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Finding out you are pregnant (especially if it’s your first time) can be overwhelming. The best thing to do is to take a deep breath and start to prepare yourself for your bundle of joy.
Your first trimester usually starts on the first day of your last period and would last for the first 13 weeks of your pregnancy.
Here’s your first-trimester checklist of what you need to know about your first trimester and how to keep healthy during this time:
First Trimester Checklist
Good quality prenatal vitamins
When you are pregnant, the best thing you can do is make sure you are taking in nutrient-rich foods in your diet but sometimes, morning sickness can make this difficult This is where prenatal vitamins come in.
Get prenatals that contain folate (which is an essential nutrient to have during pregnancy) or consult your doctor on the best type of vitamins for you.
For my first pregnancy, I took these prenatal vitamins and they were great.
For my second pregnancy my morning sickness was much worse (#babygirlproblems) and I couldn’t swallow pills so I opted for gummy prenatals. These ones are highly rated and super tasty!
Choosing your care provider/doctor
It is essential to choose a doctor/ midwife or care provider that you feel comfortable with and that match your expectations, ideals, wishes during your whole pregnancy and even through postpartum.
You can then set up a consultation with them and make a prenatal appointment where you can get a pap, urine test, and they can even look for a heartbeat. This appointment usually happens around the 8-week mark.
I recommend asking for an OB/GYN referral from friends or family. However, if you aren’t ready to announce your new bundle of joy you can get tons of recommendations from local mom Facebook groups. That is how I found my OB for baby #2!
Call your insurance and check if the doctor or provider is covered by them. You can also ask about your coverage for prenatal visits and the different kinds of testings/check-ups/ ultrasounds.
This is an option you have but you don’t need to have this done. This involves doing tests that can determine the health risks and problems that your baby may have but not diagnose a specific abnormality.
You can do your research and also talk to your health provider if these testings can benefit/ will suit you.
I was in my twenties for both of my pregnancies and my risk was low so I didn’t end up doing these tests (most insurance won’t cover them).
Pregnancy issues to watch out for
Although your body will go through a lot of changes that are just normal in any pregnancy, there are also some problems you need to watch out for that can turn into a serious issue like excessive bleeding, severe nausea and dehydration, and excessive cramping.
Trust your instincts and if you feel like something is not right, it is best to call your doctor so that the issue will be addressed immediately.
This is something that most mothers can relate to and it is definitely no joke! Most women feel better by the end of the first trimester, but for a few unlucky ones, like me, (approximately 10%) morning sickness and nausea can last past 20 weeks.
But don’t worry, there are some things you can do to manage the symptoms of morning sickness:
- Sea bands – a lot of women love these acupressure wristbands that have been proven to relieve morning sickness.
- Preggie pop drops – these little lozenges can be lifesavers that have been made to help you get through morning sickness.
- Pink stork morning sickness tea – these have been known to help with morning sickness and are definitely a favorite among expecting mothers.
- Snack during the night – If you happen to wake up at night to use the bathroom, chew on a light snack like nuts, grapes, or crackers to keep your blood sugar levels stable.
- Keep a snack by your bed – Before getting out of bed in the morning, nibble on some saltines and drink a glass of water to help with morning sickness. If you have somewhere to be early on in the day, wake up earlier to compose yourself and get through the morning nausea feelings.
- Eat small meals – Throughout the day, it is better to eat small meals rather than big ones, and don’t go for too long without eating something. Don’t forget to keep hydrated and drink water in between your meals.
Related: The Top Morning Sickness Remedies
Your exercise routine
As much as rest is important during pregnancy, doing gentle exercises may help in keeping pregnancy discomforts like nausea at bay while keeping your body fit and ready for labor.
You can do some prenatal yoga exercises or try checking out DVD’s and other videos to help you with this.
Another good exercise (and free) to do is to do daily walks to get your body moving- you can even just walk around the house or office. Even if you do a simple activity or exercise for 5 minutes a day, it can be beneficial for your overall health.
Especially if this is your first pregnancy, a good pregnancy book will help you along the way and answer some questions you may have. Learning new information (if you have done this before) or simply equipping yourself with the right knowledge can help you in the long run.
These are beneficial especially for first-time moms. When you are better prepared with the right knowledge, it can help with the whole birthing experience and you don’t have to be scared of childbirth. You can either check out your hospital or even online for these prenatal courses.
Documenting your pregnancy through the different stages is something you can do to take note of your own changes as well as the baby. It is also something helpful to look back to. It can also be therapeutic to write things down especially during this special time in your life.
You can also get pregnancy apps online if you want to comprehensively track your entire pregnancy and stay organized. Take some belly photos either monthly or weekly to see the progress or save as a keepsake to look back on.
Foods to avoid
Nutritious and well-balanced meals are always a must but especially during pregnancy. Aside from trying to eat healthy and keeping track of your weight gain, you can lessen other risks that come with being pregnant by avoiding certain foods.
Other mamas might have different experiences so check with your doctor to see what they recommend for you
- Alcohol – even in little quantities this could pose a risk so it’s better to play it safe and just avoid it entirely.
- Large fish like swordfish since they contain high amounts of mercury.
- Raw eggs – (found in salad dressings, sauces, and cake icings) since they may contain salmonella.
- Undercooked/raw meat – this includes sushi, raw fish, shellfish, and meat. Make sure to have all your meats cooked well to avoid bacteria.
- Deli meats/ hotdogs – unless they are reheated until steaming, it is best to avoid these kinds of meats since they might be contaminated with Listeria which can cause miscarriages. (My doctor said it was okay to have Deli meat as long as I got my sandwich “toasted”)
- Soft cheeses made from raw milk – brie, gorgonzola, feta, camembert may contain listeria and it’s best to avoid them unless stated that they are made from pasteurized milk.
- Unpasteurized milk – again this may contain listeria so make sure all milk you drink is pasteurized.
- Caffeine – the rule is that you are only allowed less than 200 mg a day of caffeine since large amounts have known to cause miscarriages, premature birth, and low birth weight. It can also result in water and calcium loss because it’s a diuretic so if possible, refrain from drinking it.
- Unwashed vegetables – make sure your produce is always properly washed in order to avoid toxins.
Belly bands & comfy pants
When you are still in your first trimester you won’t be showing yet, but you might start to feel your clothes tightening. For me even if I haven’t increased in size yet, I can’t stand the pressure on my tummy from wearing jeans or tight pants.
You will be too small for maternity clothes so a belly band is a good in-between option to have. You just place it over your unzipped/unbuttoned pants to make them stay in place- this way you can still wear your favorite pair of pants.
Another option is to wear loose or comfy pants so that you can relax and not have to worry about clothes not fitting. Since your boobs are also growing, it is best to get a good comfy cotton bra that can provide support.
Stretch mark lotion
During pregnancy, your skin can be drier than normal so it is best to keep your body moisturized. Your bump is starting to grow and slowly stretch so it’s a good idea to increase its elasticity and keep it hydrated. Doing this in the first trimester will help prevent stretch marks and help keep itchiness at bay.
Get some rest
Many women deal with fatigue during pregnancy. If you need to take a rest during the day and nap, then don’t restrict yourself.
You can also get a pregnancy pillow which can make sleeping much more comfortable. During this time, it is best for you to stay relaxed and get rid of stressors that can affect you. You can try things like yoga, meditation, and deep breathing.
Related: How To Sleep While Pregnant
Start saving for your baby
Start thinking about saving up or setting a budget for your baby even if it is just for the basics at first. You will have a few months to set this up before the baby will arrive.
You can start small by picking up a pack of diapers every couple weeks, grabbing a few outfits when they are on sale or watching for items at yard sales so the expenses don’t hit all at once!
Make your announcement
A lot of people wait until after the first trimester to announce their pregnancy since after the first trimester the risk of miscarriage significantly decreases.
There is no correct way of how or when to announce your pregnancy and it is an entirely personal thing. It is important to make this decision with your partner and whatever you two feel comfortable with. You can send a simple text to friends and family, share a post on Facebook or if you are feeling good enough have a party and announce there!
Congratulations mama! Once you’ve made it through the first trimester you’ve got some exciting things coming for you like feeling their first kicks and finding out the gender. The first trimester can be rough, but you can do this!