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10 Things You Should Know In 18th Week of Pregnancy

10 Things You Should Know In 18th Week of Pregnancy

At 18 weeks pregnant, you are almost halfway through your pregnancy. As your body constantly changes together with your baby, you have to adapt and make sure you know everything that is ahead of you during this time. See what you should know about the 18th week of your pregnancy below.

1. Changes in your body

By now your baby bump probably has probably grown and in the second trimester you should strive to gain three to four pounds a month. Also, when you’re 18 weeks pregnant, your baby will become more active which will lead to butterflies or gas bubbles you feel in your stomach. These bubbles or butterflies are your baby’s first movements that are also called “quickening.” Soon, your baby will start to produce those gentle kicks and stretches in your tummy.

2. Your growing baby

At this period of your pregnancy, the baby is about the size of a bell pepper. More precisely, it is approximately 5 ½ inches long, and it weighs about 7 ounces. Your baby develops something new throughout your pregnancy week by week. During this week, your baby will develop ears, and they will pop out from the head. Also, starting from this week, your baby will hear your voice, and it’s a great time to start talking to your growing belly.

Moreover, baby’s eyes will face forward now, and they’ll be able to detect light. Besides developing ears and improvements in eyes, your baby’s nervous system will improve in an 18th week, as well. Now, your baby’s nerves will be covered by the substance called myelin whose purpose is to transmit messages from one cell to another.

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During this week, you may undergo an ultrasound and if your baby cooperates the physician might be able to determine the little one’s gender.

3. Symptoms

If your pregnancy was smooth so far, some symptoms might be mild this week too. You may even feel your energy level increased, though some women can also feel fatigue. This varies from person to person. As you experience different symptoms during pregnancy week by week here is what you can expect in 18th week:

  • Carpal Tunnel Syndrome – a common occurrence in many pregnant women. This syndrome is caused by a compressed nerve in your wrist, and the outcome is numbness, tingling and pain in your hand or an entire arm. If you feel this pain, you’re not alone. 62% of women report having carpal tunnel syndrome. The good news is; this syndrome disappears after giving birth.
  • Various body aches – starting with week 18 you may experience various body aches in the second trimester of your pregnancy such as pain in the thigh, groin, or back. This happens due to changes in your body that occur with the growth of your baby. Your uterus starts expanding which causes body aches. Great way to relieve this is by asking your partner, husband, or family member and friend to give you a nice massage; also you can apply hot or cold compresses. Moreover, getting cramps in your legs in the nighttime is also quite common. In order to tackle this issue try stretching your legs before bed, or even do some exercises or just walk during the day.
  • Other symptoms – heartburn, gas, frequent urination or bloating may continue this week as well. You may also experience gum and nasal problems and dizziness.

4. Safe skin care

Before we move on to discuss various skin problems that you might experience in this period, we should first discuss the safe skin care and what are the best skin care products for pregnant women. When you are pregnant everything you do, eat, or even apply to your skin can have either positive or negative impact on your baby. Therefore, before purchasing various skin care products, make sure their ingredients won’t harm your unborn child.

Best to avoid

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  • Retinoids – this powerful substance can be found in face creams, body lotions, and moisturizers, etc. Usually, they are safe to use and beneficial for your skin. However, while you are pregnant, it would be better to stay away from them as some studies have revealed that higher levels of Vitamin A can harm your child.
  • Salicylic acid – is usually an ingredient in cleansers and toners. While oral consumption is extremely harmful to the child, applying it topically once or twice a day in the form of toner is considered safe. However, using facial peels that contain salicylic acid is a no-no as it is just as same as taking one more aspirin according to experts.

Safe to use

  • Soy – skin care products are used as an alternative to items that contain too many chemicals. Soy products are considered as safe to use but if you have darker skin or melasma, you should consider asking for your doctor’s advice.
  • Acne products – pregnancy is sometimes characterized by acne outbreaks. In order to make them disappear you can use over-the-counter cleansers or toners. As seen above, applying salicylic acid twice a day is considered as safe (as long as it’s not facial peel).
  • Hair removers – are considered safe as long as you follow directions.
  • Sunscreens – according to numerous experts, sunscreens (even those that contain products that penetrate the skin) are considered as safe to use.
  • Makeup – yes, you can use makeup during pregnancy too, as long as it doesn’t contain salicylic acid or retinoids.

Ideally, the best skin care products for pregnant women are the ones that do not contain alcohol, various chemicals, and substances. You should strive to use makeup and skin care products that are made of natural ingredients. Moreover, as it is recommended not to dye your hair during the pregnancy, you may consider henna bricks as they color your hair but don’t contain harmful chemicals.

5. Your changing skin during pregnancy

When you’re pregnant your skin changes too, and you may experience some problems in the 18th week. Some of them are:

  • Acne
  • The linea nigra – pregnancy stripes, especially at least one dark and vertical line that goes from your belly button all the way to the pubic area. Before you start worrying, you should know the line will start fading away once you give birth to your baby.
  • Skin tags – might appear on your torso, neck, armpits, etc. However, in order to tackle this issue, you will have to wait until the baby is born.
  • Heat rash, itching, redness, etc. – in order to prevent this from happening wear comfortable clothes made of natural materials like itching and rash often occur due to friction while wearing clothes that are too tight.

6. Home remedies for skin problems

While you’re pregnant, you’re trying to avoid products whose ingredients may harm your baby. Some home remedies can help treat your skin problems. For example:

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  • Pigmentation – you can solve this problem with aloe vera gel, mixing almond powder, saffron, and milk, or dipping lemon into turmeric. Regardless of the method all you have to do is to apply it and rinse it off in 10 minutes.
  • Stretch marks – again, aloe vera gel works perfectly for affected areas.
  • Dry skin – make your own massage oil with 10 drops of sandalwood and geranium oils, 5 drops of rose water and ylang-ylang oil, and combine them with 50ml of sesame oil and 10ml of wheat germ oil.

7. What to eat when 18 weeks pregnant

To keep a healthy weight and make sure your baby only gets healthy nutrients, vitamins and minerals you have to be careful what you eat in the 18th week of your pregnancy too. Ideally, well-balanced diet includes fruits, vegetables, carbohydrates, proteins, dairy foods, and Omega-3 fatty acids. Before you assume that Omega-3 fatty acids will affect your baby’s health in a negative manner, you should know that these fatty acids are of extreme importance for the development of baby’s brain.

8. Beating pregnancy fatigue

While some women experience increased energy levels, there are also women who feel fatigue during the 18th week of pregnancy. Here is how to beat pregnancy fatigue:

  • Take a power nap
  • Go out for a walk
  • Adjust your schedule and make sure you’re not over-committed
  • Listen to music with faster beats
  • Drink plenty of water
  • Make sure you eat foods rich in iron as fatigue is often result of iron deficiency
  • Exercise, there are a lot of classes and gyms with special pregnancy programs where you do exercise that will benefit you and your baby, etc.

9. Moisturizing baby bump

It is crucial to moisturize the baby bump. As your belly grows stretch marks will become more frequent and visible. Moisturizing the baby bump will reduce their intensity, and they will appear at a slower rate. Naturally, make sure you’re using a moisturizer that is safe for your baby.

10. Beauty Tips

Being 18 weeks, pregnant doesn’t mean you shouldn’t pay attention to enhancing your beauty. That is particularly important now because you already have that healthy, pregnancy glow. Many women avoid and completely abandon their beauty regimes mostly because they feel like they will harm their baby. Here are beauty tips you should use in 18th week or during pregnancy week by week to enhance your glowing look:

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  • Stay hydrated
  • Moisturize
  • Use soft shampoos that will be gentle to your scalp and prevent hair loss
  • Use sunscreen
  • Use coconut oil to nourish your skin (or almond oil and shea butter)
  • Use organic eye serum
  • Dab lavender oil on your wrists as a drug-free sleep aid.

Conclusion

With the advance of pregnancy week by week, your body changes along with your baby. You should make sure that in week 18 you eat healthy foods, stay energized and take a power nap. Also, don’t forget to take care of your skin and remember best skin care products for pregnant women are the ones that are made of natural ingredients and don’t contain retinoids.

Featured photo credit: Shutterstock via shutterstock.com

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Evlin Symon

Evlin Symon is a health and wellness expert specialized in fitness, weight loss, pregnancy, nutrition and beauty.

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Published on May 7, 2021

20 Energizing Brain Breaks For Kids

20 Energizing Brain Breaks For Kids

From coaching martial arts to children as young as four years old, I very quickly came to the understanding that if I wanted to help kids progress their skills, I needed to find a way to help them focus more consistently in my class.

There are two key ways I found when it came to improving my students’ level of focus:

  1. Make what we’re doing more interesting. Nothing is off the table here—from having ninja clowns on the rampage in a lesson to including popular games with a martial arts theme, tapping into the student’s love of fun to help them focus.
  2. Introduce brain breaks.

Brain breaks are small mental breaks that help the kids stay more focused. Think of the brain as a fuel gauge that shows the information you can consciously hold in your mind at any given moment. When the kids are focused and working hard on their tasks, the meter is usually full. They can easily concentrate and pass experiences into their long-term memory.

But when the needle starts to drop, you may observe that your kids are feeling anxious or looking restless. New information, experiences, and knowledge are not getting processed from the staging area or working memory into the long-term memory.[1]

It’s here that brain breaks make the most difference, as they allow us to “top-up the tank” or reset the gauge so that we can continue to learn and focus and at a higher level.

If you’ve been home tutoring, you’ll appreciate that brain breaks can help kids in many ways. They can reduce stress and frustration. Think of those times when you’re helping your kids solve a difficult problem. It’s taxing for you both and when compounded with the energy loss after a day at school or watching TV. The stress effect can be compounded, and it’s here that brain breaks can be a lifesaver.[2]

The following is a selection of brain break ideas for kids. You’ll see that some are physical activities while others are more relaxing. It’s always great to test them out to see which ones connect the best with your children.

It’s okay to repeat the same brain breaks. Having a clear name and mission to a break can help keep your child excited, knowing that they’ll have the opportunity to take part in a future round of the activity.

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Active Brain Breaks

Here are some active brain breaks for kids that you can try out.

1. Swapsies

Have the participants stand behind a chair. Call out a character trait, like “everyone with brown eyes.” You then swap places with someone else who has the same characteristic. If you have nothing that matches, you stay put!

Examples: “Everyone with trainers on.” “Everyone who is left-handed.” “Everyone who is wearing yellow.”

2. Dance Party

Put five or six different types of songs on Spotify, including a classic like “baby shark or the hamster dance.” Dim the lights if possible and have the kids dance to the tunes. Then, change the tunes and change the dance style. It’s silly and fun.

3. Freeze Dance

Similar to Dance Party except that when the music stops, students have to stay perfectly still until the music restarts. You can make this even more fun by trying to make the students smile. If they smile, they are out and have to sit down.

4. Keep It Up

Students must keep a balloon from touching the floor. You can add multiple balloons. You can make it more competitive by having different balloons of two different colors and split people into teams. Whoever keeps the balloons up the longest or the team with the most balloons in the air with a timer of 60 seconds wins.

5. Simon Says

This brain break for kids is an old favorite. You can also mix it up with martial arts moves, Fortnite dances, superhero moves, etc.

6. Animal Movement

Move like different animals. It’s fun for younger children. We use Flamingo where you stand on one leg, crawl like a bear, stand like a meerkat, run like a cheetah, and walk like a penguin.

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7. Find It Fast

“Find It Fast” is a scavenger hunt variation. Call an item out in the room and kids have to stand by it. For example, find a clock, find something with a face, find something smelly, find some money, find a phone, etc.

8. The Frog

Physical Challenges can be excellent fun. We have one in the martial arts class called “The Frog” where you squat like a frog, then lean forward so your head and feet are off the floor. These are all old yoga poses, so have a look through a booklet or website for some safe ideas. Other examples are grabbing your nose with your left hand and touching your knee with your right elbow.

9. Pizza Delivery Time

Give the students paper plates and tell them to hold the plates above their head on a flat hand. They then run around the room and try to keep the plate in their hand. You can make it more challenging by having other students try to knock others’ plates off. There’s usually a 3-star jump penalty if your plate touches the floor.

10. Limbo

We use martial arts belts and the students take turns going underneath the belts. Fun music creates an awesome atmosphere here.

11. Human Knot

Split the group of people and have everyone link hands under and over. That’s making knots between everyone in the group. Have the other students try to untangle them and return everyone back into a circle.

12. Feather Balance

This brain break for kids works well with gentle music, and you can use a balloon or a straw if you don’t have a feather handy.

13. Stack them high

The students should have plastic cups and paper squares. The goal is to make a tower as high as possible, or it could be to make a triangle or even a pyramid.

Relaxing Brain Breaks

We talked about brain breaks for kids that are being used to energize the students. But they can also be used to calm and relax them. We’re more familiar with the term mindfulness, but it’s the same idea. These are brain breaks for kids that reduce stress and anxiety.

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14. Meditation

Meditation

is a popular way to reduce anxiety. There are lots of great examples already pre-recorded on YouTube that you can follow along with. Below is a useful classroom meditation example.

15. Kaleidoscope

Kaleidoscopes are fun ways to relax. They are mesmerizing and like a peaceful vortex that sucks you into them. Below is a great example of a visual online one you can use.

16. Reading/Listening to a Story

When I surveyed the members of our martial arts club about how their kids employ brain breaks at home, there was a clear winner among the families—listening to a story or reading a story. The feedback was that the process of daydreaming a little helps the kids to recharge. But it goes without saying that the story needs to be engaging.

17. Doodling

My personal favorite way to brain break as a kid was to doodle. Doodling gives your child a few minutes to draw anything they want. It can be calming for them, and it’s a lot more fun if you have different types of pens or crayons available to use. Add some soft music, and you have a simple way to take some time to relax.

18. Coloring Sheets

Coloring sheets are another way to relax the mind. There’s lots of great coloring in pads available, but here are some links to public resources shared on the internet that are great examples.

19. Deep Breathing

Deep breathing

is an epic way to help your child slow down. It is a quick way to relieve anxiety so that they feel more ready for the next task ahead.

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Try this: put your hands on your tummy, breathe in through the nose, and feel your belly expand like a balloon. Hold it here, then slowly breathe out through the mouth while feeling your stomach get smaller. Repeat this 10 times. Use the following counts: breath in for 4 seconds, hold for 4 seconds, and breath out for 4 seconds.

20. Going Outside

Go outside was the second most popular response from our parent’s survey about brain breaks for kids at home. Fresh air always feels nice. You can combine this with a treasure hunt, looking for different colored cars, types of birds, or even types of trees, if you’re familiar with these.

My personal favorite is using a mushroom spotting app on our phones and finding a mushroom or toadstool, then using the app to identify its name. This is surprisingly engaging for children. But a few safety rules about not touching them is important. It gives kids a change of scenery and helps revitalize the senses, providing a welcome break from their homework.

How Often Should You Introduce Brain Breaks?

The key to brain breaks is their timing. If you can introduce them before you notice that your kids are entering deep fatigue or their loss of focus has set in. You’ll find a great balance between breaks and effort.

I’ve observed from my martial arts coaching that younger students have a smaller amount of working memory than older kids. My formula is for five minutes of technical training, we provide five minutes of brain breaks for students under seven years old. Plus, we coach to 15 minutes of training to five minutes of brain breaks for children under 12 years.

Final Thoughts

Implementing calming brain breaks for kids is a really efficient way of introducing brain breaks. You have a quick way to allow your students to learn about regulating themselves. Balancing their mind and energy is a useful skill, and you can take this with you everywhere you go.

Our martial arts center revolutionized our approach to coaching by using brain breaks for kids. We found that although we were teaching less technical skills, there was now consistent progress from the students. Plus, everyone was less anxious, happier, and are having more fun. This is a win overall.

If you’ve been having challenges with your kids focusing at home, maybe try a mixture of the calming and active breaks to see which types work best for your kids.

Featured photo credit: Robert Collins via unsplash.com

Reference

[1] SimplyPsychology: Working Memory Model
[2] BrainFacts.org: Kids Need Brain Breaks — And So Do Adults

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