What's the best pregnancy calendar?

Most of the “hidden dangers” you read about during pregnancy are as likely as this. |  THE METROPOLITAN MUSEUM OF ART

Most of the “hidden dangers” you read about during pregnancy are as likely as this. | THE METROPOLITAN MUSEUM OF ART

Lots of well-intentioned pregnancy advice encourages poor math skills.

For example most pregnancy calendars will tell you that, at the moment of conception, a woman is two or three weeks' pregnant. By the time she has a positive pregnancy test, she's about four weeks' pregnant. Amy Morrison of Pregnant Chicken acknowledges this problem with Week 1 of her pregnancy calendar: "It’s like me saying I cleaned the house before I’ve even put down the bag of chips and got off the couch – the idea is there but nothing has happened yet."

Why the messy math here? The moment of conception can be difficult to determine depending on whether and how vigorously a woman is attempting to get pregnant. Menstruation is much easier to identify, so a woman's pregnancy calendar starts with the first day of her last menstrual period. Even then, there is a huge amount of guesswork involved, which is why only 4% of women give birth on their due date.

If you’d asked me last week, I would have told you that Morrison’s calendar, which calls out the weird fact-bending around pregnancy, is the best one out there. It’s also, at a time when pregnancy is made to sound scarier than ever, just funny. Knowing that a fetus is the size of a lime just isn’t that exciting. Knowing that it looks like a “chicken nugget with legs,” however, is awesome, which is why Morrison’s calendar is a good resource for a short overview of each week with practical advice and just the right amount of snark.

Along the way, your fetus will be a cupcake (Week 14), grenade (Week 16), iPhone (Week 17), and $17,000 worth of gold (Week 20). In Week 24 it will have transformed into a foot-long sub ("Oh and speaking of subs, don’t be surprised if you try to eat one and someone pops out from behind a plant and tells you it’s dangerous”), before finally being the “size of a baby” in Week 38.

Go to Pregnant Chicken for the food size comparisons, but stay for practical, reasonable advice like this: “if you go about your business and lead a healthy, reasonable life then there’s no reason you won’t have a perfectly healthy baby."

Why would I have told you this last week, but not this week? Because there’s a tie at the top.

Snackdinner now has its own pregnancy calendar. My calendar won’t give you food comparisons, or updates on each stage of pregnancy, because you’ve probably already signed up for calendars that do these things. It focuses less on preparing your body and house for a baby, and more on preparing your mind for a baby. It teaches you the research skills you need to be a better, calmer, happier, and ultimately more fulfilled parent.

You can check out the calendar here, or jump right in to Weeks 1-4.