40 Weeks of Pregnancy - A Week-by-Week Overview | Fit Pregnancy

40 Weeks

Our step-by-step timeline and checklist for navigating your pregnancy.


From the stressful (prenatal tests! gaining weight!) to the sheer fun (buying maternity clothes! your baby shower!), growing a baby involves a seemingly endless host of developments to expect, plan and accomplish. Our step-by-step timeline and checklist will help you navigate your pregnancy with as little stress and guesswork as possible. So grab your pencil, put your feet up and simply gestate!

Week 1.

You're actually not pregnant yet—the clock starts ticking from the first day of your last period. So even though pregnancies are said to be 40 weeks long, you only carry your baby for 38 weeks.

What to do now:

  • Start taking a daily prenatal vitamin with at least 400 micrograms of folic acid; this B vitamin has been shown to help prevent neural-tube defects, such as spina bifida.
  • Quit any unhealthy habits, such as smoking or drinking. There's no time like the present.

Read more about being 1 week pregnant.


Week 2.

Ovulation occurs. For the best chances of getting pregnant, have sex one to two days before your expected ovulation date.

What to do now:


  • Keep (or start) moving. Experts recommend that you exercise for at least 30 minutes on most, if not all, days throughout pregnancy.
  • Begin looking for an obstetrician or midwife ... just in case. Many will already be booked up.

Read more about being 2 weeks pregnant.


Week 3.

You may be pregnant but probably won't have any symptoms.

What to do now:


  • Don't take any medications—prescription or over-the-counter—without checking with your doctor. Particularly avoid all products containing vitamin A or its derivatives, such as Retin-A or Accutane. However, many conditions, such as asthma and diabetes, require ongoing treatment, so talk to your doctor before discontinuing any necessary medications.
  • Get a flu shot if you haven't already; they're safe.

Read more about being 3 weeks pregnant.


Week 4.

Positive test: You're pregnant! You may be starting to feel bloated, crampy, tired and moody, and experiencing sore breasts, nausea/vomiting and a frequent need to pee. But don't worry if you're not—that's normal.

What to do now:


  • Invest in an extra supportive bra, especially if your breasts are expanding. Many women grow a full cup size in the first few weeks.
  • Avoid chemicals and secondhand smoke. Ask your partner to take over the litterbox duties (cat feces may harbor parasites that cause toxoplasmosis, an infection that can harm the fetus) and to pump the gas in your car.

Read more about being 4 weeks pregnant.


Week 5.

Though the embryo is only about the size of a grain of sand, the heart is pumping blood, most other organs have begun to develop, and arm and leg buds appear. You may be starting to experience "pregnancy brain."

What to do now:


  • If it helps, make lists at work and at home to help your fuzzy brain function.
  • Make an appointment with your OB or midwife. Most caregivers want to see you for the first time between six and 10 weeks.

Read more about being 5 weeks pregnant.


Week 6.

Now that the pregnancy is feeling more real, you might be worrying about miscarriage.

What to do now:


  • Reassure yourself that aside from extreme behaviors, such as using drugs, there's nothing you can do to cause a miscarriage. Yet, some research links early pregnancy losses to consuming more than 300 milligrams of caffeine daily, so to be safe, limit your intake.
  • Think about when you want to tell family, friends and your boss you're pregnant. Some women wait until after the first trimester, when miscarriage risk drops.

Read more about being 6 weeks pregnant.


Week 7.

The embryo doubles in size but is still less than a half-inch long. As your pregnancy hormones increase, morning sickness may be worsening. Or, you may be ravenous 24/7.

What to do now:


  • If you're nauseated, try eating several small meals throughout the day, especially ones with ginger and citrus; avoid strong odors; and wear acupressure wristbands.
  • Try not to overdo it on the chow: Weight gain should be minimal in the first trimester. But don't feel guilty if you give in to an occasional craving.

Read more about being 7 weeks pregnant.


Week 8.

Your doctor may look or listen for the baby's heartbeat with an ultrasound. Once you see or hear it, your miscarriage risk drops to about 2 percent. He'll also give you an official due date—though very few women actually deliver on that day.

What to do now:


  • Though your due date sounds very far away, start reading up on baby care now. You won't have time after your newborn arrives.

Read more about being 8 weeks pregnant.


Week 9.

The pressure of your growing uterus on your bladder may cause you to leak small amounts of urine.

What to do now:


  • Start doing Kegels: Squeeze the muscles around your vagina as if you're stopping the flow of urine; do several at a time, a few times a day throughout pregnancy. They strengthen your pelvic-floor muscles, helping with incontinence while preparing your body for delivery.

Read more about being 9 weeks pregnant.


Week 10.

Your inch-long baby is now called a fetus. While the icky side effects of pregnancy may be starting to abate, your anxiety about having a healthy baby might be increasing.

What to do now:


  • If you will be 35 or older when you deliver, make an appointment to discuss genetic screening or diagnostic tests, such as chorionic villus sampling (CVS). They look for certain birth defects and are usually done between 10 and 12 weeks. Your doctor's office may provide counseling; if not, ask for a referral to a genetic counselor.

Read more about being 10 weeks pregnant.



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