Newborns’ Brain Development gets influenced by more than just what we do in front of our kids. Studies say that a soon-to-be mum’s exposure to crime and poverty can influence the child’s brain development before birth.
In this article, you’ll read:
- Marital exposure to crime and poverty can affect a child’s brain development
- Setting up a healthy environment for pregnant mums
- 12 ways to stay healthy during pregnancy
Marital Exposure to Crime and Poverty Can Affect Newborns’ Brain Development
The Washington University School of Medicine researchers from St. Louis are scanning newborn babies’ brains. In the study, they have found that maternal exposure to poverty and crime can affect young brains.
An unhealthy environment for soon-to-be mums can influence a baby’s brain structure and function even before birth. It has devastating effects on the health of a child.
The university suggests that some environmental factors can negatively affect a child’s brain function. Along with this, they are currently preparing an infant MRI scan as part of ongoing research.
Poverty Affects Almost All Newborns’ Brain Development
Image source: iStock
While the infants sleep, the researchers perform MRI scans on them. The study considers how the mums faced social disadvantages such as poverty. According to the findings, these newborns developed smaller brains compared to babies whose mums have higher household incomes.
Even full-term babies born to mums living in poverty revealed smaller volumes across the entire brain. It has smaller volumes compared to the brain of babies whose mums had higher household incomes.
Regina L. Triplett, MD, a postdoctoral fellow in neurology, says, “Our concern is that as babies begin life with these smaller brain structures, their brains may not develop in as healthy a way as the brains of babies whose mothers lived in higher-income households.”
The experts conducted brain scans only a few days to weeks after birth. Afterwards, the results showed minor folding of brains among infants born to mums living in poverty.
Concerning this, fewer and shallower folds signify brain immaturity. It is because a healthy human brain folds as it grows and develops. It provides the cerebral cortex with a more extensive functional surface area.
High Crime Rates Influence a Child’s Brain Function
Image source: iStock
Rebecca F. Brady is a graduate student from the Medical Scientist Training Program. She is involved in a different study regarding pregnant mums. This research also focuses on the environmental effects of high crime on newborns’ brain development. Their young brain functions differently during the first weeks of life than babies born to mothers living in safer neighbourhoods.
“Instead of a brain-wide effect, living in a high-crime area during pregnancy seems to have more specific effects on the emotion-processing regions of babies’ brains,” Brady concluded.
Aside from that, infants’ mums exposed to crime display weaker connections between two brain structures. They are brain structures that process emotions and structures that help regulate and control those emotions.
“Maternal stress is believed to be one of the reasons for the weaker connections in the babies’ brains,” Brady added.
As a result, studies have emphasised how a mum’s pregnancy experience could heavily affect her child’s brain development. It demonstrates that a mother’s situation during her hesitation significantly impacts her infant’s brain.
Promoting a Healthy Environment for Pregnant Women
One of the most important goals of most nations is to reduce poverty and lower crime rates. With this, soon-to-be mums can live at ease and have a stress-free pregnancy.
The experts believe that protecting pregnant women from crime can positively impact their child’s brain development. Getting them out of poverty will do more than just improve their newborns’ brain development and connections.
“Several research projects around the country are providing money for living expenses to pregnant mothers now, and some cities have determined that raising pregnant mothers out of poverty is good public policy,” Smyser said.
12 Ways to Stay Healthy During Pregnancy
Image source: iStock
Brigham and Women’s Hospital Dr Meadows works as an experienced obstetrician. Throughout her practice, she came up with 12 tips to help mums develop a healthy pregnancy. You can check out the pointers below:
- Eat healthy food. Your baby needs enough nutrients to grow healthy in the womb.
- Take a daily prenatal vitamin
- Stay hydrated; aim for eight or more cups of water each day.
- Visit your prenatal care check-ups consistently
- Avoid certain foods, such as raw foods and rare meats, dairy products, and unpasteurised milk.
- Do not drink alcohol
- Do not smoke
- Get moving; try to be consistent with having daily exercises and staying active in other ways.
- Get a flu shot. It can protect you from severe illness and protect your baby after birth.
- Have plenty of sleep; ample sleep (7 to 9 hours) is essential for you and your baby.
- Reduce stress. Encourage your loved ones to help you manage stress in your life.
- Plan the right time to get pregnant. Choose the time when you are in your healthiest state.
Early Learning Activities to Stimulate Baby’s Brain Development
“Nobody Likes Me” – How to React to Negative Self-Talk in Kids
Best Musical Instruments for Toddlers to Develop Their Brains