During pregnancy, your body begins to change in preparation for bringing a new life into the world. Part of the preparation is laying the brain building blocks for your bundle of joy while the child undergoes fetal development. An article on BrillKids.comexpounds on the importance of early brain stimulation to the development of a child:
“YOUR BABY IS BORN WITH MOST OF THE BRAIN CELLS SHE WILL EVER HAVE, BUT DURING HER FIRST 12 MONTHS IN THE WORLD, HER BRAIN WILL BECOME INCREASINGLY COMPLEX. BY THE TIME SHE REACHES THE AGE OF TWO, HER BRAIN WILL ALREADY BE 75 PERCENT OF ITS ADULT WEIGHT. BY THE AGE OF THREE, IT WILL HAVE REACHED 90 PERCENT OF ITS ADULT WEIGHT.
ALMOST 50 PERCENT OF THE BRAIN CELLS YOUR BABY IS BORN WITH WILL WITHER AND DIE DURING THE FIRST FEW YEARS OF LIFE. THIS PROCESS, KNOWN AS NEURAL PRUNING, ORGANIZES THE BRAIN AND MAKES IT MORE EFFICIENT.”
The fetus’ brain starts functioning early in the pregnancy even though cognitive functions are still not complete. Neurons, or the nerve cells that comprise the brain, start coming together around a month into the pregnancy. The number of neurons accelerate their formation to around 200 billion by the time of birth, with each neuron packing dendrites that can make up to 15,000 synapses, or connections with other neurons. (Think of a synapse as the spark that arises when the ends of two electric wires are connected; the wires’ reactions enable stimulation of the entire electric circuit.)
In that sense, using a prenatal audio system like the BabyPlus can help jumpstart auditory learning and bolster brain function at various prenatal development stages.
A newborn child’s brain weighs around 12 ounces but increases to 2.2 pounds by the time he or she turns a year old. The extra weight comes from the additional brain mass which develops within 12 months to produce the neurons that will handle specific body functions and cognitive skills.
With such a large number of neural pathways, the level of activity the baby is able to participate in after birth determines which of them would become fully functioning and which would be rendered inactive. Once some of the permanently inactive neurons are severed, the brain is able to devote extra resources to keeping the more active neurons at peak capacity. The neurons that are continuously stimulated may expand into more branches.
With studies finding that early brain stimulation gives children advantage in later years in life, parents recognize the need to educate their child early on by talking to them, teaching them skills, and using prenatal programs like BabyPlus. Early and proper stimulation helps advance children’s learning capabilities.
(Source: The Science of Early Learning, Brill Kids)
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