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Pregnancy at Week 19

Pregnancy at Week 19

You may feel that your pregnancy is flying by. In fact, you are nearly at the halfway mark this week! Find out what’s going on in your body and how your baby is growing and changing during pregnancy at week 19.

How Your Baby Is Growing During Pregnancy at Week 19

This week, your baby has reached the size of a large mango, or around 8.5 ounces and 6 inches long. The cartilage in your baby’s body is hardening and turning to bone. Baby is becoming more coordinated and practices moving its legs and arms. Neurons are connecting in the brain, preparing for life outside the womb. All of these things are making it possible for baby to really move. You likely feel baby’s movements throughout the day and nighttime now. You may even start to notice a discernible pattern in baby’s wake and sleep times. Tip: if you’re having trouble noticing baby’s movements, lie down for a while. Sometimes when you are still you can feel the movements better. Moms describe kicks and punches as feeling like the flutter of a butterfly in your lower abdomen.

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    Photo Credit: yourbabylibrary.com

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    Your baby’s brain has developed the ability to use her five senses: sight, smell, touch, taste, and sound. She may even be able to hear you speaking on a regular basis, so reading aloud to her or talking to her throughout the day can be entertaining. She has developed a protective, waxy coating called vernix that will shield her skin from the amniotic fluid she’s bathing in. Some people believe the vernix offers many benefits to baby after she is birthed. Some parents write into their birth plan that the vernix is not to be washed off by the delivering physician or midwife so that it can be used shortly after birth. Some suggested benefits of the vernix include a special moisturizer that includes the same proteins that provide the healing qualities of breast milk. A mother who wishes to take advantage of vernix should ask that it not be wiped off upon delivery, but instead will be rubbed in all over the newborn’s body.

    How Your Body Is Changing

    Your body is getting ready for some big changes in the next half of your pregnancy. Your uterus will grow exponentially faster in the last half of pregnancy than it has the first half. You may start to notice round ligament pain, or a sharp, stabbing pain in your lower back, through your hips, and/or the backs of your legs. This is due to the large amounts of stretching your ligaments are doing to accommodate your growing uterus. Your may notice the palms of your hands turning a reddish color or find darkened patches elsewhere on your skin. This is due to the increase of estrogen circulating around your body. These are normal symptoms of pregnancy at week 19 and are not cause for alarm. Limiting your exposure to sun and using sunscreen when outdoors will help the color not to deepen any further.

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    Many women experience painful leg cramps during pregnancy, especially at night. No one knows for sure what causes them, whether it’s related to diet, increasing weight gain, or pressure on blood vessels, but a quick fix to get rid of the pain is to try stretching your calves by pulling your toes towards your shin. Other common side effects of pregnancy at week 19 include stuffy nose, back aches and headaches, constipation, increased appetite, dizziness, and stretch marks.

    Things to Do During Pregnancy at Week 19

    If you haven’t already chosen one, now is a good time to settle on a short list of names for your baby. Many parents opt to wait until they’ve met their little one before deciding which name fits their baby. It is still a good idea to have a few names you’re considering so that you and your partner are on the same page. Check out Baby Center’s Name Finder here.

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    It’s not too early to think about prepping yourself for labor and delivery. Research your options for birth and start to put together a birth plan. Birth plans typically include whether you want the option for pain medication during labor, how important breastfeeding is to you, where you would like post-birth activities (nursery check-ups, etc.) to happen, and other aspects that are important to your unique birth experience. You can find a birth plan template by The Bump here.

    Now is also a good time to start planning how you’ll design baby’s nursery after his arrival! While most parents opt to have their newborn sleep in their bedroom, you’ll likely use the baby’s room to store their clothes, use the changing table, store books and toys, etc. Parents usually enjoy this time, envisioning their newest family member joining their home. Often expectant parents have their baby shower in their second trimester, so you can start thinking about registering for baby items you’ll need. The website called Babylist offers an online option for parents to compile a central registry with items from any website on the internet. This is especially convenient to out-of-town friends and family who might be shipping you a gift.

    Featured photo credit: Pregnant – 33 Weeks/Kelly Hunter via flickr.com

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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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