Your baby's central nervous system is maturing

The third trimester is when your baby's neurons grow rapidly. The weight of the baby's brain increases to three times during the last 13 weeks of pregnancy, starting from about 3.5 ounces in the beginning to almost 10.6 ounces at full-term. AND it starts to look different! Its surface, which was once smooth will gradually become grooved and indented like a normal brain.

At 34 weeks, your baby's cerebellum is developing faster than other areas of the fetal brain. Its surface area increases to almost 30 folds in the last 16 weeks.

All this growth aids the cerebral cortex, which plays a key role in thinking, remembering and feeling. Even though this important area of the brain develops rapidly during pregnancy, it starts functioning only around the time the baby is born and gradually matures in the first few years of life.

Eating right to support baby's brain development is very important.

Your baby's nervous system starts developing right from the time of your conception. It is important that you consume 400 mg of folic acid daily as soon as you plan on getting pregnant. Folic acid is important for fetal cell growth, tissue development and DNA. Consuming folic acid before pregnancy as well as during your pregnancy ensures that your baby's neural defects are reduced to a great extent. Research has shown that folic acid can reduce chances of your child being born with an autism disorder by up to 40 percent. Hence, ensure that you take prenatal vitamins with 400 milligrams of folic acid. Include whole grains and leafy vegetables in your diet. They are excellent source of folic acid.

Another essential nutrient for the brain development is omega-3 fatty acids, mainly DHA. Getting enough DHA especially during your third trimester which is when baby's brain is developing the fastest is vital, because it's a major structural fat in the brain.

The good news is that DHA is found in nuts,eggs,seaweed and DHA-fortified eggs. Including all of this in your diet, ensures that your baby has a healthy nervous system.

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