Third Trimester 1stTrimester     2ndTrimester

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ultrasound of human fetus at 33 weeks and 3 days

Your baby today

At this stage it is simply no longer possible to see the whole baby on a scan. The ultrasound scan cannot not step far enough back to include the whole baby in a single view. Instead it is necessary to move the probe around, to examine one area at a time.

Most women want to wait as long as possible to start maternity leave, but you must make the decision that is right for you.

There is generally no risk in working up to the final month of your pregnancy. You may decide to work right up until you deliver, but by this week you are highly likely to find it increasingly tiring. If you are feeling exhausted and you think you might want to start your leave sooner, speak to your boss without delay. Hopefully, he or she will be understanding, but realize that if you start your maternity leave early, you may have to come back to work sooner (see Your Rights and Benefits). But if you are struggling to cope with the discomforts of late pregnancy, the decision to take sick leave during the last four weeks may be the right move for you. Talk to your doctor and your employer as soon as you make this decision.

Another desirable option is to work flex-time, so that you can travel to work at a less busy time and, if it's possible with your type of employment, work from home sometimes to cut out some of the commuting.

Ask A... Doctor

Will I have to give back my maternity pay if I decide not to return to work after the birth of my baby?

This is a little bit complicated, and it's a good idea to get some legal advice.

In a nutshell, if you do not want to return to work after your maternity leave, you must resign.

Bear in mind that every situation is different, and every company has a different set of rules and guidelines. You should let your company know of your decision as soon as possible. Make an appointment with your human resources representative to discuss your company's policies with you so you have plenty of time to think about your options. Also keep in mind that if your company let you take vacation or sick days that you haven't yet accrued as part of your leave, they may ask you to reimburse them for those days if you're not returning to work.

This happens quite often, and your boss may not be surprised to hear that you're not returning to work. And if you're not 100 percent certain about not returning to work, it may be a good idea to ask your employer about coming back to work on part-time basis or working from home one or two days a week, if that's feasible.

Pregnant woman having blood pressure taken

Your blood pressure will be monitored regularly at this stage because a high reading can be a sign of preeclampsia.

Focus On... Your health

Essential checks

Some of the regular tests you will have in the third trimester are designed to check for preeclampsia. A combination of high (or rising) blood pressure and protein in your urine can be an indication of preeclampsia; another sign of this condition is extreme swelling, particularly of the face and/or ankles.

excerpted from:

Excerpted from Pregnancy Day by Day.
Copyright © 2008 Dorling Kindersley Limited.
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