Pregnancy Week by Week

Get a window on what’s happening in your pregnancy, week by week. From week four to week 42, your baby is experiencing a miraculous transformation from a clump of cells to a fully formed (and totally cute) newborn. Just imagine, as early as five weeks, your baby is already starting to form major organs (heart, stomach, liver, and kidneys) and systems (digestive, circulatory, nervous). By eight weeks, your raspberry-sized womb-mate is moving her arms and legs. At the beginning of your second trimester (week 14), your wee one is sucking his thumb. By week 28, the first week of the third trimester, baby (now as big as an eggplant) is prepping for breathing, developing his eyesight and packing on pounds in anticipation of life outside the womb. Each week is a new miracle. Less miraculous is how a mom-to-be may feel. Pregnancy Week-by-Week charts your baby’s development but also lets mom know what she might be feeling during each week of her pregnancy. Pregnancy week by Week includes everything mom needs to know to feel a sense of control over her pregnancy. Each week offers a complete guide to what you might feel, your must-do’s, your nice-to do’s, and answers and advice on everything pregnancy-related. Plus each week’s guide offers tips on maintaining a healthy and comfortable pregnancy from strategies on coping with pregnancy symptoms (morning sickness anyone?) to ideas for healthy eating, and pointers on talking to your OB. Let us guide you along your pregnancy, week by week.

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you asked...

Q&A: FMLA info?

What's FMLA, and how can I get the most out of it?

Re: What's FMLA, and how can I get the most out of it?

The Bump Expert

The FMLA (aka the Family and Maternity Leave Act -- learn more at the U.S. Department of Labor) is the federal law that makes your maternity leave possible. (It also applies to other situations where you might need to leave work for a while to take care of yourself or a family member with a serious health problem.)

This law, which applies to you if your company has at least 50 employees in a 75-mile radius and you've been there at least a year, entitles you to 12 weeks off in a 12-month period. While this leave is unpaid, it secures your position for when you return, and ensures that you continue to be covered under your employer's health insurance plan and other benefits.

A few things you might not know about the FMLA:

You can spread it out
Your 12 weeks technically don't have to be taken all at once. If you have pregnancy complications, you might want to take some before baby arrives. The rest can be taken anytime over the 12-month period that you work out with your employer. Since there are a few different ways to define "12-month period," talk with your company about its specific policies.

You might have to use their vacation days
Some (but not all!) companies ask employees to use paid leave (such as vacation and sick days) that's already been accrued as part of those 12 weeks of maternity leave. Though you might not be happy about "losing" those days, but look on the bright side -- you'll get paid! In fact, the law allows you to elect to use the paid days towards your FMLA leave, even if your employers doesn't require it.

You might have to pay for health insurance
Your employer is required to maintain your health insurance benefits, but you might have to cover your premiums for the time that you're away.

Different states have different laws
The FMLA applies to all states, but most enforce their own family and medical leave laws in addition to the federal ones. Check the National Conference of State Legislatures for your state's specific requirements. Tennessee, for example, offers 16 weeks of leave for childbirth, while some states (California and New Jersey, for example) offer partial wage replacement. Your employer might have varying policies too, so definitely look into your options.

Erin Walters

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