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While you’re carrying your child, it may seem too early to be thinking about how they’ll perform in school. As if there isn’t enough to worry about. But being mindful of their cognitive development while your baby is in utero can make a difference in how they learn, retain information and behave after they’re born.

But how? It’s not like you can show them flash cards. Believe it or not, there are some things you can do before your baby is born to help set them up for success later on in life and, thankfully, they’re all easy adjustments to make.

Healthy Brain Tip No. 1: Take an omega-3 supplement.
You’re already taking a daily prenatal vitamin, so be sure to add an omega-3 supplement to your routine. This could be made from fish oil or a plant source like flax seed or microalgae, but a supplement rich in  the important omega-3 essential fatty acids EPA and DHA supports the development of your baby’s central nervous system, which includes the brain and spinal cord. The evidence suggests that pregnant women should take a supplement with a greater proportion of DHA at this special time.

Healthy Brain Tip No. 2: Make sure you’re getting enough folic acid.
When choosing a multivitamin to take during your pregnancy, make sure this vital B vitamin is included. Folic acid promotes proper brain and neural development and prevents certain birth defects, like spina bifida.

Healthy Brain Tip No. 3: Snack on Brazil nuts.
This superfood is a great source of the mineral selenium, which supports brain development in babies. Selenium functions as an antioxidant, which means it helps prevent damage to the body’s cells. Just one of these nuts per day will give you all you need, as well as some healthy fats.

Healthy Brain Tip No. 4: Check your iron levels.
Iron is another essential nutrient pregnant women need to be sure they’re getting enough of. Iron plays a key role in blood circulation throughout the body, bringing oxygen-rich blood to your baby’s brain. You may need to increase your iron intake during pregnancy and can do so with a supplement or by eating legumes or lean beef.

Healthy Brain Tip No. 5: Talk to your baby.
Talking to your baby isn’t just important for bonding between mother and child — it can also help them be more aware of specific sounds or voices and, most importantly, words once they’re born. It may seem strange to chat up your belly, but it certainly can’t do any harm.

Healthy Brain Tip No. 6: Keep on exercising.
Your energy levels are bound to fluctuate during pregnancy and that, combined with those crazy cravings, can inhibit your motivation to exercise. But being a fit mommy to be can also help with your baby’s cognitive development, so keep at it.

Being mindful of your overall wellness during your pregnancy means you’re supporting your baby’s as well. Keep these tips in mind to help your baby’s brain develop properly so they can make you proud at many spelling bees and science fairs to come. Who knows, the next Steve Jobs could be in your tummy right now, couldn’t they?

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