Being pregnant is a wild ride so having a pregnancy timeline checklist only makes sense! It’s emotional, physical and just all-round consuming. A little miracle is blooming inside of you, and you are literally growing into a mother.
There are things that will surprise you about your own body. There are parts that will make you feel superhuman. There are parts that will make you question everything. There are moments where you legitimately think your heart will explode. I’ve never met a mama who would take a second of it back!
This 40-week pregnancy timeline checklist gives you an insight into the emotional side of preparing for your baby— and preparing to become the mama you want to be.
Okay. You booked the appointment. Now what?!
Congratulations, mama-to-be! You’re pregnant. Are you feeling ready for the next 9 months?!
You’ve probably booked the appointments, looked up a few things on Google, and you’ll get the tests on schedule. Basically, if pregnancy were just a condition— you’d have it all covered already.
But, you and I both know that being pregnant is waaaay more than just a condition! It’s the bridge between you as a solo being and you as a mama. It’s the relatively short runway between your new life and your old one. It’s the most exciting, scary, thrilling, nerve wracking time of your life, giving you ALL the butterflies (or wait, no, that’s just the nausea!).
So, yes. This is your time to prepare for pregnancy and birth. Definitely! But, it’s also your time to prepare for baby’s arrival, and for your new role of mother to a living, breathing human being!
Your providers will tell you exactly what to do when, medically. Your classes will prep you for baby caregiving 101. We’re here to help with just about everything else.
All the other stuff you haven’t thought about, all the questions you don’t even know you should be asking yet— we’re the mom-friend who’s already got 2 kids and is sitting with you ready to dish on what it’s really like to be pregnant, and what you should start thinking about when!
This 40-week pregnancy timeline checklist will help you prepare for all things pregnancy— from emotions, to nursery prep, to how post-baby marriage might feel.
We’ll cover the feeling of watching yourself physically and mentally change. The fear of wondering if you’ll do a good job. The pure love that reminds you that you’re already doing great. And the action steps you can start taking right now in order to raise a healthy, thriving baby later on.
PS: Worried you won’t remember all this? Wanna be able to come back to it later? Well, we’ve got you covered! We created a downloadable version of your pregnancy timeline checklist — a super quick reference guide — so you don’t have to memorize all of this here and now!
Fearfully & Wonderfully Made: The First Trimester
The roller coaster: I’m pregnant! Am I really pregnant? I’m super pregnant! Is this for real?!
Weeks 1 & 2
This goes one of two ways: you’re keenly aware that you’re just barely pregnant, or you’re totally clueless to the fact that the biggest blessing ever is forming inside of you!
If you know and you’re a planner like I think you are, weeks one and two are SO hard because you just kind of have to sit tight. This is a period of lots of waiting, wishing, dreaming, and hoping. Keep yourself busy and pass the time by going out on dates, laughing, and loving on each other. Full permission to start perusing adorable baby outfits on the internet, too!
You’re the next contestant! Come on down! It’s time to play ‘Is This Pregnancy?!’
Did you have a heavy day of lifting? Did you tweak something? Or are you boobs just sore, swollen and tingly because you’re pregnant?
Did you eat some bad chicken, or are you nauseous and sweaty because you’re pregnant?
(Spoiler: It’s pretty much always pregnancy!)
Okay, you have officially missed a period! Time to either freak out or celebrate (or likely do a bit of both!).
Do you keep it to yourself, or go to CVS and buy like 10 pregnancy tests and pee on all of them just to be sure? Do you call your husband right away or plan something super cute? Leave a comment below and let me know if you went all-out and told your hubs in a cute way!
Around week 5, expect to be elated but also seriously wondering if you’re cut out for this mom gig. What about sleep? What about feeding? What do I do with a baby all day?!?! Am I really ready??
First, hear me say this: It is totally normal to have a freak out like this. There are SO many books you can read and courses you can take to prepare yourself, but first and most importantly, take 5 deep, belly breaths and repeat this mantra: “I am the perfect mama for my baby.”
Pro tip: Tattoo this on your forehead so you can revisit it daily for the next 18 years.
Hopefully by week 6, the freak out dust has settled and you can start to feel the joy and excitement sneak in. If you’re just bursting with feels and bubbling over with joy and don’t know what to do with yourself, break out your baby book— and your partner’s, too! Start piecing together what your little miracle might look like. Man, you were a cute baby!
Week 7 is when the impulse buys start. You buy your first pair of baby booties because you saw them in the store window and they literally spoke to you. They’re just so soft and tiny and you imagine your baby’s tiny toes wiggling in them. You could not be expected to resist.
Time for food Roulette! You might start craving certain things, or have a complete, sudden-onset aversion to things you used to love. Don’t be worried if the only thing that sounds good is a bagel and cream cheese. Don’t waste time trying to convince yourself that saltines for breakfast is totally acceptable. (It is!) I randomly made a tuna noodle casserole from childhood and totally freaked my husband out.
But also, not a bad idea to start researching prenatal nutrition. I recommend checking out the Prenatal Nutrition Library. (Can you really not eat soft cheeses and deli meat?! Say it isn’t so!)
Time to hear that tiny, thumping, racing heartbeat. It’s the sweetest sound. It makes time stand still and speed up all at once. I promise it will make your heart grow three sizes. It’ll also prove to you once and for all that it’s not gas, not a food baby— nope! There’s a real-life baby in there. Things just got real, mama!
File week 10 under desperately wanting to shout from the rooftops that YOU’RE PREGNANT and not being sure you can hold on for two more weeks!!!!!
(Also, honourable mention to your mom who miraculously hasn’t spilled the beans yet!)
At week 11, your superpower emerges: you now have a heightened sense of smell! Great for things like sniffing out a bakery from miles away. Less great for things like walking within a 10-foot radius of a garbage can. At the very least, think of it as a reminder that you are, in fact, pregnant— as surreal as it may feel!
YOU CAN FINALLY TELL PEOPLE! You try to take a belly pic for your announcement, but you’re not really showing yet (most likely!). So you push that belly out as far you can for the ‘gram.
At week 13, you’re only a few weeks away from learning the gender of your baby, so you start researching gender reveal parties. You’re not sure if you want to risk lighting something on fire or blowing something up, though…maybe just a colored cake filling or balloons out of a box will do!
The Second Trimester Glow-Up
The glow! You feel great, tell everyone, and you’ve never wanted a big, round belly more.
Boy? Girl? You’re probably dying to know! So have a little fun with it— try out all the old gender reveal myths and read the old wives’ tales. It can’t hurt, right?
If you’re craving sweets, it’s gotta be a girl. If you sleep on the left side, it’s a boy. Are your hands dry right now? Then go stock up on all things blue! Craving a lot of citrus? She’s a she!
Another thing: Even though your maternity photos won’t happen until you’re between 28 and 36 weeks along, get ahead of the game and schedule maternity photos with your favorite photographer now, so they don’t get booked up!
At or before week 15, do yourself a solid and go by your first pair of maternity jeans!! BEST. THING. EVER. You’ll be wondering what took you so long!
I may or may not have worn them for too long after birth as well. From now until at least the end of the fourth trimester (or longer!), elastic is your very best friend.
Finding out the gender is officially on the table. Choose to find out or don’t— it’s actually very fun to be surprised! (I was surprised three times over!)
If you really have your heart set on a boy or girl, know that gender disappointment can be a very real thing and that a lot of parents experience it. Know that, whoever you’re carrying, they’re yours and they’re perfect. Also know that feeling this way doesn’t make you a bad parent-to-be. It’s totally normal. Your mind will adjust, and you’ll feel excited about it eventually.
You might start to feel really large and bloated, but also like you should be showing more…leaving you feeling like you look more like you had a really big burrito for lunch than you do a soon-to-be mama. It’s strange— you’ve never wanted a big, round belly so much in your entire life.
Butterflies and butterfly kicks! You may feel little flutters of your baby moving for the very first time! It’s the sweetest and so memorable.
Some say it just feels like gas, some say it feels a little freaky the first time! Try to let it happen, let the feelings come up for you, and to not judge how you feel about it. (A good rule of thumb for pretty much all of motherhood!)
You’ve officially got the pregnancy glow! You feel a little bit like Superwoman— growing a human and like it ain’t no thang, with extra shiny thick hair and super-strong strong nails like you just walked out of a salon.
You might also be gaining back more of your energy. If you’re feeling well and up to it, it’s great to keep working out and moving your body. Exercise isn’t just safe, it’s now officially recommended throughout all three trimesters. Just be safe, listen to your body and modify certain moves, of course!
Not quite sure how to workout with a growing belly? Check out these amazing pregnancy and postpartum workout guides. Use code MOMMYACADEMY10 for $10 off!
Oh, the nursery! It’s time to start planning and decorating the nursery. Start by reading through these Nursery Prep & Nesting FAQs so you can prep like a pro!
What’s baby up to these days? Can she hear my voice? Is there anything I can be doing to connect and enhance her development while she’s in the womb?
Yes, mama! Bonus points for being on the ball and thinking about things like this. The clearest thing your baby can hear right now is your voice— and that isn’t just for fun! Some experts believe infants start developing language skills in utero.
Some people recommend trying to proactively boost your baby’s IQ by playing classical music for them in the womb. Personally, I tried it and it put me right to sleep!
Let’s talk about birth, baby!
It’s time to start thinking about birth. Well, okay, let’s be honest. You’ve been thinking about it for at least 22 weeks by now. But now, it’s time to start planning for birth!
Birth can be scary and overwhelming for a lot of women, but the more you know and the more prepared you are, the better. Develop a birth plan so you and your partner know what you want. Also, have an idea of what may happen if things don’t go as planned. Just try to stay mentally flexible about it.
I know it’s a big deal and it matters a lot— but remember that at the end of the day, as long as you and your baby are happy and healthy afterwards, the rest is just details.
Two words for you: Belly. Butter! (Or belly oil!)
Keeping the skin on your belly nice and supple is the best way to prevent stretch marks and to minimise the itchiness that comes with being pregnant. (Fun fact: if you didn’t already know, pregnancy can make you itchy!)
If your dreams go from peaceful reveries to Alice-In-Wonderland-style hallucinations, you’re right on track! A fun side effect of pregnancy at this stage is REALLY vivid dreams thanks to the extra hormone production.
That is…when you can sleep! Because pregnancy insomnia can be another fun side effect. Try to keep a book beside your bed to pass the late-night hours, or a notepad where you can jot down the insomnia-inducing thoughts ping-ponging around in your head at 3am!
At week 25 you have our full permission to go down the rabbit hole that is baby gear on the internet. We recommend keeping it as minimal as you can to save your sanity and your wallet— but minimal buying tends to start with maximal research, so go wild!
Pro tip: Change two babies with one diaper by passing those late-night insomnia hours with baby gear research!
Real talk: babies can have a huge impact on marriages, for better and for worse. They add A LOT of extra love and joy, but can also add a lot of exhaustion, tension and stress. Even if you’re super in love, being bone-tired for months on end and feeling so vulnerable about your new, high-stakes roles just means you may not be operating at your collective best.
It’s not a deal-breaker, not something you have to panic about. But it is something to be prepared for. Now is the time to sit down with your partner and talk about your roles, responsibilities, overall parenting styles and goals— and to brainstorm ways you can each take care of yourselves and each other once the baby arrives. You’ll be so glad you did this when you’re in the thick of it and you’re on the same page. I so wish I would have done this!
The Third Trimester: The Longest and Shortest Weeks Of Your Life
Holy shirtballs! T-minus 13 weeks until someone calls you mom. It’s getting real up in here.
Pregnancy pillow: ADD TO CART! You used to love snuggling up in your partner’s armpit nook, but lately they’re starting to look more like a boney human-furnace to you than they do a comfy place to sleep. It’s time for a pregnancy pillow! It’ll help you find just the right position for optimal, comfy sleep. Plus, it doesn’t sweat, snore, or complain. Trust me, it will be your new best friend!.
Grab the girls, send in the squad, mobilize the mother-in-law. It’s shower time, baby! Yep, you heard that right. You can officially put all of your baby shower Pins into action.
Not a big planner? Unsure of where to start? This Ultimate Baby Shower Checklist will give you an unshaven leg up.
Remember back in the second trimester when you wished that belly was bigger? Welp, that wish has come true! You are officially, noticeably pregnant. Not a minute goes by where you are unaware of your baby baby bump.
You might feel a bit uncomfortable, physically or emotionally — some women find it particularly hard to accept their changing bodies — and that’s okay. If you’re struggling, now might be the perfect time to start a daily gratitude practice. It can really help you to start to cherish all that your body has done for you so far— no matter what size it is!
Also, invest in a belly band! It’s like a sports bra for your belly and the support feels so good.
I know this is so cliche (and that we’re still in the aftermath of 2020), but if you can, go to the movies! Spend time with your partner and go on dates. Do whatever the heck you want together simply because you can. (If you have other kids at home, get a sitter!)
Less than 10 weeks until baby arrives! If you haven’t taken a baby moon yet, now’s the time. You’re out of the morning sickness woods, but you can still fit into restaurant booths and walk for more than 60 seconds at a time before taking a break!
To do it well, take What To Expect’s advice by planning low-stress travel, making time to unwind, and avoiding anywhere that’s too far from solid medical help— just in case.
Now’s the perfect time to take those maternity photos, but you could really do it any time between 28 and 36 weeks. During this phase, you have a nice round bump, but you’re not so far along that you’re feeling uncomfortable. And, you’re not so close to your due date that you risk going into labor early and missing your chance!
When you go, bring a few different outfits. It’s always good to have something nice and form-fitting to show off that beautiful bump. It can also be fun to have something long and flowy — maybe even something that opens in the middle to show your bare bump— so you can get some dreamy, romantic photos with a beautiful silhouette.
If you want lots of bare belly pics, bring a crop top and long flowy skirt. Also, bring any personal items with you that might be fun to include like baby booties, a chalkboard to write on, or a baby blanket.
Pro Tip: Sometimes photographers have these flowy gowns available to borrow, so be sure to ask before your buy if that’s something you’d like to try.
This is the perfect time to take a breastfeeding class, because here’s the thing: for many, many moms, breastfeeding is hard. It’s such a natural thing, but it doesn’t always come naturally. Being prepared for the reality of breastfeeding and knowing the how of it all — instead of hoping some breastfeeding spidey sense kicks in — is the best way to be!
We recommend taking this free Milk Supply class.
Okay, by this point, you’re basically a pro at being pregnant. You’re pretty darn prepared— and I’m so proud of you for that! But as it always goes… you only start to feel like “I got this” right before it ends.
It’s time to start thinking about baby’s first year of life— and your first year of motherhood!
Who is your little love going to be? What do you need to know to be the mom you want to be? How can you raise a baby that’s happy, healthy, thriving? Beyond feedings and changings, what will you and your baby do all day every day?
We designed our baby prep course to get you all the answers you need, straight from the mouths of experts in sleep, speech, play, early literacy, and physical development, in just 5 hours. It’ll help you ditch the overwhelm, skip the googling, and go straight to confident, enjoyable, happy motherhood vibes.
You’re in the home stretch now, mama! Time to start preparing for bringing baby home. At week 25, go ahead and install the car seat! Ain’t nobody leaving the hospital without a car seat installed— and you don’t want to be rushed the first time you put in that “easy-to-use” piece of equipment. Take some time to do this properly. The owner’s manual is your friend! Check out Safe Beginnings for more baby safety tips. Highly recommend taking a CPR course – use code MOMMYACADEMY20 for 20% off,
3-tiered nursing/pumping/diapering cart. We’re just gonna leave that there…
Aren’t you just itching to meet baby? It’s like Christmas Eve for the next 3-5 weeks!! Wondering what you can do to be proactive, not go crazy, and set yourself up for newborn phase success? Well, we have just the thing!
Start prepping some freezer meals! When you’re not sure what time of day it is, you’re up to your eyes in cuddles (and diapers), and your house is basically a nudist colony because WHO has the time or energy to keep putting on shirts and then taking them off… you’ll be so glad you have a hot (once you throw it in the microwave), home-made meal ready and waiting for you.
Baby is growing BIG! Your belly is stretching and growing in ways you never thought possible. You might be feeling equal parts goddess and large land mammal but trust me — you look 100% beautiful! You’re making it work!
Your belly is also superfreakingitchy at this point! Just when you thought you couldn’t get any bigger, you can actually feel your skin stretching.
For the record, you also have my full permission to tell strangers who make comments about your bump to buzz off! No one should comment on pregnant women’s bodies— actually comment on women’s bodies, period.
At this point you feel like you have a monkey doing gymnastics inside of a balloon inside of your belly. Yes, it’s as bizarre and wonderful and it sounds.
It’s like… if you know, you know. And until you know, you won’t know. (But once you know, let me know!)
Fun fact: Most babies are not born on their DUE date. Yup, it’s true! Most babies are born between 38-42 weeks, and there’s only a 4-5% chance that your baby will be born on their actual due date. So, if all the things on this list are a little off, try not to stress!
Probably a good idea to mentally prepare for the fact that your baby will very likely not arrive on your due date and could even be up to a few weeks late. You may be uncomfortable, impatient, excited, and done with being pregnant— but it’s all totally normal. The waiting is hard, especially at the end, but the more you feel prepared for this, the better.
It’s go time!
Okay mama, that’s your 40-week pregnancy timeline done and wrapped! You’ve kinda gotta take it from here— at least for the birth part. But don’t worry, in no way does that mean you’re alone.
As you venture into motherhood, don’t be shy to lean on your friends, your mom, your partner, your baby group, your doctor, and on us! We’re your mom friends and we’re also the experts sharing research-backed information so you can actually set your mind at ease.
We’ve got some fantastic resources to help you as you keep learning, research, preparing, and planning. And as you navigate the rollercoaster that is becoming a mom and trying your darndest to raise a kind, happy, healthy, loving, secure, strong, beautiful, perfect baby.
Like we said, there’s no test on this stuff! It’s all open-book. Grab this free, PDF-version of our pregnancy timeline checklist so you can keep coming back to it as you move through the next 40 weeks.
[BUTTON: Download The Pregnancy Checklist]
More Preparing For Baby Resources
I knew we were kindred spirits! I’m a learn-all-the-things person, too. If you’re just devouring baby and pregnancy content right now, here’s where you should go next: