This post was written by Brenda from Paper Heart Family. Brenda is a working mom of two little girls who constantly feels torn between spending time with her kids and wanting to wander the aisles of Hobby Lobby alone.
Although the first trimester is actually all about survival, there are some items that you should put on your first-trimester to-do list.
But first, congratulations! What emotions are you feeling? Excited? Scared? Nervous? Worried? Nauseous? ALL THE FEELINGS?!
This is definitely one of the most exciting, emotion-filled times of your life. You have created a brand new life. It’s crazy, right?
You’re probably still in shock. It doesn’t really feel real until your pregnancy starts showing, but then again your symptoms are a constant reminder that there are major changes going on inside your body.
Let’s make sure that you are prepared for whatever the first trimester is going to throw your way with this first-trimester to-do list.
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Start Taking A Prenatal Vitamin
Ideally, you would have already been taking a prenatal vitamin before conceiving. If not, just start taking one as soon as possible.
Related: How to Survive the First Trimester
Prenatal vitamins are specifically formulated to contain essential vitamins and minerals. Make sure that your prenatal contains plenty of folic acid (which helps prevent neural tube birth defects) and calcium (baby will use up many of your calcium stores for his own growth).
Also, consider taking a gummy vitamin (like these ones!) Many moms experience increased nausea from prenatal vitamins in pill form.
Know What Your Health Insurance Covers
While it’s impossible to know ahead of time what your exact expenses due to labor, delivery and your hospital stay will be, it is helpful to know what your insurance will cover. Then you will be able to budget for potential costs.
Related: Free Baby Stuff
Find A Healthcare Provider And Make Your First Prenatal Appointment
Choosing an OBGYN or midwife is an important task. You want to feel comfortable with the provider that you choose. You also want to trust in this person.
If your gynecologist does not deliver babies, start by speaking with friends or family who have young children to see if they have any recommendations.
Then you can call to make your first appointment, just realize that they likely won’t schedule it right away. Most providers will schedule your first visit for around 6 weeks.
Check Your Medications
Since you are not going to be meeting with your doctor for another few weeks, you might want to check with your pharmacist to make sure your prescribed medications are safe for pregnancy.
You will also want to avoid using most over-the-counter pain relievers (acetaminophen is considered the safest), especially during the first trimester.
Pregnancy nutrition is something you definitely want to pay attention during your first trimester, and there’s a few things that go into that.
Know What Foods To Avoid
There are some foods and drinks that you really should avoid during early pregnancy because they can be harmful to your baby.
- Fish high in mercury- shark, swordfish, mackerel, and albacore tuna (low mercury fish in moderation, such as shrimp, salmon, canned light tuna and Pollock is actually extremely healthy during pregnancy)
- Raw or undercooked meat, fish and shellfish – Yep, that means limit your sushi consumption to California rolls for the next few months.
- Hot dogs and deli meat
- Raw eggs (think hollandaise sauce, cake icing, and cookie dough)
- Raw sprouts
- Unwashed produce
Establish Some Healthy Habits
This is probably the best time in your life to change some of your unhealthy habits. For the first time in your life, what you put into your body isn’t ONLY affecting you.
Whenever I was tempted to eat something super unhealthy during pregnancy, I simply envisioned my baby eating it.
- Stop drinking and/or smoking
- Cut down your caffeine consumption (to no more than one cup of coffee a day)
- Increase your water intake to about 80 ounces of water daily. Getting into the habit of drinking more now can help you avoid swelling and fluid retention later on in pregnancy. It can also help you to avoid preterm labor, which can be caused by dehydration.
- Stock up on healthy foods and ditch the junk food. Think about what you’re going to be feeding your baby once he starts solids. I’m guessing you’ll likely start with some wholesome vegetables and fruits. But then realize, whatever you’re eating now during pregnancy (and later if you plan to breastfeed) can affect your baby’s health in many different ways.
Pro tip- If you’re having trouble drinking water because it makes you more nauseous, try sucking on ice throughout the day and consuming soups and fruits high in water, like watermelon.
Try to work these pregnancy superfoods (source) into your diet as much as possible:
- Beans and legumes
- Lean beef
- Sweet potato
- Whole grains
Be active- Try to fit in some kind of physical activity each day, whether it be some prenatal exercise or yoga, or a simple brisk walk.
Related: The Best Pregnancy Workouts
Besides the typical benefits of exercise, exercise during pregnancy can help reduce your risk of having gestational diabetes and may even improve your ability to cope with labor.
Find Some Morning Sickness Relief
Morning sickness is the WORST thing about the first trimester. It can occur at any time of the day (and if you’re unlucky ALL day).
While every person is different, these are some tips that might help you beat the sickness:
- Keep crackers next to your bed. Before getting out of bed in the morning, eat a couple of crackers.
- Eat small, frequent meals.
- Chew gum.
- Try Preggy Pop Drops – I used these for both of my pregnancies and they did help temporarily.
- Drink tea- There are teas out there that you could try that claim to ease morning sickness. However, the tea that I drank throughout my second pregnancy was Yogi Mother-To-Be Tea. It does not claim to help with morning sickness, however, it definitely did for me. Unfortunately, it took me a while to realize that I wasn’t nauseous in the morning because of the tea! Once I realized that the tea was preventing my nausea up until lunchtime, I drank it at each meal. As long as I didn’t forget to drink it, I wasn’t nauseous.
Decide When And How You Will Announce Your Pregnancy
Deciding when to announce your pregnancy is completely up to you. Some moms (myself included) wait until the first trimester is over due to a higher risk of miscarriage.
What absolutely sucks about this is that you are going to be going through feeling like death all alone (I mean your partner will know, but if your partner’s anything like mine, that won’t mean much). Also, if something (God forbid) did happen to your baby, you and your partner would be going through that alone too.
There is no right or wrong answer when it comes to when to announce. Just do what’s right for you.
You will also need to decide how to make a memorable announcement, which can be done with one of these pregnancy announcement quote, video or photo ideas.
Familiarize Yourself With Early Pregnancy Screenings
There was a point toward the end of my first trimester when I was asked about being screened for specific chromosomal abnormalities.
I felt kind of caught off guard, put on the spot and unprepared. I hadn’t really given much thought to whether or not I wanted the testing.
It’s a good idea to speak with your doctor at an appointment earlier in the first trimester to learn more about this screening so that you can make an informed decision.
Learn The Signs Of A Problem
There are a few things that definitely merit a call to your doctor to make sure that the health of you and your baby is okay (source) :
- Heavy vaginal bleeding (light spotting is normal)
- Dehydration due to excessive vomiting
- Fever above 101 degrees which could indicate an infection
- A urinary tract infection
Join Your Birth Club On BabyCenter
Okay, now that we have the more serious stuff out of the way, let’s talk about some FUN things that you can add to your first-trimester to-do list.
BabyCenter’s birth club is a fun way to connect with other moms who are at the same point in their pregnancy. You can ask questions, exchange ideas, and encourage each other through your pregnancies. At the same time, BabyCenter can be a complete time suck, so try not to spend too much time there.
Start Documenting Your Pregnancy
Your pregnancy is going to pass so very quickly (I know it doesn’t seem like it now, but it’s true). If you don’t document your pregnancy now, I guarantee you will wish you did.
There are many ways that you can document your pregnancy. One of my favorite ways is by using my free printable Pregnancy Trimester Journal. It helps you to write down your accomplishments, cravings, thoughts, symptoms, and anything that you don’t want to forget about your pregnancy.
Another fun way to document your pregnancy is by taking weekly bump photos (which you should be starting now!). You could even compile all of them into a stop motion video after you give birth.
Take A Before Photo
You don’t need to wait until you’re showing in order to start documenting your baby bump. You can absolutely start now by taking a before photo.
Rest As Much As Possible
Before becoming pregnant, you might have expected that the extreme fatigue wouldn’t hit until the third trimester. Surprise! First-trimester fatigue is even worse than the fatigue that you’ll experience at the end of your pregnancy.
Your body is working hard right now to make accommodations for your baby, so listen to your body and sleep whenever your body demands it.
Get (Or Accept) Help
If you’ve always been the one to do everything (guilty), it’s time to start asking for and accepting help.
This might also be a good time to talk to your partner about what’s going on with your body, how you are exhausted more than you ever thought possible, and how you need more help with the household responsibilities. Believe me, this is just the beginning of learning to let go and have other people do things.
Download A Pregnancy Tracking App
Keeping track of your baby’s size and stats each week is so much fun (because learning that baby is the size of an orange is surprisingly super interesting). There are so many apps to choose from, you might want to try a couple out to see what you like best.
Enjoy Your Pregnancy
While the first trimester might not be the best time to tell you this (because there’s quite frankly not much about it that IS enjoyable), I’m going to say it anyway. TRY to enjoy your pregnancy. Nine months is a very short period of time, and the flutters and kicks that you’ll soon be feeling are going to last for even less time.
I think this quote says it best: “The changes in your body will last for just nine months, but the beauty of motherhood will embrace you for the rest of your life”.
I hope this post helped you create a first-trimester to-do list!