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34 Weeks Pregnant Concerns: All About The C-Section

34 Weeks Pregnant Concerns: All About The C-Section

You are now midway through your last trimester of your pregnancy. You will be experiencing some life-changing moments from here on. You have to be prepared, both physically and psychologically, for the outcomes that will follow from 34 weeks till the delivery. What will happen after the delivery is another thing for another article. But first, in brief, let me focus on your progress at 34 weeks of pregnancy.

Life at 34 Weeks Pregnant

A 34 weeks, pregnant woman will undergo exhaustion very easily. This is absolutely normal. You will want to pee frequently, and turning over while sleeping will be quite difficult. Again, all normal. The reason behind all this discomfort is that your baby now weighs around 4 and 3/4 pounds and is almost 18 inches long. They have fat layers all over their body — this will keep their body temperature in check once they’re born. Their lungs and nervous system are maturing, and their skin is smoother than before. In any case, if you do go into pre-term labor, do not get scared. Generally, if your baby is healthy and is born between 34 to 38 weeks, things will be just fine.

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Whether you go into pre-term or full-time labor is unpredictable. It entirely depends on your health and how soon your water breaks. Whatever the circumstance is, always be prepared. Preparation not only means packing your bags, it also means that you have to be mentally ready to undergo any sort of labor. Don’t be scared. Even though normal deliveries are the most common and the most preferred, a C-section is not an uncommon delivery. This delivery happens to about 30 per cent of women across the United States. One of the main reasons for doing it? To avoid unnecessary complications.

What is a C-Section?

A Caesarean Section, or more commonly known as C-Section, is a surgery through which the baby is born. An incision is made in the mother’s abdominal wall, as well as on the wall of the uterus. A C-Section can be either pre-planned or unplanned. This surgical procedure usually happens before the water breaks. A C-Section occurs if the mother has complications, or if she has had previous C-Section. A C-Section is not harmful or daunting. Sometimes, it is the safest way to deliver your baby.

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Why might you need a planned C-section?

There are many reasons why you should leave your midwife and visit an obstetrician. If you have any complications detected beforehand, your doctor will inform you about them. Some of the most common reasons for having a C-section are:

  • You have had a previous C-Section. Usually, during this type of case, the incision is vertical, rather than the normal horizontal one.
  • You may not be physically fit to go for a vaginal birth. This might be due to high blood pressure, high gestational diabetes, heart problem, or any sorts of infections that could pass on to your baby through normal delivery, such as genital herpes or HIV.
  • You have placenta previa, meaning your placenta is extremely low in the uterus, almost covering your cervix. In this case, the C-section is the safest option for you and your baby.
  • You are carrying two or more babies. Many times, if the mother’s overall condition is favorable and she is carrying twins, the doctor will prefer the vaginal delivery. Other times, the surgical procedure is performed. If the mother is carrying more than two, then a C-Section is definite.
  • Multiple babies means different positions of the babies in the womb. There are times when babies are in abnormal positions. This can happen to a single baby as well. Sometimes, the infant’s feet or buttocks enter the birth passage first, instead of the head. This position is called “breech.” Or at times, the baby lies sideways. This is called “transverse.”
  • Your baby is larger than usual. In a case like this, vaginal birth becomes impossible. Safest way to deliver is the surgery.
  • Another factor for doing C-Section is that your child is not getting enough oxygen inside you. Lack of oxygen and lack of movement for the baby are both concerns. Again, in this case, a C-Section would be the best option.

Reasons for an unplanned operation

Unplanned C-Sections usually are done in case of an emergency. This will include:

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  • Your contractions are not strong enough to continue the vaginal delivery.
  • Your baby is having difficulty cooperating in the birth process.
  • Your umbilical cord has fallen and has blocked the passage.
  • There’s been a sudden health deterioration. For example, high blood pressure may affect you and your child during labor.

The procedure: before & during the surgery

Before surgery, you will be asked to get your blood tested to see the level of haemoglobin. The result will determine whether you will need a transfusion during the surgery. Your obstetrician will also check if you are allergic to any sorts of medicines, especially the epidural. Your clothes will be changed and pubic hair cleaned. The nurse will start an IV and insert a catheter to void out your urine during the surgery. Once you are ready, you will be given an epidural or spinal block. This will numb the lower part of your body only. To prevent you and your partner from seeing the procedure, a screen will be put up before you.

The next steps are fairly straightforward. The doctor will cut your abdomen, layer after layer, cut your uterus, take your baby out, show you a glimpse of your newborn, and hand it over to the pediatrician. While your newborn is being examined, your obstetrician will stitch you up. Once you are ready and your surgery is complete, you’ll be taken to the recovery room, where the on-duty doctor will inspect you for few hours before releasing you to your room. Your baby will stay beside you, no matter where you go. Usually, you will stay in the hospital for up to 3 days after your C-Section delivery.

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The procedure: after the surgery

After the surgery, things are quite straightforward. You’ll be put on antibiotics for at least a week. You will attempt to breastfeed your baby from day 1 (if you choose to do so). During your stay at the hospital, your panel of doctors will check up on the stitches, your intake of fluid, your urination, your bowel movements, and how you’re doing in general. It is highly important to drink a maximum of 4 liters of fluid per day. You’ll be allowed to walk from day 2. By day 4 to 5, at home, you will notice the pain has subsided. Once you are home, you should take plenty of rest. No bending, no picking up heavy objects, no hefty jobs.

A C-Section is always an option that can be chosen if you want to avoid a vaginal birth. It is, of course, thoroughly recommended to go for a vaginal delivery, but then again, every situation will depend entirely on you and your baby. This is just to remind you that you should start thinking and mentally preparing yourself for all the alternatives.

Being 34 weeks pregnant, you and your partner are now planning out your future. My personal advise? Just enjoy, even if you don’t feel like it. I am a mum of two, so I know what you will go through. At 34 weeks, just try to stay calm, meditate, be positive, and relish in the moment!

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Sumaiya Kabir

Sumaiya is a passionate writer who shares thoughts and ideas to help people improve themselves.

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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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