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Pregnancy: Baby Brain Development Foods

Rutuja Jathar Apr 17, 2019
Do you know that there are foods for brain development in pregnancy? There are certain foods that are cited to be effective for baby brain development in the prenatal period. Read on to find out more...
Along with emotional and physiological changes, pregnancy also changes a woman's diet. Now that they are eating for two, healthy food should be their prime concern. According to several researches, having a healthy, nutrition rich diet and increasing amounts of certain foods in pregnancy diet has shown a lot of positive effects on healthy fetus development.
Omega 3 fatty acids, for instance, is one of the most essential fatty acids with respect to early brain development of unborn babies. Reports also claim that eating certain foods that contain various essential nutrients can encourage early development of the baby's brain.
So, which are these foods for brain development in pregnancy? If same question is on your mind, then let me tell you that these are the foods that we regularly consume. All that you need to do is cautiously increase their amount in regular pregnancy diet, which is beneficial for brain development in unborn children. Let's find out more about these foods.

Foods for Baby Brain Development in Pregnancy

Everyone is aware of the importance of a healthy diet during pregnancy. It is important to understand that what you eat and the way you eat determines the health and wellbeing of the developing organs of the fetus; especially the brain. The most important organs like the heart, brain, hands, feet, etc., start to develop from the 4th week of pregnancy.
However, women should start consuming healthy food as soon as they find out about their pregnancy. Experts even advocate that women should make proper dietary changes beforehand, while trying to conceive. According to experts, a pregnant woman should consume at least 300 extra calories so that both mother and the unborn baby can get enough amount of energy.
There are various nutrients that women should include in their daily diet. These nutrients are, omega 3 fatty acids, Docosahexaenoic acid or DHA, (which is one of the essential omega 3 fatty acids), protein, iron, folic acid, various natural sources of antioxidants, complex carbohydrates, choline, zinc, calcium, iodine, etc.
All these nutrients are abundantly available in nature and hence rather than nutritional supplements, it is always crucial to consume their healthy natural sources. Here are the healthy foods for brain development during pregnancy.


As all of us are aware, seafood, especially fatty fish, is an excellent natural source of omega 3 fatty acids and DHA fatty acids. Since the human body does not produce DHA, gaining both these substances from their naturally available sources is extremely important for early brain development of the fetus.
Some of the best fish types that a pregnant woman can eat include Atlantic salmon, Pacific cod fish, tuna (avoid white canned tuna). Along with these fish, they may also eat other seafood like crab, catfish, pollock, shrimp and tilapia.
It is vital to avoid all large and predatory fish, as they may contain mercury or other toxic substances that may harm both mother and the unborn baby. Foods that are advocated to be consumed, should be consumed in a limited amount (6 oz per week). It is also important to avoid eating raw and undercooked seafood, which bring in the risk of food poisoning.


There is nothing healthier than fresh, dark, green and leafy vegetables. These vegetables are rich in folic acid and iron; both of which are crucial for baby brain development. Consumption of fresh and green leafy vegetables during first trimester of pregnancy is extremely important. The first trimester is time when baby brain and nerves start to develop.
Various vegetables like spinach, all the types lettuce, collard greens, kale, arugula, dandelion greens, mustard greens, Swiss chard, etc., strengthen the neural tube and prevent the unborn baby from various birth defects like spina bifida. Along with folic acid, vegetables are also a rich source of antioxidants, vitamins and minerals.
As a result, pregnant women need to consume fresh and raw forms of the aforementioned vegetables as much as possible. They can consume vegetables by preparing salads, stir fried, vegetable wraps, and vegetable juices and soups!


Along with seafood, other animal food sources like lean meat parts of chicken, turkey, beef and pork are rich sources of calories, protein, and zinc. It is the reason why meat is one of the important food during pregnancy. According to the experts, a pregnant woman should consume at least one serving of lean meats every day.
Meats like beef liver is a rich source or choline, which is important for early brain development. However, when it comes to meat, you should stay away from raw meat, raw poultry (turkey or chicken), deli, refrigerated pates, raw meats, meat spreads, etc.; as a precaution for food poisoning during pregnancy which could prove fatal for you and the baby.
Uncooked and undercooked meats should also be strictly avoided. Always make it a point to eat meats that are thoroughly cooked. Once cooked, you can enjoy the meats in various forms.


Various dairy products like milk, yogurt, various types of cheese, buttermilk, etc., are some of the healthy foods that help brain development in prenatal stages. Various dairy products including milk products and eggs are a rich source of protein, carbohydrates, calcium and iodine.
All these nutrients are extremely healthy for mental growth, memory and a healthy brain. Drinking three cups of milk daily is said to be extremely crucial to prevent various mental defects like mental retardation and unhealthy bone structure of the brain. If you are overweight, then you may consume skimmed or low fat version of various dairy products.
However, it is important to not to exclude milk products from your daily diet. Make sure that you are consuming milk products that are healthy, cooked and pasteurized. As far as eggs are concerned, you need to avoid consumption of raw and undercooked eggs.
The consumption of whole grains, lentils, legumes, beans and nuts is also beneficial, since these are rich and vegan sources of nutrients for pregnant women. As far as consumption and serving size of the aforementioned foods for brain development during pregnancy is concerned, it is always advisable for you to consult the ob-gyn and dietitian first.