5 things you can do during your pregnancy to stimulate baby’s brain development in the womb


Most new moms spend hours scouring the internet for information on how to change a diaper, how to swaddle a baby, how to soothe a baby, and so on. But, did you know you can help your baby’s even before they’re born? Research suggests that there are five simple things you can do to help your baby’s brain development in the womb. Let’s take a look at what they are.

1. Play classical music for babies (especially Mozart)

Classical music stimulates your baby’s brain. It also aids the development of neural pathways in your baby’s brain, which processes spatial reasoning. Researchers at Institut Marquès played music from three different genres to 300 babies in the womb (ranging from 18 to 38 weeks of pregnancy).

They found that 91 percent of babies reacted to Mozart’s “A Little Night Music,” while only 60 percent responded to Adele’s “Someone Like You.” The Village People’s classic “Y.M.C.A” caused a reaction in only 10 percent of babies.

2. Read to your baby

Studies have shown that reading to your baby in the womb helps lay the foundation of speech’s language patterns, rhythm, and melody. This helps babies recognize words they heard in the womb after birth. Studies also show that books with a rhyming scheme and rhythmic patterns are best suited for babies in the womb, helping them understand the rhythm of language and words.

Here are a few suggestions to help get your library started:

  • The Wonderful Things You Will Be by Emily Winfield Martin.
  • “Hello in There!”: Poetry to Read to the Unborn Baby by Carole Mars
  • Oh, Baby, the Places You’ll Go! by Tish Rabe
  • I Love You to the Moon and Back by Amelia Hepworth

3. Gently massage your belly (Your little one likes it!)

A recent study showed that when pregnant mothers touched their bumps, their babies displayed more arm, head, and mouth movements. Gently stroking or massaging your belly stimulates your baby’s brain, calming their nervous system. Your baby can even differentiate between mom’s and dad’s touch in the womb.

Crib note:

When your little one is in your womb, they hear a slussing noise of everything that’s happening in your body—from your heartbeat to your blood flow. This noise resembles Pink noise and feels like home to your baby. Cradlewise Smart Crib has a collection of curated Pink, White, and Brown noise tracks, so when your baby is born, they can feel at home in their new world. You can also personalize these tracks on the Cradlewise App by adding different sound layers —from heartbeat and breathing to rain and winds. 

4. Get proper sleep

Catching sufficient zzzs is important for you and your growing baby. An adequate amount of sleep helps boost your immune system and mood, it also contributes to a healthy birth. According to the National Institute of Health, 80% of pregnant women experience poor sleep during pregnancy.

A lack of sleep when pregnant can increase the risk of preeclampsia, gestational diabetes, preterm birth, cesarean delivery, and cognitive impairment. Understandably, sedatives pose a significant health risk for pregnant women and their babies, therefore experts recommend exercise as a way to improve sleep when pregnant.

Additionally, The Sleep Foundation suggests –

  • Side sleeping on the left with bent knees and using a pregnancy pillow to promote blood flow. The pregnancy pillows help to align your spine while the sleeping position prevents swelling in the legs and ankles.
  • Avoid sleeping on your stomach as it poses a threat to your growing baby with each passing trimester. Additionally, women should avoid sleeping on their backs as this puts pressure on the main artery that supplies blood to the spine and heart.
  • Strategic eating and drinking to prevent indigestion, heartburn, and constipation at night. For example, eat at least three to four hours before bedtime, and avoid aerated drinks, spicy foods, peppermint, and citrus before bed as these cause acid reflux.
  •  Avoid screen time before bed.
  • Have a fixed bedtime and wake-up time.

5. Eat healthy

Northwestern Medicine states that eating a healthy diet and taking prenatal vitamins contribute to fetal brain development and a healthy pregnancy. This is because these contain nutrients vital for your baby’s growth. 

For example, folic acid (vitamin B9) found in leafy greens and nuts, helps to develop your baby’s neural tube (the early brain and spine). Additionally, omega-3 fatty acids help your baby’s brain develop in and out of the womb.

Moreover, it is better to consume fresh foods when pregnant rather than processed foods, as additives do not contribute to your body nutritionally. 

Read our guide on pregnancy nutrition for more information on how food can help your baby’s brain development and what foods to eat.

At the end of the day, the best thing you can do to support your baby’s brain development before birth is to stay healthy by exercising, sleeping well, eating right, and reducing stress. If at any point you feel you’re getting off track, it’s okay to speak to your doctor. Take it one day at a time and you’ll soon welcome your healthy, happy baby.


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