Your developing baby: Building the brain is like building a house

Your baby’s growth and development is guided by the brain. Brain development begins during pregnancy and continues into the adult years. In the developing embryo, neurons start to form by 6 weeks of pregnancy. By 16 weeks of pregnancy, 250,000 neurons are being created every minute.

Building the brain is like building a house:

In a house…

  • The structure is built starting on the ground.
  • The base or foundation is set, the walls are built and the electrical system is wired—all in an exact order.
  • The electrical wiring allows all parts of the house to work together.
  • A strong foundation supports everything that is built on top of it.

In the brain…

  • The brain’s basic structure forms during pregnancy.
  • The ‘wiring’ of the brain starts as the brain’s neurons begin to connect with each other.
  • Connections in the brain continue to develop through an ongoing process until the early adult years.
  • These connections are how the brain communicates. Communication happens between neurons in the brain, and between the brain and the rest of the nervous system.
  • Early brain development lays the foundation for future learning, behaviour and health.

Your newborn’s brain is like a house that has just been built. The walls and doors are up but the wiring isn’t all in place. There are still a lot of changes to come.

Caring for yourself during pregnancy is important because it supports your child’s brain development, which affects all parts of your child’s growth and development.

The quickly developing brain is very sensitive to harmful environments such as too much stress, certain illnesses and being exposed to harmful chemicals.

This site suggests ways to create healthy environments to help your baby’s developing brain during pregnancy. More information on helping to build your child’s brain through the early years.

  • When stress becomes too much

    Everyone has some amount of stress. But some things cause so much stress it can be harmful to your health, and your baby’s developing brain and overall health. If you are going through something stressful that isn’t going away or for which you have no support, it’s important to get help. Talk to your health care provider or call Health Link toll-free in Alberta at 8-1-1.

Retrieved from: http://www.healthyparentshealthychildren.ca/pregnancy-overview/your-developing-baby/

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