Pregnancy
21 weeks and 7 days pregnant

The vertebrae that make up your baby’s spinal column encircle and protect the spinal cord. The vertebrae are seen here on an ultrasound scan, forming a long chain (white areas) that narrows at the base of the spine and ends with a slight outward curve.

Maintaining a professional manner at work will set the standard for how colleagues treat you during pregnancy.

Chances are that everyone in your office will be aware that you are expecting a baby by this stage, even if you haven’t told them personally. Good news does have a habit of travelling fast, and you may have that pregnancy “glow” that makes your condition pretty clear – as well as a fairly prominent bump.

If word of your pregnancy is getting round the office, it might be best to tell your boss now. It’s only a couple of weeks until you have to tell him or her officially anyway, and it’s better and more professional if the news comes directly from you.

You may need to adapt your working day a little, but play it carefully. Try to keep up with your work, and act professionally. Your colleagues are, hopefully, thrilled that you’re pregnant, but try not to expect special favours or extra attention.

While being pregnant isn’t an illness, do take adequate breaks to recharge your batteries, or work flexible hours, if that’s on offer, so that you can avoid travelling at the busiest times.

Try to go for a short walk in your lunch hour for fresh air and to get some gentle exercise. Drink plenty of water to keep you hydrated and alert, and eat little and often to keep your energy levels high.

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Make sure people judge you on your work and not on the fact that you’re pregnant.

If you have any vaginal bleeding, always see your doctor or midwife. Growths on your cervix, or some inflammation, can produce light bleeding from time to time.

Heavy bleeding in the second trimester may suggest a problem with your placenta, such as placenta praevia. Similarly, the placenta may pull away from the wall of the uterus, causing some bleeding, or, very rarely, uterine rupture can occur, usually only in women who have had a Caesarean section in the past.

My manager said I can’t have time off to attend antenatal classes. What should I do?

You’re legally entitled to paid time off to attend antenatal appointments as required by a registered medical practitioner, midwife, or health visitor. You must show a certificate issued by one of the above professionals to confirm you are pregnant, together with proof of the appointment. Antenatal appointments also include childbirth preparation or relaxation classes.

If your employer is refusing to allow you time off, talk it through with him or her. If this doesn’t help, seek advice from your human resources department or another senior member of staff, or contact your trade union if you have one.

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