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Answers About Urinary Tract Infections In Pregnancy

Answers About Urinary Tract Infections In Pregnancy

It seems that there are so many things to worry about when you are pregnant. Of course, this is also offset by all the good, like the delivery of your baby and the first time you hold them in your arms. If urinary tract infections in pregnancy is a worry to you, read on to get the answers to questions that will help put your mind at ease.

Are you worried you might have a urinary tract infection? Do you know what a UTI is? There are so many questions about the condition, so where do you get the answers you are looking for? Right here of course. If you suspect that you have a urinary infection in pregnancy it is important that you seek confirmation and get treated in order to avoid any complications.

First off, a UTI is basically an infection affecting the urinary system, which is made up of the bladder, the kidneys, the ureter (which is the tube taking urine from the kidneys down to the bladder), and the urethra (the tube taking urine out of the body).

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Of course, you may have many questions about urinary tract infections in pregnancy. To ease your worries because here are some of the most common questions and answers.

What Causes Urinary Tract Infections (UTIs)?

One of the most common causes of UTIs is bacteria getting into your urine. Of course, bacteria are naturally present in the body and can be typically found in the lower bowel, along with stool. Problems begin when the bacteria sneaks its way into the urinary tract. Generally, there are several ways that it can do this.

uti
    image source: WebMD.com

    Typically, bacteria can get into the urinary tract system by the following:

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    • Sexual intercourse.
    • A blockage of the urinary passage, like pressure caused by an enlargement of the uterus during pregnancy.
    • Wiping the vagina from back to front, more so if you have just emptied your bowels. Always wipe front to back, otherwise you risk getting stool into the vagina.
    • Having a catheter in place to help you empty your bladder.

    Do Pregnant Women Get More Urinary Tract Infections?

    Are pregnant women more likely to suffer from a urinary tract infection? This is a question that is debatable as there has been research suggesting that urinary tract infections in pregnancy are more common. On the other hand, anyone can suffer from the infection at any time – men included.

    The risk; therefore, may be higher when pregnant due to the fact that when pregnant the hormones change the urinary tract, leaving you open to infections. Along with this, as the unborn baby grows the uterus also grows, pressing against the bladder. If you have been pregnant before you will know that this can cause you to feel as though you want to empty the bladder more frequently, but it may also mean that you might not be able to empty the bladder completely. This leads to urine being left in the bladder where it becomes stagnant, resulting in infection in the kidney.

    How Do I Know If I Have A Urinary Tract Infection?

    If you have never had a urinary tract infection before and you only have a mild infection now, it may be difficult to distinguish whether or not you actually do have an infection. So, how can you tell and what are the main symptoms to look for?

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    • Finding that you need to pee more frequently than normal. Of course, as the baby grows you may find the need to pee more often as the baby presses down on the bladder. In this case, you should get advice because if it is an infection and you leave it, it will get worse and could cause complications.
    • Finding that you cannot pee correctly even though it feels you want to.
    • Feeling a sensation of burning when you pee.
    • Feeling a cramp in your lower back or your lower abdomen.
    • Your pee has taken on a cloudy appearance or it smells strange.

    In any of the above cases, you should seek medical advice and possibly have a urine test to find out if you have a urinary tract infection so you can get treatment.

    urinary tract infection
      image source: WebMD.com

      Do Urinary Tract Infections Cause Serious Health Problems?

      When you’re pregnant there is always the worry that an infection can cause problems for your unborn baby. A UTI in pregnancy is one infection that women may worry about.

      For the most part, your worries will be unfounded as a UTI in pregnancy will rarely cause serious health issues. That said, it should never be taken lightly since a urinary tract infection may lead to getting a kidney infection, which may be more serious. This may cause problems with the unborn baby and lead to a low birth weight or even preterm labor. In other words, your baby may be born early – often, well before the due date.

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      If I Think I Have A Urinary Tract Infection, What Should I Do?

      If you believe that you have a urinary tract infection and you are pregnant you should seek advice from your doctor and get it treated sooner rather than later. Your doctor will ask you for a urine sample and test it.

      This test is also generally made at your very first pre-natal visit to find out your chances of getting a UTI later on.

      How Are Urinary Tract Infections Treated?

      If the test reveals that you have a UTI your doctor will prescribe antibiotics. You shouldn’t worry about these hurting your unborn baby since they will be safe to take. You should take the full course and then you will have to give another urine sample to make sure that the antibiotics have treated the infection.

      How Can I Avoid Getting Urinary Tract Infections?

      There are several things that you can do to avoid getting a UTI in pregnancy, or indeed at any other time. They are as follows:

      • Make sure that you drink enough water. Around eight 8 ounce glasses of water per day.
      • Never hold onto your pee, go and pee when you feel the need.
      • Wipe front to back after you use the bathroom. This applies more if you have opened your bowels at the same time.
      • Make sure that you clean your genital region with only mild soap and water.
      • Cranberry juice is great for bringing down the levels of bacteria in the body. If you like this beverage, drink it more.
      • Try to avoid any feminine hygiene products because they may cause irritation.

      Featured photo credit: Flickr 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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