Pregnancy Timeline - What to expect while you’re expecting

Your body grows and changes throughout pregnancy—and your to-do list will do the same. While nine months gives you plenty of time to get ready for your baby’s arrival, it’s always helpful to know how to prepare.

We’ve mapped out a trimester-by-trimester guide for what to expect from your changing body AND what to check off your to-do list. This is all about taking care of yourself and getting prepped for the physical demands of delivery and breastfeeding:

First trimester

What to expect from your body

  • Heavier, fuller breasts, along with some soreness: Hello, hormones!
  • Fatigue: Because growing a baby is hard work.
  • Nausea and/or vomiting: You might feel yucky…unless you’re one of those lucky preggos.
  • Round ligament pain: As your uterus begins to expand, you may feel some aches and stretching in your lower belly.

Important to-dos

  • Sleep: Do this as much as possible during all three trimesters.
  • Eat healthfully (or whatever you can stomach): If even the sight of meat or veggies makes you feel sick, eat what you can, try to choke down your prenatal vitamin—and rest assured that your baby is getting all the nutrients it needs.
  • Daydream about the baby growing inside you: Especially if you haven’t shared the news yet, your pregnancy can feel pretty surreal. But there is a little baby in there, growing bigger and stronger each day.
  • Decide if you’ll breastfeed: You can really decide at any time, but it’s good to know whether you plan to breastfeed before you start registering. That way, you can add breastfeeding-friendly bottles, a nursing pillow, storage bags or other essentials to your list.

Second trimester

What to expect from your body

  • Growing boobs: You might need a new bra
  • A boost of energy: They call this the “honeymoon stage” of pregnancy, so live it up.
  • Baby kicks: What starts as flutters (is that gas?) turns into unmistakable thumps and kicks.
  • An expanding bump: Your belly looks more “pregnant” than “has she been eating too much pizza?” now. Bring on the maternity clothing!

Important to-dos

  • Get active: While you might not have felt up to it during the first trimester, regular exercise is good for you and for baby. Clear it with your doctor first, but low-impact workouts will help you stay healthy and happy—as well as give you extra strength, endurance, and resilience for labor, delivery and recovery.
  • Order an insurance-covered breast pump: Check with your insurance to find out when you can order your pump and which brands and models you can choose from (our team at Ashland Health can help with this to-do!). As a general rule, most insurance plans cover one double electric breast pump each pregnancy. We recommend getting started as early as possible so you can check that off your to do list.
  • Register for breastfeeding classes: If you’re interested in taking a class, sign up now to make sure you nab a date and location that works for you.

Third trimester

What to expect from your body

  • Leaking breasts: Don’t panic if you see a few drops on your bra or nightshirt—totally normal.
  • Heartburn and reflux: You might feel some digestive discomfort, especially as your baby grows.
  • Braxton-Hicks contractions: As your body starts to practice for the real deal, you may notice some belly tightening. (But if those contractions become regularly timed or painful though, call your doctor.)
  • Lots of baby movement: Holy cow, is there an alien in there? Is that an elbow?

Important to-dos

  • Stay hydrated: Water does a pregnant body good… and helps prevent early labor.
  • Prep meals: ‘Future, postpartum you’ will be very happy that ‘present you’ stashed some easy meals in the freezer.
  • Talk to your doctor about hospital lactation care: Ask about what kind of support you can expect post-delivery. A great time for this convo? Towards the end of your pregnancy when you and your OB review what to do when you think you’re in labor, your options for delivery, and other hospital details.
  • Look up breastfeeding support groups and lactation consultants: Those first days and weeks after you bring your baby home are pretty hectic, so having info on hand is super helpful if you need advice once the baby arrives.

Pregnancy (and motherhood) is so physical. Being able to anticipate how your body will change can give you an extra boost of confidence. Make sure you take care of your mind and body during this unbelievable time in your life. And if you need anything along the way, we are here for you.