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

40 Weeks

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


Week 21.

If you're 35 or older, have chronic high blood pressure or diabetes or are carrying multiples, you are at a higher risk of preeclampsia. It can occur this early, but usually doesn't set in until the third trimester.

What to do now:


  • Call your doctor immediately if you have signs of preeclampsia: swelling, especially in your face and hands; sudden weight gain; headache; nausea or vomiting; or vision changes.

Read more about being 21 weeks pregnant.


Week 22.

You may be developing hemorrhoids and constipation. Lucky you! At this point, the fetus weighs almost a pound.

What to do now:


  • Keep downing the fluids and fiber-rich foods, but talk to your doc before taking any laxatives or stool softeners.

Read more about being 22 weeks pregnant.


Week 23.

Your doctor may soon advise you to steer clear of long-distance travel—not because it is unsafe, but because she wants you close by in case you go into labor.

What to do now:


  • Craving a last baby-free getaway (aka a "babymoon")? Do it now.

Read more about being 23 weeks pregnant.


Week 24.

If you are 30 or older, have a family history of diabetes, are Hispanic or obese, you are at increased risk for gestational diabetes. It typically has no symptoms.

What to do now:


  • Schedule an appointment for your glucose screen, which checks for gestational diabetes; it is conducted between weeks 24 and 28.

Read more about being 24 weeks pregnant.


Week 25.

You may be afflicted with heartburn and leg cramps, especially at night.

What to do now:


  • Make friends with Tums. They won't harm your baby, and they work wonders on heartburn.
  • To help prevent cramps, stretch your legs, especially your calves, before going to bed. Also avoid standing or sitting in one position for too long.

Read more about being 25 weeks pregnant.


Week 26.

Your to-do list is getting longer while you're getting more tired. Your fetus begins to sleep for longer periods now, often when you do. Its eyes open and are beginning to blink.

What to do now:


  • Look into child care if you'll be returning to work. Day-care centers fill up fast, and nannies can be hard to come by.
  • Get into the nap habit. You'll need to master these 20-minute mini-snoozes once your baby arrives.
  • Start narrowing down your baby name list. But think twice about whether you want to share the possibilities with others.

Read more about being 26 weeks pregnant.


Week 27.

You may be distressed to see the numbers on the scale creep (OK, jump) up: From here on out, you'll probably be gaining about 1 pound a week. This still only translates to about 300 extra calories a day, though.

What to do now:


  • Focus on eating high-fiber foods, including fruits, vegetables and whole grains; they will help you feel full longer.

Read more about being 27 weeks pregnant.


Week 28.

Welcome to the third trimester! Braxton Hicks ("practice") contractions usually start about now. They feel like an intermittent tightening in your abdomen.

What to do now:


  • Familiarize yourself with the symptoms of true labor: contractions that occur at regular intervals and/or gradually become stronger and do not abate with movement; bleeding; intermittent back pain; increased or brown-tinged vaginal discharge; or passage of the mucus plug.
  • Ask your doctor about doing fetal kick counts, which help assess your baby's well-being.

Read more about being 28 weeks pregnant.


Week 29.

The basketball-sized lump in your belly may be inhibiting shoe tying, leg shaving and the like. The fetus is increasingly sensitive to light and sound.

What to do now:


  • Try to maximize room in your abdomen by standing and sitting as upright as possible.
  • Eat several small meals throughout the day to keep from loading up your belly.

Read more about being 29 weeks pregnant.


Week 30.

You might find yourself increasingly breathless as your growing uterus crowds your diaphragm. It should ease a bit when the baby drops lower in your pelvis later in pregnancy.

What to do now:


  • Unless told otherwise by your doctor, keep exercising to build stamina for labor. Turn down the intensity if you feel out of breath.
  • Alert your health insurer to your due date. Find out any requirements they may have about adding a baby to your policy.
  • Get life insurance and write a will with a guardianship agreement.

Read more about being 30 weeks pregnant.



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