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Pregnancy At Week 14

Pregnancy At Week 14

How the Baby is Growing

You have now entered your second trimester and your baby is making large developments. Your baby can now perform facial expressions such as squinting, frowning and grimacing. Thanks to your baby’s brain impulses, his facial muscles are getting strong as they move from one expression to the next.

Your baby measures about 3 and ½ inches and weighs about an ounce and a half—about the size of a lemon. Your little lemon is mostly growing his muscles and bones. They can likely grasp, which means by this week they will be able to suck their thumbs. Your baby’s hands and feet are more flexible and active, and it is only a matter of time before you start to feel those punches.

lemon-baby

    Your little lemon’s body is growing faster than his head. He is starting to look more proportional. By the end of the week, his arms will have grown a length that is in proportion to the rest of the body, but the legs will still have some growing.

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    During pregnancy week 14, your baby is starting to develop an ultra-fine, downy covering of hair all over his body. The spleen is starting to make red blood cells which carry nutrients and oxygen to the baby. The liver is starting to make bile—a sign that it is doing its job right.

    Mother’s Body Development

    This is the first week of your second trimester. You can rest easier as the risk of a miscarriage drops substantially—75 percent of miscarriages occur in the first trimester. You should start feeling more energetic as your levels of HCG drop; estrogen and progesterone shift again.

    Your breasts should feel less tender and you should start to feel less queasy. If not, do not worry, chances are that it will soon pass. If you are still feeling nausea and fatigue, be aware that unfortunately, some women will continue to experience these symptoms into their 16th or 20th week of pregnancy.

    As your baby and placenta grow, you will continue experiencing a slight weight gain. Now is the time to hit those maternity boutiques you have been dying to go to because you are starting to show more. Your uterus is starting to rise out of the pelvic region and into the lower abdomen giving you the coveted pregnant belly.

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    As your uterus grows, you might start to feel some discomfort—this is known as round ligament pain. The thick bands of ligaments that run from the groin up the side of the abdomen are being stretched and thinned out to accommodate the increasing weight.

    The increasing weight can cause a sharp pain or dull ache in the lower abdomen. The best way to get rid of the pain is to rest in a comfortable position with your feet up.

    As the baby pushes out, you should feel a decreasing need to urinate. You might be able to finally skip some steps to the bathroom, but enjoy it now because bladder pressure increases in the third trimester when the baby drops into the pelvis again.

    Common Symptoms Experienced During Pregnancy Week 14

    Along with the older symptoms of nausea, fatigue, sore breasts and varicose veins, you will experience a stronger appetite and a stuffy nose.

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    As your nausea, morning sickness, and fatigue decrease you will rediscover your appetite and learn that you are trying to feed two. Do your best to eat healthy and regular food. Eating spicy or fatty foods can cause indigestion and heartburn. Try snacking and eating throughout the day to keep your blood and energy stable.

    Your hormones are starting to change again. High levels of estrogen and progesterone increase the blood flow to mucous membranes in the body such as your vagina and nose. You will experience swelling and softening causing heavy amounts of discharge from your nose and your vagina. Try running a warm-mist humidifier while you sleep to make breathing easier.

    Activities This Week

    As your nose runs more and your body suppresses your immune system during pregnancy week 14, now is the time to stay healthy. Engage in germ warfare by washing your hands often, do not share drinks or food with sick people, and avoid sick people like the plague. If you think you have caught a cold, check with your doctor.

    It is also a good idea to consider starting a regular workout routine. Prenatal classes are an excellent way for soon-to-be mothers to bond with and get support from other pregnant women. Some good exercise routines include water exercises, yoga or a walking group.

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    Tips This Week

    This is the week many people find out the sex of their baby. Discuss with your partner if you want to know the sex of your baby. Knowing the sex of the baby can help mothers build a bond with their baby, prepare an older sibling for their arrival, down the list of baby names, and it allows you to pick out gender-specific baby items. Waiting to know the sex of the baby can be a great surprise, the desire to know the sex might motivate you during the toughest parts of labor, and you will be following tradition.

    Featured photo credit: Jerry Lai via flickr.com

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    Published on October 18, 2018

    Reading for Kids: 17 Reasons Why It’s Important and Where to Start

    Reading for Kids: 17 Reasons Why It’s Important and Where to Start

    Reading is one of the most important activities that you can encourage your children to do. It’s entertaining, thought provoking, and absolutely critical to success later in life.

    Being a proficient reader by the third grade is an integral factor in a child’s future success. Reading for kids is not just a fun pastime. It is the gateway to learning about other people, places, and ideas, with limitless possibilities.

    Why Reading for Kids Is Important?

    Develops Vocabulary and Language Skills

    Before your kids are able to read on their own, it’s important to nurture a love for books early on. Reading aloud to them at a young age is a great way to promote verbal communication skills between parent and child.

    As kids get older, we speak to them on a daily basis, but the vocabulary and topics that they are exposed to are limited and often repetitive. Reading books will improve your child’s vocabulary and expose them to different types of sentence structure, writing styles, and ways to express themselves.

    Not only will your children’s reading comprehension improve over time, this will also have a positive effect on their writing and communication skills. For children who are bilingual or learning a second language, reading is an important component of attaining or maintaining fluency.

    Encourages a Thirst for Knowledge

    There are books written about any topic imaginable, many in a wide variety of reading levels.

    When reading books, your kids will be introduced to a wide variety of topics, cultures, and ideas. They will realize how much knowledge is out there to be discovered and delve further into the subjects that interest them the most.

    In many cases, they will be enjoying the content of the book so much that they won’t even realize they are gaining so much knowledge about a particular topic.

    Increases Empathy

    Children have a very narrow understanding of the world around them. This is due to the limited number of experiences that they have encountered, based on the circumstances in which they grew up.

    Reading books about different types of people who have had a wide range of experiences allow kids to not only appreciate diversity but also to understand what it may be like being in someone else’s shoes.

    Doing so will help them appreciate and empathize with people who have very little in common with them and help them develop into more well-rounded individuals.

    The Best Form of Entertainment

    In the current age, technology has become the go-to for entertainment for adults and kids. Although TV shows and kids apps like these can be a great resource for learning, books are a better choice every time.

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    Rather than spending hours in front of a screen, encourage your kids to consider books as the default source of entertainment. Studies show that in families where reading was emphasized, the children are more likely to read independently and develop a passion for books in the long run.

    Creates a Bond

    There are multiple ways that reading creates a bond between parent and child. Starting from infancy, reading aloud promotes closeness and intimacy through spending time together and being physically close.

    As your child gets older, you can continue to read aloud or read the same book separately and talk about the parts that you enjoyed the most.

    Use reading as an opportunity engage and interact with your child, asking them about their thoughts on topics covered in the book or connecting the story to everyday life.

    Exercises Their Brain

    Reading requires more brain power than watching TV. When our kids read books, they utilize the part of their brain that deals with multi-sensory integrations, making connections between words and visual thinking.

    For beginner readers, illustrations can be a useful tool to help them grasp the narrative and gain better comprehension. In the case of more advanced readers, they use their brain when gathering context clues to help them figure out words or phrases that are unfamiliar.

    Reading also stimulates critical thinking, spurring kids to make connections between the book and real life and to form opinions about the story.

    Improves Concentration

    Reading a book requires focus and concentration, which are essential skills to work on, even for toddlers who have trouble sitting still.

    Consistently reading books will help your kids practice quieting their minds and their bodies to focus on a task for a set period of time.

    By taking away distractions and giving them space to read and understand, their attention spans and ability to concentration will greatly improve over time.

    Sets Them up for Success in School and Life

    There have been numerous studies that indicate reading books to children at an early age has a lasting effect on their success in school, which often directly correlates with success in the workplace.[1] But the benefits are not just limited to academic success.

    Reading is a long-term learning experience that promotes growth, which will result in your children becoming more effective people overall – better spouses, bosses, and friends.

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    Promotes Creativity and Imagination

    When reading a story, our children create an image of how they perceive the story to look in their minds, using creativity and imagination. Every person sees a different image in their mind, and it may change each time the same book is read.

    Reading also introduces new worlds, whether real or fictional, that we have never been a part of before. Immersing in the book allows your kids to imagine new experiences and scenarios that they never thought possible.

    They will be able to bring these ideas into their play time and use their creativity to go beyond the limits brought on by their everyday lives.

    Where To Start

    Now that you are aware of the multitude of benefits that reading can provide for your kids, what’s the next step?

    If your child has not yet developed a love for reading, it’s not too late to start.

    1. Make Reading a Choice, Not a Chore

    Don’t make reading a mandatory task or assigned chore. Encourage and remind your kids to read, but let them make the ultimate decision on when to read and for how long. Feeling like they are being compelled to read will inevitably take the joy out of the experience.

    If you have a reluctant reader, try to figure out what the root cause of the reluctance is. If your kids are struggling with words, find a few books below their reading level to instill confidence in recognizing the words they DO know. Gradually transition to harder books until they are more eager to read voluntarily.

    Another alternative is to try audiobooks. Hearing another person reading confidently is a great way to experience fluency, and they will be able to enjoy the book without having to stumble through it.

    If the content is the issue, and they find reading to be boring, introduce them to different types of reading material (see below).

    2. Suggest a Variety of Reading Material

    Reading can come in so many forms and every type has something unique to offer the reader. If your kids are having trouble finding joy in reading, it may be because they haven’t found a genre that fits their interests.

    Traditional books come in many genres, including mystery, history, biographies, fantasy, science fiction, and more. Some books are written in unique and fun styles, such as choose your own adventure books, diary novel, or epistolary novel.

    If you are looking for reading material that is more visually stimulating, try a graphic novel, a magazine, or a travel book. Books are also great resources for learning a new skill. Joke books, magic books, and cook books are great examples of these.

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    Don’t forget to show your kids the practical side of reading as well. Enlist their help in reading out the grocery list at the store or ask them to read recipe instructions when cooking in the kitchen together. All types of reading counts:

      3. Experience Books Firsthand

      As your kids read more books, they may start to imagine what it would be like if they were characters in the books. A great way to support their love for reading would be to help them depict their favorite parts of their book.

      Look up a recipe for butter beer (Harry Potter) or Turkish Delight (The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe) and make it together. Start planting a garden together after reading The Secret Garden.

      Another fun way to celebrate finishing a book is watching the movie interpretation of it. Seeing beloved characters come to life on screen is an easy way to enhance the enjoyment of reading.

      4. Be an Example

      You are the main person that your kids look up to. Kids love copying their parents and doing the things they observe their parents doing on a daily basis.

      Don’t just tell your kids to read often; show them by doing it yourself.[2] Actions speak louder than words.

      When you model your own love of reading and books and show them the joy it brings to your life, they will be inclined to feel the same way.

      5. Set Aside Time

      For a child with a busy schedule and so many other fun screen-filled activities to choose from, it can be difficult to purposely reserve time for reading.

      Make this decision a little easier by creating dedicated time that is just for reading. This can be just before bed, right after homework, or whatever time works best for your family’s busy schedule. This time can be used for read aloud time with your child or independent reading.

      6. Bring Books to Life

      Finding real life connections to the books that your kids are reading will extend the joy of the reading experience.

      Did your children just finish a book about life on the farm? Take them to visit a local farm and experience what they read about firsthand. Reading a book about planets and space can turn into a trip to the planetarium.

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      For a more memorable excursion, take a family trip out of the country, like visiting London after finishing the Harry Potter series.

      7. Make Books Accessible

      One of my favorite activities to do as a child was to go to the library. The vast number of books that were at my disposal made me so excited to read.

      Find a great library in your area to take your children and let them experience the magic of limitless possibility. Sign your kids up for their own library card and encourage them to take ownership of their reading adventure.

      Start a small collection of books at home so that your kids will always have books at their fingertips. Visit a bookstore, browse online, or sign up for a monthly book subscription. Getting access to new books on a regular basis will keep reading exciting and fun.

      8. Start a Book Club

      Having other people help you stay accountable is a great motivation to read more and to discover new books you may not have otherwise.

      Encourage your kids to start a book club, either with their peers or with you. Choose a book everyone would enjoy and set a deadline for getting together and discussing what each person thought of the book. The tangible due date is a great incentive to stay on track and read on a regular basis.

      The Bottom Line

      Fostering a love for reading in your kids is one of the greatest gifts you can give them.

      Reading books can transport them anywhere they could imagine, and the benefits that it provides for them in the short and long term are innumerable.

      Use these tips to actively encourage reading to be an enjoyable part of their lives, and it will be worth the effort.

      Featured photo credit: Annie Spratt via unsplash.com

      Reference

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