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Dizziness During Pregnancy: Causes And Prevention

Dizziness During Pregnancy: Causes And Prevention

There’s no doubt that pregnancy is a wonderful time in our lives. Feeling our little one’s kick for the very first time is up there with some of our best memories of all time.

But right from the start there are problems we need to be alerted to if we are to enjoy the next forty weeks.

Dizziness during pregnancy can be quite daunting, however, it can be helpful to know what causes it. It’s also of great value to know what we can do about it.

Lets start off with the causes.

Low Blood Sugar

When your system is low in sugar you can experience some nasty symptoms like weakness, dizziness, fast heart rate and excessive thirst.

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Dehydration

You’re not just eating for two now – your’e also drinking for two. The pregnant body can become dehydrated easily so watch out for that.

Progesterone Levels

Increased levels of progesterone encourages a greater amount of blood to flow to your baby however, this reduces blood flow to your brain and it lowers your blood pressure. This causes dizziness during pregnancy.

Circulatory System

The circulatory system is growing at such a rapid rate and the pregnant body isn’t producing enough blood to fill it. This results in a feeling of faintness.

Overheating

Spending too much time in a hot room, office or restaurant will cause the body to overheat, resulting in dizziness.

Low Blood Pressure

Your baby is growing to such an extent that it puts great pressure on your blood vessels. When you lie on your back the high levels of progesterone encourage your blood vessels to widen. This means extra blood is carried to your baby at a more rapid rate but not so much to you, reducing your blood pressure.

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So now you know why it happens, so what do you do if it happens to you.

How To Manage Pregnancy Dizziness and Fainting

Lie down on your side and elevate your legs until you feel OK again. If you’re not comfortable lying down, don’t worry, just sit up.

From that sitting position bend down and try to touch your feet. We don’t expect you to be able to touch your feet – just aim in that direction. As soon as you’re feeling a little better do the following three things.

  • Make sure your clothes aren’t a tight fit
  • Have a big glass of water and a snack
  • Take a little walk outside for five minutes

Don’t do any of the above until you are steady on your feet and free from all dizziness.

And finally you might be interested to learn how to avoid these dizzy spells in the first place. Wouldn’t it be nice if you never experienced any at all? Well these tips will definitely reduce the chances.

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Take Your Time

Don’t rush when you are getting up from a sitting or lying position. Easy does it – one step at a time. You don’t want your blood pressure dropping so take your time and that should help.

Eat Well

If you eat a balanced diet you will reduce the likelihood of fainting. You should make sure to get in all of the food groups (no faddy diets for the next 40 weeks).

And also eat often (6 smaller meals each day rather than 3 big ones) .This way you’re not giving your blood sugar a chance to drop. Always have a snack or two close by in case you start to feel a bit funny. I always found bananas to be good for getting my blood sugar back up quickly.

Fresh Air

Make sure to get outside and get fresh air as often as you can. Employers need to be understanding about this. It will be good for you to stretch your legs anyway.

Lie On Your Side

Lying on your back is a bad idea if you want to avoid feeling dizzy. The baby will press on your vena cava which will slow down your blood supply. Try to lie on your side where possible.

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Dress in Layers

This way you can shed whatever layers you need to so you can get the right body temperature.

Take Breaks From Standing

Avoid standing for too long. Standing for long periods of time is not recommended, therefore I would try to make sure there is a chair available at all times.

Drink Plenty

Drink at least eight glasses of water or juice each day. Don’t skimp on fluids for yourself and your little one.

Finally a word of caution. If your dizziness does get out of control and you faint, it is best to have your doctor check you out.

You will probably be fine but it’s the best thing to do.

Also don’t operate any machinery or drive if you feel at all faint.

Not everyone suffers with pregnancy dizziness but if you do just follow the guidelines above and you should be fine.

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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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