So you’re newly pregnant—yay! There’s something extra special about carrying a little life around inside you, even if it is difficult at times. If this is your first pregnancy, you might be wondering what things you should add to your to do list in the first trimester.
There’s no doubt about it. Preparing for a new baby can take a lot of work, especially when it’s your first time. Don’t stress out about it though!
The truth is, the first trimester is best spent getting accustomed to being pregnant. It’s no secret that the first trimester comes with plenty new and sometimes strange symptoms. And in all likelihood, you’ll probably have some morning sickness to deal with.
Although the first trimester is a bit more centered around you, there are still plenty of things for you to do. Keep reading to find out the eighteen things you should do within your first trimester.
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18 Things To Do In Your First Trimester
You’ve taken an at home pregnancy test and watched it turn positive. But now what?
The first trimester can be a bit overwhelming, especially as a first time mom. Take a moment to pause, breathe, and just soak in the fact that you are carrying a new life inside you. And that’s amazing!
Now, don’t feel like you immediately have to rush to start preparing for your new baby. The first trimester is likely the most challenging time of pregnancy, and there’s more than enough time to get ready for your new addition.
In my opinion, the first trimester is best spent focusing on you and your body. Now is the time to start good prenatal nutrition, and start healthy habits that will help your baby develop and grow as well as help you feel better.
Without further ado, here are some things to do in your first trimester to help you make the most of your pregnancy.
1. Tell your spouse
First off, tell your spouse! This part can be both exciting or nerve wracking—or both. It’s okay. Take a deep breath.
Sometimes telling our S.O. can be hard when we don’t know how they will react. Relax. In most cases, spouses end up being excited to become dads. And if not, it’s okay.
When we first found out I was pregnant with Elijah, my hubby was very excited about it. I’m not even really sure what emotion would accurately describe how I felt, but I don’t think it would be fair to say excitement. The truth is I was overwhelmed and apprehensive.
We had only been married about three months when we found out, and we had originally planned to wait a few years before trying. Bottom line—it was a surprise, and I didn’t feel even remotely ready for it.
But even though my initial reaction wasn’t excitement, I did eventually feel excitement. Sometimes the surprise knocks us off balance.
Other times, the pregnancy hormones are already working like crazy and it messes with our emotional responses. Just because you don’t initially feel the way you think you should feel, doesn’t mean that you don’t love and want your baby.
Don’t stress about it if you or your spouse doesn’t react the way you thought you/he would. Sometimes it just takes time to wrap your head around the idea.
2. Decide if/when to tell others
Right after you tell your spouse, I encourage you to have a conversation together about if and when you will tell other people. The important part is to decide together, so that one of you does not accidentally tell someone earlier than you would like them to know.
You might decide to tell family and close friends before you tell everyone else. Or perhaps not. Some people tell just a few people before officially announcing it later on. Others like to tell everyone right away.
There’s no right or wrong time to announce your pregnancy. Just be sure to be on the same page about it.
3. Start taking prenatal vitamins
The sooner you start taking prenatal vitamins, the better. When you’re pregnant, you need extra vitamins and minerals in order for your baby to grow and develop properly. You will also need plenty to keep yourself healthy and feeling well.
Prenatal vitamins ensure that you get essential vitamins and minerals for both you and your baby.
Although your doctor may recommend a particular brand, it is generally fine for you to take an over the counter prenatal. Of course, always check with your doctor if you are unsure. Your first prenatal appointment is a great time to ask about this.
Prenatal vitamins come both as pills you can swallow and gummies you can chew. If you find that your gag reflex is extra sensitive or you have trouble swallowing pills, gummies might be the better option for you.
I ended up taking gummy prenatals, mostly because I struggle to swallow pills normally. With hormones making my gag reflex extra sensitive, there wasn’t much chance of me getting a pill down.
Instead of trying to swallow pills, I took Vitafusion Prenatal vitamins. Much easier, and they tasted pretty good too.
4. Find out what your insurance covers
Finding out what your health insurance covers is probably something you’ll want to do before choosing a doctor.
While making an initial appointment is often the first thing many new moms do, you probably won’t be going as soon as you’d think. Initial prenatal appointments are typically scheduled for when you are at least six to eight weeks along.
You may feel some urgency to make an appointment, but it’s a good idea to find out first what maternity costs your insurance will cover.
Since your first appointment won’t be till six or eight week into your pregnancy, you should have time to call and figure it out.
Why it matters in the first trimester
Knowing what your insurance will cover is important if you want to save money on medical costs. Whatever doctor or midwife you choose, you want to make sure that they will accept your insurance—it’s best to know this information before you set up an appointment.
You should definitely call your insurance and have representative explain to you what is covered and what is not.
During my first appointment, we agreed to do a particular blood test that we assumed would be covered by our insurance. Turns out it wasn’t, and it cost us an extra $300 out-of-pocket. It didn’t even count toward our deductible.
Don’t make the same mistake. Ensure everything you do is covered, and if not, ensure you can afford to do it out-of-pocket.
5. Find an OBGYN or midwife
Once you know what your insurance covers, it’s time to find a doctor or midwife! For pregnancy, an OBGYN is usually your best choice for a doctor, since they specialize in prenatal care.
Another option is a midwife. Midwives are licensed to assist in births, and are often good choices for low risk pregnancies and unmedicated births.
Where you deliver with a midwife may vary as well. Some midwives are able to deliver in a local hospital, while others exclusively assist in home births or birthing centers.
When deciding who will provide your prenatal care, it’s important to consider the kind of birth you hope to have. An OBGYN will not be able to help you with a home birth, but may be better if you have complications or want pain medication during birth.
Regardless of which you choose, be sure that the specific person will accept your health insurance. If you have several options available to you, don’t be afraid to reach out to moms you know to get recommendations.
You may also be able to set up a consultation with potential providers to find the best one for you.
6. Make your first appointment
Once you’ve picked out what doctor or midwife you’d like for your prenatal care, it’s time to make your first appointment.
Making your appointment is a fairly simple process. Just call the midwife or practice and have them schedule it for you.
If you are a new patient, you can expect to answer some preliminary questions such as whether or not you have had previous pregnancies, when you had your last period, and whether or not you took an at home test, as well as basic information such as your full name and birth date.
Be aware that no one else can make this initial appointment for you, since you will need to answer these questions for yourself. For privacy and confidentiality reasons, you will need to answer all questions regarding your health and history.
7. Stop eating harmful food & alcohol
One of the first things you need to do in your first trimester is stop drinking alcohol and stop eating food that can be harmful for your baby.
As soon as you find out you are expecting, it’s important to not eat or drink anything that could be harmful for your baby if it is passed through your placenta to your baby.
Alcohol is definitely a big no-no when it comes to pregnancy. Not only is it harmful for your baby, but it can also put you in situations where you may fall or get hurt yourself. Which of course, would also endanger your baby as well.
As far as food, your biggest concerns are foods that are high in mercury and foods that have a high potential for causing listeria.
Large fish such as shark and swordfish are high in mercury, as well as some seafood. Unpasteurized cheese, dairy products, and undercooked meats can be infected with listeria, which you are more vulnerable to while you are pregnant.
The following are some foods you should avoid until after you give birth:
- Large fish such as shark & swordfish
- Lunch meat (unless you heat it up first—this kills off any bacteria present)
- Hot dogs
- Uncooked or partially cooked meats
- Unpasteurized cheese and dairy products
8. Stop medications that aren’t pregnancy safe
Foods aren’t the only thing you may need to give up during your first trimester. Many medications are also dangerous to use while pregnant, some of which are ordinary, over the counter medications.
For that reason, it is wise to stop use of all medications until your doctor gives you the go ahead.
If you are taking a prescription medication when you find out you are expecting, call your doctor right away to determine whether you should still be taking it. Your doctor may prescribe you a different medication if it is one that you absolutely must take.
At your first prenatal appointment, you can expect your doctor to give you a list of over the counter medications that are safe to take if needed. Be aware that many cold and flu medicines, as well as Ibuprofen, will not be on this list.
9. Start good prenatal nutrition
Starting in your first trimester, make an effort to eat healthily. Good prenatal nutrition is essential for a healthy baby and a healthy you. Practicing good nutrition will also help ease (and even eliminate in some cases) some of your pregnancy symptoms, such as morning sickness.
One way to ensure you are eating well is to get a prenatal cookbook with recipes created specifically for pregnant women. My personal favorite is currently Eating For Pregnancy.
This all-in-one nutritional guide and cookbook is your one stop guide to all things regarding prenatal nutrition. It’s filled with healthy, delicious recipes to help support your nutritional needs while pregnant.
One thing I really love about it is that each recipe gives you options and ways to adapt it to fit special pregnancy diets, such as for gestational diabetes. It’s really a very diverse book to have on hand, and a must have during pregnancy!
10. Find pregnancy safe exercises
While you may not feel like exercising, especially in your first trimester, it is extremely beneficial for you. Not only will exercising help you feel better, but it can also help your labor and delivery go more smoothly.
Although exercising should be on your first trimester to do list, you should be aware that there are some exercises which are not safe while you are pregnant. Your first prenatal appointment is a good time to ask your doctor or midwife what exercises would be okay for you to do.
Assuming you have a low risk pregnancy, I personally am a fan of Pilates with The Balanced Life. If I’m totally honest, I love that I can get great results with a minimal amount of time put in (just 15 minutes a day!). While I like to be active, I don’t like to specifically “exercise.”
The Pilates program I use is taught by Robin Long at The Balanced Life, and I love her outlook on exercise, health, and wellness. She’s all about grace over guilt, and focusing on becoming a little stronger every day.
In addition to her regular membership, she also has a specific prenatal program that you can get for a one time payment.
Her prenatal program is perfect for the second and third trimester, and even the first if your doctor wants you to stick with a prenatal program through your entire pregnancy. Definitely check it out!
11. Begin financially preparing
It’s no secret that babies can cost a lot of money. Don’t let that stress you out though, there are plenty of ways to save money on baby items and expenses. The key, though, is to start preparing as soon as you find out you are expecting.
Your first move should be to check into your health insurance to see what it covers. Then, you and your spouse should sit down and create a baby budget.
If you aren’t already budgeting your regular paycheck and expenses, you should be! Having a weekly, monthly, and yearly budget can literally save you hundreds—or even thousands—of money per year.
Be sure to plan for things like prenatal care, postpartum supplies, and medical expenses for delivery in addition to the costs of all the baby things you will need.
But you don’t want to plan for just the one time purchases. Also include recurring expenses such as diapers and wipes. (If you want to save a ton of money on diapers, I recommend trying cloth diapers!)
12. Prepare pregnancy announcement
While many people wait to announce their pregnancy until after the first trimester, there is no rule saying you have to if you’d rather announce it sooner. The truth is, many people wait because of the increased risk of miscarriage in the first trimester.
However, there is no shame is ditching that trend. After all, this is your baby we’re talking about—you’re allowed to be excited and share that excitement with others.
Whether you plan to announce in the first trimester or after, it’s a good idea to start planning ahead for how you want to announce it.
Will you simply tell people face to face? Perhaps you want to create a fun announcement photo to post to your social media accounts?
It’s up to you, and now is the perfect time to start thinking about how you’d like to announce your exciting news.
13. Get a pregnancy journal
This is one thing I wish I had thought to do when I was pregnant with Elijah! Pregnancy journals are a fantastic way to help you remember all the important milestones and moments in your pregnancy.
One pregnancy symptom that many moms face during pregnancy (and even after!) is a phenomenon after known as “mom brain.”
Whether it be due to exhaustion or hormones, pregnant moms are known to have poor memories at times. I like that a pregnancy journal can help you keep track of the things that you want to remember later.
That’s why I created The Pregnancy Journal! This device compatible journal can be printed or used across any device to help you stay organized and create memories throughout your pregnancy.
The journal includes writing prompts appropriate for that week of pregnancy. It also includes pages for you to track habits, gratitude, to do lists, and more. You’ll easily stay organized with this journal!
14. Start taking bump pictures
Although you probably won’t start noticing a bump until late in your first trimester, or even into your second trimester, it’s not a bad idea to start taking a few bump pictures every couple of weeks or so.
Even if you don’t have a bump yet, an early belly picture will give you something to compare to later on when you do start to develop a bump.
Of course, some people may not feel any desire to take bump pictures. (“some people” is me. Haha.) If you find yourself in that boat, it’s okay.
Not everyone enjoys pregnancy, and there nothing to feel about if that’s the case for you. Not enjoying pregnancy has no reflection on you or your feelings toward your baby.
Even if you don’t feel like taking pictures, I’d encourage you to take a few, even if you just keep them to yourself. You never know when you might want to look back later.
15. Download a pregnancy app
One fun part of pregnancy is tracking your baby’s growth and development week by week. And one way to do that is to download a pregnancy app. Personally, I really liked the What To Expect app.
Most major pregnancy apps will allow you to see weekly updates (based on your due date) on how big your baby should be compared to an object, usually a food (for whatever reason…lol).
You should also be able to read up on how your baby is developing, and even get access to articles with helpful pregnancy information.
Downloading the What To Expect app is an easy task on your first trimester list of things to do.
16. Take care of any morning sickness
Ah, the plague of most pregnancies. While there are some women who report little to no morning sickness, it’s fairly uncommon to have no morning sickness during your pregnancy.
Despite the name, morning sickness can actually come at any time of the day. When I was pregnant with Elijah, I had nausea both in the morning and in the evening. It was pretty miserable for the better part of my first trimester!
Unfortunately, at the time I didn’t know how many potential remedies there are for morning sickness. Not every one will work for person, but it’s certainly worth trying as many as you can until you find something that works. Here are just a few possible ways to relieve morning sickness:
17. Look into remedies for first trimester symptoms
Morning sickness is probably not the only first trimester symptom you will experience. Pregnancy is full of uncomfortable and often strange symptoms.
However, many of these symptoms can be relieved, or at least eased. Don’t make the mistake of thinking you just have to suffer through every symptom.
Take the time to research safe remedies for whatever symptoms you find yourself experiencing. And the sooner the better!
18. Start planning for maternity clothes
Even though you may be eager to try on some cute maternity clothes, you probably will not need them in your first trimester. Most women do not have enough of a bump to outgrow their regular clothes until late in the first trimester.
Many times you won’t need maternity clothes until the second trimester. Until then, you can wear your regular clothes as long as they are still comfortable. However, it’s a good idea to start thinking about what clothes you will need later on.
The first trimester is a great time to look through your existing wardrobe and estimate what can be adapted for pregnancy. Some stretchy, loose, or flow-y clothing may still fit during at least part of your pregnancy.
Then, you can start looking around for clothes to add to your maternity wardrobe. Planning ahead will help you save money on maternity clothes, which can add up quickly.
What’s On Your To Do List?
I’d love to hear from you! Comment below with your top five things to do during your first trimester.