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  5. 5 ways you can boost your baby's brain development during pregnancy

5 ways you can boost your baby's brain development during pregnancy Lock Rss

What you eat and what you avoid during pregnancy can have a direct impact on your little one's brain function during pregnancy:

1. Fish, rich in omega-3 fatty acids, may boost your baby's brainpower. In a study from Harvard Medical School, the more fish women ate during the second trimester, the higher their babies scored on a mental-development test at 6 months of age. Omega-3s are found in brain-cell membranes, so there are plenty of ways they can influence brain function. If you can't stomach fish, try a fish oil supplement.

2. Avoid mercury - also found in some fish. Species to avoid include shark, king mackerel, and swordfish. Lower mercury fish include salmon, sardines, prawns and snapper. Aim to include lower mercury fish options 2-3 times a week.

3. Eat more protein - Your body needs more protein right now to build cells and make hormones for your growing baby. In fact, your protein intake must jump by 10 extra grams per day. Some good protein boosters: a yogurt smoothie at breakfast, adding a cup of beans to your salad, a nut butter on whole-grain crackers for a snack, or a small portion of lean beef at dinner.

4. Increase your iron intake - You need twice the amount of iron during pregnancy, as iron helps deliver life-sustaining oxygen to your baby. If your baby's deprived of oxygen in the womb, the risk of poor growth and lower IQ increases. Ask your doctor to test you for iron deficiency. Then make sure your diet includes iron-rich foods like lean beef, chicken, legumes, almonds, kale or other dark green veggies and fortified breakfast cereal.

5. Avoid alcohol - this one is pretty obvious but worth repeating again. Light to moderate drinking can lead to problems with learning, attention, memory, and social skills down the road.

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