How Does My Baby’s Brain Develop Before Birth?

by Guest
Posted August 10 2010 11:41am

During pregnancy, the basic architecture of the brain is formed. The different parts of the brain are in place (e.g., brain stem, thalamus, cerebellum). This initial development also provides basic brain functions that help the baby live. Although this "hardware" is laid out during pregnancy, the brain is still immature in that the "software," or the connections between different parts of the brain, is not yet formed. To a certain extent, the way the connections are formed depends on exposure to our environment through relationships and experiences.

Unlike your baby’s other organs, such as the heart which is already functioning as it will throughout the child's life, the brain is not yet ready to perform all the amazing functions it will eventually be able to do. It goes through a series of developmental stages. It is after birth that your baby’s experiences begin to have a greater effect on brain development than it did during pregnancy. During pregnancy, maternal health and stress, drugs, alcohol, and the quality of maternal nutrition are some of the experiences that influence the developing brain.

Here is some information about how what you eat while you're pregnant affects your baby's brain development

Used with Permission
Talking Reasonably and Responsibly About Early Brain Development
Center for Early Childhood Education and Development, Irving B HarrisTraining Center for Infant and Toddler Development 2001

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