A clever, healthy baby starts developing before pregnancy

The more engaging and endearing baby is, the more people like to interact with him/her. Such a lovely baby would easily develop a positive sense of self, spurred on by all the laughs, shining eyes and hand-clapping he receives every time he does something cute and clever.

Development occurs, but does not start, when you make eye contact with baby, touch him, feed him or change his nappy, play with him, talk to him and give him all kinds of stimulating experiences that Adriano Milani Comparetti calls - developmental dates. These are cell-phone-free-moments of focussed contact between mom, dad and baby to introduce him to the look and feel and taste of the world around him.

Research has shown that baby’s early life experiences write a recipe he is going to use for the rest of his life.

Your baby’s development starts when you look after yourself before, during and after pregnancy. Looking after yourself is probably more important for your baby’s brain development than anything else a mom can do.

Peak health is important to give your baby the best possible start in life and ideally starts at least three months before you plan to fall pregnant. It means taking a look at your nutrition, your fitness, your stress levels and your lifestyle in general. It also means that dad needs to take a good look at his nutrition, fitness, stress levels and lifestyle to produce a healthy baby who may grow into a healthy, happy and clever child.

Give nature a hand – You can do it!

It takes 150 days for an egg in a follicle in mom’s ovary to develop into a mature egg ready to be released for conception.

Sperm formation takes plus minus 20-30 days to mature and is highly susceptible to environmental influences. - Zita West

Visit your GP
Both partners should have a sexual health check-up.

Most infections are easy to treat, but may cause difficulties later if not treated.

Determine if mom is rubella (measles) immune and does not test positive for CMV (Cytomegalovirus) or HIV.

If mom gets rubella early in pregnancy it may cause baby to be deaf and blind.

Have a cervical (PAP) smear.

Determine if there are any precancerous cells.

Discuss the presence of anaemia, asthma, hypertension, thyroid dysfunction, diabetes or epilepsy.

If any of these conditions are present, discuss the intention to fall pregnant and if medication should be adjusted to least impact on the baby.

Review your family and ethnic history, if there is any concern, consider a genetic screening.

You might also want to read about baby massage.