Pregnancy
24 weeks and 1 day pregnant

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 you’re legally obliged to inform your employer of the date you want to start your maternity leave.

At least 15 weeks before your due date, when you are 25 weeks pregnant, you must tell your employer when you want to start your maternity leave. You can stop work and start your leave any time from 29 weeks of pregnancy, but you can opt to work later into your pregnancy. If you work until the end, but take days off due to a pregnancy-related problem or illness in the last four weeks, your employers can insist you start your maternity leave. This only applies in the last four weeks; up until then, time off would be considered sick leave. If you have your baby earlier than your planned leaving date, maternity leave starts from the day your baby is born.

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 colour and become less obvious. They generally occur on the breasts, tummy, 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”.

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My midwife 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 intra-uterine growth restriction (IUGR). It can be due to a problem with the baby or the placenta, affecting the amount of oxygen and nutrients reaching the baby. Pre-eclampsia can cause IUGR, as can smoking, drinking alcohol, and taking recreational drugs.

You will get Statutory Maternity Pay if by week 25 you’ve worked for your company for 26 weeks.

This is paid at 90 per cent of your weekly earnings for the first six weeks of your maternity leave.

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