help her along is to eat a balanced, healthy diet.

The foods you eat give your baby the building blocks he needs for a healthy body. While a diet rich in organic fruits, vegetables, grains, and proteins is overall what you should be eating, there are a few specific foods to eat during pregnancy for healthy fetal brain development.

These foods are filled with all the nutrients you need to give your baby the best chance at growing to full term, avoiding mental health issues, having a high IQ, exhibiting proper social skills, and other brain benefits throughout his life. The nutrients you need and the foods to eat during pregnancy for healthy fetal brain development include –

1) Essential Fatty Acids

almonds are foods to eat during pregnancy for healthy fetal brain development

What They Do

Omega 3 and Omega 6 fatty acids are responsible for healthy fetal brain development in a variety of ways including brain cell growth and function.

One of the reasons pregnant women aren’t getting enough EFAs is because fish is a primary source of Omega 3 fatty acids. However, in recent years concerns have risen over the mercury content of some fish and the effects it can have if eaten while pregnant. Doctors recommend eating fish for it’s EFA benefits, but limiting your intake while pregnant to two servings per week.

Foods to Eat

Walnuts, Almonds, Wild-caught Salmon, Flax Seed Oil

2) Folate

glass of OJ during pregnancy for healthy fetal brain development

What it Does

Folate is a B Vitamin (B9) that’s known to prevent Neural Tube Defects. NTDs are birth defects, like spina bifida, in which the brain and/or spinal cord do not fully develop.

Women of childbearing age are recommended to take a supplement that includes folate because it’s not only important during pregnancy but before conception as well in order to give your baby the biggest benefit.

Note: While “folate” and “folic acid” are often used interchangeably (even by medical professionals) they are not the same thing! Be sure to consume a food-based, bio-available folate supplement (or just get folate through food). Folic acid is synthetic and “20-40% of our population do not produce enough of the enzyme needed to break down the synthetic folic acid found in supplements and fortified foods like boxed breakfast cereal,” and folate and folic acid “enter the metabolic cycle in different ways.” (source)

Foods to Eat

Orange Juice, Dark Leafy Greens, Avocado, Cruciferous Vegetables, Beets

3) Choline

eat eggs during pregnancy for brain development

What it Does

This “super nutrient” is known for helping your baby ‘s brain cells develop correctly. Choline can help prevent neural tube defects (NTDs) as well. And, it supports the development of good memory along with the overall ability to learn.

Foods to Eat

Eggs, Potatoes, Spinach, Pork, Chicken

4) Iron

eat raisins during pregnancy for brain development

What it Does

Iron is one of the foods to eat during pregnancy for healthy fetal brain development because it fosters the formation of your baby’s neurotransmitters, which are part of brain’s communication system.

Getting the right amount of iron during pregnancy also helps prevent preterm delivery. When he is full term your baby also has less risk of developmental delays and other types of brain injuries.

Foods to Eat

Lentils, Red Meat, Raisins, Spinach

5) Iodine

eat strawberries during pregnancy for brain development

What it Does

Iodine is essential to healthy prenatal brain and spinal cord development. An iodine deficiency during pregnancy can cause impaired motor development and cognitive impairments. It’s also associated with premature birth.

Foods to Eat

Greek Yogurt, Nori Seaweed, Cranberries, Strawberries

6) Protein

organic bean assortment foods to eat during pregnancy for brain development

What it Does

Protein plays a variety of roles in your baby’s brain development. It’s made up of the amino acids required by every part of your baby’s developing body. In his brain, protein supports proper brain growth, brain cell functioning, and overall brain health.

Foods to Eat

Lean Meats, Fish, Nuts, Legumes, Beans, Eggs

7) Zinc

spinach foods to eat during pregnancy for brain development

What it Does

The list of the best foods to eat during pregnancy for brain development and growth wouldn’t be complete without zinc. Zinc is a trace mineral shown to play important roles in brain health throughout our lives.

As your baby grows he needs zinc to support the development of neurotransmitters, brain cells, and the brain itself. Zinc deficiencies during pregnancy have been shown to cause issues from learning problems to motor delays.

Foods to Eat

Spinach, Poultry, Pumpkin Seeds, Pine Nuts, Peanuts, Walnuts, Kidney Beans, Chickpeas, Red Meat

Eating a nutritious diet during pregnancy is vital to the overall wellness of you and your baby.  For more information on the foods to eat during pregnancy for healthy fetal brain development and the health of your baby please see our list of resources.

 

Resources:

Mother & Baby 
National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health
SF Gate Healthy Eating
The Healthy Home Economist

Featured image source: www.vegetariantimes.com

Fiona

Fiona lives in New England with her husband, 3 boys, 2 cats and 1 big hairy dog.In her rare moments of spare time she enjoys photography, organic gardening, hiking, and kayaking.

Subscribe To Our Newsletter

Join our mailing list to receive the latest news and updates from Babyprepping.com.

You have Successfully Subscribed!



Leave a Reply