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24 WEEKS, 1 DAY

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ultrasound of human fetus at 24 weeks and 1 day

Your baby today

From this week, brown fat is laid down in your baby's neck, chest, and back to be used after birth to produce heat and energy. At the moment he has no control over his temperature, which is efficiently maintained at a perfect level by the placenta.

This week, think about starting discussions with your employer about your upcoming maternity leave.

Since you're more than halfway through your pregnancy by now and are likely showing, you've probably already told your boss that you're pregnant. But just informing your company isn't enough-you need to know all the details that pertain to your upcoming maternity leave and what will happen if you decide to stop working before the baby is born. Every company has different guidelines; some include paid maternity leave while others do not. Talk with a human resources representative to discuss your company's policies on maternity leave and time off. If paid time off isn't available, your company may allow you to use paid vacation days or sick leave, and you may be eligible for FMLA leave.

Ask A... Doctor

My doctor measured me and said I seem small for dates. What does this mean?

It means your baby appears to be small for your stage of pregnancy, but it doesn't necessarily mean there's a problem. You'll be given a scan for an accurate measurement and so that your baby's development can be thoroughly checked.

Sometimes slow growth is due to a condition called intrauterine growth restriction or retardation (IUGR). It can be due to a problem with the placenta, multiple babies, or heart disease in the mother, affecting the nutrients reaching the baby. Preeclampsia can cause IUGR, as can smoking, alcohol, and recreational drugs.

Focus On... Your body

Stretchy skin

You may have developed stretch marks due to your skin stretching rapidly as you gain pregnancy weight. Initially, these marks are pinky/red and can be itchy. After pregnancy, stretch marks fade to a lighter, silvery color and become less obvious. They generally occur on the breasts, belly, hips, and thighs, and affect the majority of pregnant women.

Stretch marks can be genetic and are more likely to occur the older you are because older skin is less elastic. Moisturizing the skin won't prevent stretch marks but it may help to keep it smooth. A combination of exercising and eating healthily can minimize the rate at which you gain weight and "stretch."

As A Matter Of Fact

You may be eligible for Family and Medical Leave Act leave.

You must have worked for an employer for at least 12 months (1,250 hours in the past 12 months), and within 75 miles of 50 or more company employees.

excerpted from:

Excerpted from Pregnancy Day by Day.
Copyright ©2009 Dorling Kindersley Limited.
Buy this book now!

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