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Important Influences on Brain Development before Birth

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Presentation on theme: "Important Influences on Brain Development before Birth"— Presentation transcript:

1 Important Influences on Brain Development before Birth

2 1. Nutrition Good nutrition is important for a developing fetus since brain growth is influenced by the quality of a pregnant woman’s diet Adequate levels of folic acid (to prevent birth defects), iron (for healthy blood), calcium (for strong bones & teeth), and protein (for cell development) are critical


4 2. Avoid alcohol & cigarettes
Alcohol and cigarettes impair the formation and wiring of brain cells Consumption of alcohol leads to Fetal Alcohol Syndrome, and causes birth defects; there is no ‘safe’ amount of alcohol to consume when pregnant! Use of cigarettes contributes to low birth weight, and impaired respiratory systems

5 Whatever the mother consumes, or is exposed to, the baby is exposed to as well – alcohol, cigarette smoke (primary or secondary), or narcotics

6 FAS outside and inside…

7 Babies born to mothers who smoked during the pregnancy are more likely to have cleft lip (A, B, C,) and/or cleft palate (D) They also run an increased risk of low birth weight and impaired respiratory functioning

8 3. Avoid chemicals & radiation
Chemicals and radiation are potentially harmful to fetal brain development This is of much concern for women who work on farms where chemical sprays are used, in factories, laboratories, hospitals, dry-cleaning stores, or other sites that expose them to dangerous chemicals

9 4. Avoid infections Infections pose perhaps the greatest risk to brain formation and the wiring of the fetal brain cells

10 In particular, avoid contact with:
Rubella (causes German Measles) Varicella Virus (causes Chicken Pox) Cytomegalovirus (CMV) Toxoplasmosis (found in cat feces) Some sexually transmitted diseases like Syphilis, Gonorrhea, Genital Herpes

11 5. Practice strict hygiene
Pregnant women must: Wash their hands frequently Avoid contact with sick friends/co-workers Not share food or drinks with others (to avoid the spread of germs and disease)

12 Hand washing must be done thoroughly and properly in order to be effective!

13 6. Avoid stress! Pregnant women must learn to relax in order to prevent stressing the fetus

14 7. Exercise! Adequate levels of exercise are important to maintain overall health, and prepare muscles for child birth

15 8. Avoid unnecessary medications
Ensure that any medications are taken with doctor’s approval If taking over-the-counter medications, ensure that you read the labels completely and if possible, consult the pharmacist

16 9. Receive regular medical care
As soon as pregnancy is suspected, begin receiving regular medical care in order to provide the best possible outcome for your pregnancy

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