How Rick knows Judith isn’t his baby on The Walking Dead

Photo Credit: Gene Page/AMC, The Walking Dead
Photo Credit: Gene Page/AMC, The Walking Dead /

In The Walking Dead’s 4th episode of Season 7, “Service”, Rick reveals to Michonne that he knows that Shane is Judith’s father. This big reveal shocked a lot of fans but was it really that big of a reveal?

Many fans have thought all along that Shane was Judith’s father. Since Maury Povich isn’t around to do a DNA test how can Rick be sure that Judith isn’t his baby? He knows because the timeline of the show makes it impossible for him to be Judith’s father.

It’s easy for fans to lose track of how much time has passed in The Walking Dead world because seasons of the show are 16 weeks long. But in The Walking Dead universe only a couple of years have passed. The first two seasons covered only a matter of weeks even though the audience saw it unfold over two years. Look at the timeline of the show and it’s clear there that Shane is Judith’s father:

The Outbreak

Rick was in a coma for about two weeks when the outbreak began. His coma lasted for about the first six weeks of the outbreak. During that time Shane got Lori and Carl out of their town and got them on the road to Atlanta. When traffic made it impossible for them to get close to the city they met Carol, Ed, and Sophia. From their position on the highway they saw the bombing of Atlanta and knew that they wouldn’t be able to make it to the city.

Presumably that’s when they grouped together with Dale, Glenn, Amy and Andrea, Jim, T Dog and the Morales family. Daryl and Merle came upon the group later. Looking for a safe place to make camp they headed up into the high country and found the quarry. The quarry area was high enough to give them a good view of the surrounding area. It had clean water and seemed to be out of the immediate outbreak zone so they set up camp and stayed there. The group was at the quarry camp for about 5-6 weeks before Glenn and the others went into Atlanta scavenging.

Rick Wakes Up

When Rick woke from his coma he found Morgan and Duane immediately. He was only with Duane and Morgan for a day before he took them to the Sheriff’s Department to look for clean clothes and weapons and to get a hot shower. Then he immediately set off for Atlanta. He made it to Atlanta and got stuck in the tank on the same day that he left Morgan and Duane.

Rick Finds Lori and Carl

When Rick meets Glenn and joins the group he’s only been out of his coma for two days. After he leads Glenn and the others back to the quarry camp Lori and Shane’s relationship is over because Rick is alive. The next day Rick, Glenn, Daryl and T Dog return to Atlanta searching for Merle. While they are gone walkers attack the camp and Ed and Amy are killed. Jim is bitten. The group decides the quarry is no longer safe and sets off for the CDC.


When they reach the CDC it’s only been 3 days since Rick and Lori were reunited. The group only spends one night at the CDC before Dr. Jenner shows them how the virus creates walkers and tells Rick that everyone is infected and will turn when they die even if they aren’t bitten. They escape before the CDC explodes and shortly after Sophia goes missing after the group was overrun by a herd trying to find their way through a traffic snarl.

The Farm

When Carl is shot as the group searches for Sophia only a week has elapsed since the group left the quarry camp. Shane and Rick get Carl to Hershel’s farm so Hershel can treat him for the gunshot wound caused by Otis. Shane and Otis go on a run for surgical equipment the same day while the rest of the group continues looking for Sophia led by Daryl.

While Shane and Otis are scouring the FEMA field hospital for the supplies that Hershel needs Maggie rides off on horseback to find Lori. She brings Lori back to the farmhouse after telling the rest of the group where to find the farm. They regroup on the highway. Glenn and T Dog head to the farm because T Dog needs antibiotics badly. Daryl, Dale, Carol and Andrea spend that night on the highway searching for Sophia and head to the farm the next day, which is only 8 days after they left the quarry camp.

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Lori Suspects She’s Pregnant

The same day that the others arrive at the farm Lori approaches Glenn privately and asks him to get her a pregnancy test when he goes with Maggie on a run. Hershel has managed to remove the bullet fragments from Carl but has used up a lot of the medication that Shane came back with. So Maggie takes Glenn with her to scavenge at a nearby pharmacy.

So less than 10 days after Rick finds Lori and Carl she already suspects that she is pregnant. Why does she think she is pregnant? It’s safe to assume that by this point she was already experiencing morning sickness which made her think she might be pregnant.

Usually the first sign of pregnancy is a missed period, but in times of unusual stress or if a woman is underweight or starving she may not get regular periods. So it’s not likely that a missed period was a cause for concern. After Glenn tells Dale that Lori is pregnant he notices that the smell of cooking meat makes her ill so it’s safe to assume she was having some morning sickness.

Morning sickness doesn’t occur until around the 6th week of pregnancy, and in some women it doesn’t occur until the 8th week of pregnancy. That means that Lori was at least six weeks pregnant when the group reached Hershel’s farm. Rick could not possibly be Judith’s father because Judith had to have been conceived at least six week prior. That means that Lori got pregnant around the time the group first set up the quarry camp and that means the father could only be Shane.

Rick Knew All Along

Rick must have known when Lori told him that she was pregnant that he couldn’t have been Judith’s father. That might explain some of his coldness to Lori after the group had to flee the farm. He may have been struggling to accept it because of how things ended up with Shane.

Were you hoping that maybe Rick was the father? Check out a detailed timeline here. Did you suspect Rick was Judith’s father all along?