2 Apr 2024

Brain Development: Final Stages

Brain Development: Final Stages
In the third trimester, your baby's brain is akin to an electric wonderland.
At this stage, synapses, the junctions where nerve cells communicate, are forming at a breathtaking rate.
Believe it or not, by the time your baby is born, they will have more than 100 billion neurons! 😲 So, what's going on in that little noggin?
A lot of myelination, for one, which is the process that allows nerve cells to transmit information faster and allows for more complex brain functions.
  • Synaptogenesis: Synapses form between neurons, enabling them to send signals to each other.
  • Myelination: A fatty layer forms around these neurons to speed up signal transmission.
  • GABA and Glutamate: These neurotransmitters are critical for the initial set-up of your baby’s neural networks.
Even though you might be feeling a bit like an overstuffed couch right now, try to find some time for intellectual stimulation. Books, soft music, and even talking to your baby can stimulate auditory development. But remember, all those kicks and jabs you're feeling? That's your little one exercising their newfound motor skills as their cerebellum matures!
The Role of the Five Senses: Yes, They Can Smell You! 👃👀👂
We often underestimate the power of the senses during pregnancy, but your baby's senses of smell, taste, touch, sight, and sound are starting to come alive.
Around the 28th week, your baby can smell what you smell! Amazing, right? Your amniotic fluid carries the scent of everything you consume, and this is great practice for the sense of smell. Your baby also starts to open their eyes and can perceive light and darkness. Let’s not forget the development of taste buds; your little one can now differentiate between sweet and bitter.
  • Olfactory cells: By the third trimester, these are mature enough for your baby to smell.
  • Taste buds: The baby can taste what you eat through the amniotic fluid.
  • Sight and sound: Light-sensitive eyes and an ever-improving sense of hearing.
If you’ve been craving those midnight spicy tacos or morning grapefruits, your baby is getting a whiff and a taste of it too! This might be a fun time to introduce a variety of flavors to your diet, which may turn your baby into a little foodie. Plus, play some soothing tunes; your baby's ears are tuned to pick up sounds, especially the comforting sound of your voice. 🎶
Let's Get Physical: Movement and Reflexes 💪🤱
As the third trimester advances, physical movement becomes more coordinated, thanks to the motor cortex getting more refined.
This means all those cute little hiccups, kicks, and rolls aren't just random movements; your baby is actually practicing for life outside the womb!
The basic reflexes like swallowing, sucking, and blinking are pretty much hardwired now.
These will be essential skills once your baby makes their grand entrance.
  • Motor Cortex: Coordinates all voluntary movements.
  • Basic Reflexes: Swallowing, sucking, and blinking are now present.
  • Primitive Reflexes: Like the grasp reflex, make your baby grab onto anything that touches their palm.
As your due date nears, take some time to marvel at your baby’s gymnastics.
Those kicks and somersaults aren’t just for show; they are vital to muscular development.
This is also the time when the Moro reflex develops, which you'll notice when your newborn gets startled easily.
But don't worry; like everything else, it's a sign of healthy growth and development. 🤗

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