When you're pregnant, you want to do everything right. You want to eat the right food, stay away from bad things, and be as happy as possible. You want to do all these because you want your baby to come out smart and healthy. Unfortunately, not everything you read on books or online is true.
So what can you really do to give your baby an edge over the rest of the born-to-be population? Here's the truth about prenatal behaviors and their effects on babies' mental capacity so you can distinguish fads from facts.
Fish Oil - Healthier but not Smarter
Recently, there was a fad on fish oil for pregnant women. It was claimed that the omega 3 in fish oil would employ wondrous effects on the cognitive and language skills of babies inside the womb. Mothers worldwide began taking fish oil supplements because of this. It was however proven that pregnant women who took these supplements didn't benefit the cognitive or language skills of their children.
It is important to remember however that although omega 3 supplements won't turn your child into a prodigy, fish and seafood are still recommended for pregnant women. That's because the good fatty acids found in fish oil can lower the bad cholesterol in the blood. This would in turn reduce the risk of pregnancy-related high blood pressure or preeclampsia, which is quite common among pregnant women.
Baby Mozart - No Miracle Effects
Another popular concept was Baby Mozart. Parents believed that if they made their unborn babies listen to classical music, particularly those by Mozart, they would be born a lot smarter than they're supposed to. They've been bombarding their babies with this music in hope that they'd turn into a genius overnight. No medical study supports this idea. In fact, if you play the music too loudly, it can even damage your baby's hearing. There's nothing wrong with treating your child to music every now and then as long as you keep it low and soft. Just don't have false hopes of giving birth to the next Einstein just because you did this.
Chocolates - Good in Moderation
How about eating chocolate? Is it true that frequent chocolate consumption means happier baby? Some studies show positive results on this. It has been found that pregnant women who consumed five servings of chocolate a week had 40 percent lower risk of preeclampsia. Dark chocolate is recommended over milk chocolate, as the former is richer in antioxidants that fight harmful free radicals in the body.
Alcohol - Keep Away
When it comes to alcohol, pregnant women are doing it right staying away from this drink during the entire duration of pregnancy. Although some studies say that little amount won't harm the fetus, it's still much better to abstain because the little amount is a vague concept. What can or cannot harm your baby depends on individual factors including genetic makeup or woman and fetus. Because you can never really determine the same amount to take in during pregnancy, it's safer to stay away from the drink altogether.
Stress - Avoid
It's also true that pregnant women should avoid stress as much as possible. Traumatic and depressing situations can take a toll on the fetus. Research has shown a direct link between prenatal stress and cognitive and language skills of the baby. The more stressful the situation is for the pregnant woman, the poorer the baby's learning abilities would be. Depressed pregnant women are also more likely to have babies with low birth weight.