If you’re staring at those two pink lines, thinking “I’m pregnant, now what?” then you have come to the right place for the ultimate first trimester checklist.
Pregnancy is such an exciting time…
…but it can also be overwhelming as you get ready for your newborn to arrive.
Don’t worry, this early pregnancy checklist will help you stay organized and complete everything you need to during the first trimester.
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Take a Prenatal Vitamin
If you’re already taking a prenatal vitamin you’re off to a great start. If not, now is the time to grab one.
You can pick up prenatals over the counter at your usual grocery store or drug store.
The American College of Obstetrics and Gynecology recommends that pregnant women get enough folic acid, calcium, iron, and vitamin D for healthy baby development. It can be difficult to get everything your need from diet alone, so prenatal vitamins help fill that gap. Consult your doctor if you’re unsure about which vitamin is right for you.
Many moms love these highly rated vitamins. Personally, I always had trouble with pills during the first trimester and opted for these gummy vitamins instead. It’s important to note that gummy vitamins don’t contain iron, so talk to your doctor about whether or not you need to take an additional iron supplement.
I’m Pregnant, When Should I go to the Doctor?
1 – Pick a Provider
If you already have an OBGYN that you want to stick with, that’s great. If you don’t already have a doctor or want to make a change, this is the best time.
There’s several things to consider when selecting a provider for your prenatal care like which are covered by your insurance, where they deliver, and what type of birth experience you want.
If you’re thinking about midwife care, we have an entire post where we discuss the differences between OBs and midwives.
2 – Call to Schedule an Appointment
Depending on their practice, they will likely have their own policies on how they want to schedule your first appointment. Some may want you to come in right away to confirm. Others may wait to schedule an ultrasound around 8 weeks.
Be prepared with the date of your last menstrual period when you call as they may ask for this info to date the pregnancy.
If you have questions before that first schedule appointment, ask! Most providers have a way to leave messages for the doctor or nurse, so don’t hesitate to call.
3 – Go to Your Appointment
Make a list of questions to ask your doctor at your appointment. Make sure to discuss prenatal testing options as several are available during the first trimester.
Deal with Symptoms
Unfortunately, the first trimester checklist also brings some unpleasant symptoms.
Your body is already changing and increasing hormones can make you feel like garbage. Fatigue, nausea, vomiting, heartburn, food aversions, constipation, tender breasts, increased urination area all common early pregnancy symptoms. Sounds like fun, right?
Morning sickness, or nausea and vomiting associated with pregnancy that unfortunately may strike at any time or even last all day, can be absolutely miserable.
For me eating small/frequent meals, mint, and Preggie Pop Drops in particular helped me survive the constant nausea. But those may not work for you, so here are 17 more morning sickness remedies that moms swear by.
Try to eat a healthy diet, as much as your food aversions allow, and make sure you stay hydrated. Get the OK from your doctor before taking medications for your symptoms.
Your hormones may also play with your emotions. Don’t be surprised if you cry more easily or experience mood swings.
Stay Active, But Also Rest
I know this sounds contradictory, but both activity and rest are beneficial during pregnancy.
It’s generally considered safe to continue exercising at your pre-pregnancy levels. As long as you and comfortable and have no other health issues, exercise is usually recommended.
Of course, discuss any concerns you have with your doctor.
Staying active for 30 minutes a day is great for your health and your pregnancy. That said, the exhaustion and nausea of the first trimester can make this a challenge.
It’s also important to also give yourself a break. Since fatigue is normal during pregnancy, make sure you rest as well. Don’t feel weird about going to bed earlier or catching a nap whenever you can.
Some moms find that they feel better with some light exercise, so you may want to try even when you aren’t feeling up to it. Staying active may help you feel more energized.
I’m Pregnant, Now What? Avoid The Pregnancy No-no’s
Time to learn all the things that preggos are supposed to avoid.
- Alcohol – I think we all know this one. Enjoy some mocktails!
- Smoking – Another that we’ve probably all heard, but if you do smoke this the best time to quit since smoking increases the likelihood of prematurity, low birth weight, and SIDS.
- Foods – Unfortunately there’s lots of foods to avoid during pregnancy generally because they aren’t clean, cooked, or pasteurized and could be contaminated. For instance, Listeria is a major concern since it can pass to your baby and can be found in sushi, deli meats, soft cheeses, and unwashed vegetables. Here is a full list of foods to avoid.
- Caffeine – Luckily for exhausted moms-to-be caffeine is not completely off the table, but your intake should be limited to less than 200mg per day (equivalent to ~1 – 2 cups of coffee).
- Medications – Some medications are safe during pregnancy and others are not. Talk to your doctor about all of the medications you take including over the counter and supplements.
- Kitty Litter – Due to the risk of Toxoplasmosis in cat feces, hand off the litter box duty to your partner. If you have to clean the box, it is recommended that you wear gloves and make sure to wash your hands well afterwards.
Record Your Pregnancy Memories
This is one of the most fun ‘I’m pregnant, now what’ items!
Your pregnancy will slip right by, so take a moment to document some memories.
When did you find out you were pregnant?
How did you tell your significant other?
Are you feeling sick? Craving tacos? Crying at dog food commercials?
All of things can quickly be forgotten if you don’t write them down. This is such a unique time in your life full of changes and growth that passes so fast.
I know I’m probably overly sentimental, but I loved saving memories from my pregnancies.
For my first I made a sort of journal scrapbook to keep track of how I was feeling, what was happening, and everything pregnancy related. For my second, the DIY route seemed a little overwhelming so I bought this pregnancy journal which has plenty of space for notes and photos as well as questions and prompts which helped me stick with it when I was exhausted.
Do Some Pregnancy Research
It doesn’t hurt to have some extra knowledge about what will happen to your body over the next several months.
There are lots of great pregnancy books out there full of tons of helpful information.
For straight forward, accurate information, the Mayo Clinic Guide to a Healthy Pregnancy, is my top pick if you want just 1 book.
For something with a little more personality, The Girlfriends’ Guide to Pregnancy is a fun read that still gives tons of great info.
And of course, What to Expect When You’re Expecting, is pretty much the most popular pregnancy book. It is full of info, maybe overwhelmingly so, but seems to the gold standard.
If you aren’t a big reader, you can find pretty much all of the same information from the books in several pregnancy apps.
As an added bonus, most pregnancy apps have a calculator to help you determine your due date.
I think that What to Expect’s Pregnancy & BabyTracker app the most comprehensive. It walks you through your pregnancy week by week with tons of advice and articles.
However, The Bump app has comparable information and capabilities and I like the interface better.
My other favorite is Sprout. It shows a realistic 3D representation of your growing baby which is pretty cool with information about their development each week.
These are all free apps and there are many more, so try a few apps and see which you prefer.
It’s a good time to start considering whether or not you want to take childbirth classes.
So you probably would not take a class until the third trimester, but it’s a good idea to start thinking about it now.
You have time to research different types of classes and figure out which you want. Also, by looking into them early, you have the best chance of finding something that will work with your schedule.
If you aren’t sure if classes are for you, check out this post can help you decide since we discuss all the info on childbirth classes.
Honestly, this comes down to personal preference, but I’m a nerd and I like to know what’s going on. If you’re not into research, don’t sweat it, your baby will grow just the same and your doctor should tell you anything you need to know.
Decide When and How to Announce
Figure out when you want to tell people your good news and how you want to make your announcement.
Most likely you’ll tell your significant other first. If you can manage to keep your news a secret for a little while, here are some super cute ideas for sharing it with them.
For my first, I found out right before Easter and made an egg hunt for my husband. The last egg contained a note saying “you’re gonna be a DAD!” With my second, I just showed him the test immediately.
For your friends and family deciding when to tell can be difficult. If you aren’t sure whether you want to share your news right away or wait, here is an entire article to help you decide when to announce your pregnancy.
Note: Consider your work environment when deciding when to announce there. If you work poses hazards to your pregnancy, you may need to tell your boss right away.
Make a Baby Budget
I’m big on budgeting because without keeping careful track of our spending, I wouldn’t be able to be a stay at home mom. Babies come with a lot of new expenses, so now is the best time to start to figure out what your new budget will look like.
You’ll be glad that you made a plan for any major expenses that might come up when your baby arrives.
For instance, check out your health insurance coverage. Copays and deductibles vary widely and depending on your plan your prenatal care and delivery could end up costing nothing out of pocket or literally thousands of dollars.
I don’t know about you, but if I don’t want to be surprised by $1000 bill. I need as much time as possible to plan for it.
Note: Your insurance should cover a breast pump, so be sure to ask about that as well.
It’s also a good time to figure out your maternity leave options. I use the term maternity leave loosely since, as many moms-to-be are disappointed to discover, few companies actually offer that benefit in the US.
Anyway, pull out your employee handbook to see what options you’ll have for time off when your baby is born. Knowing what to expect is crucial for your budget.
Some options that might be available are short term disability, Family Medical Leave, Sick time, or paid time off. This is totally dependent on your employer’s policies.
Why is that important for your budget?
You want to know whether you’ll be getting a paycheck after your give birth.
For instance, short term disability may pay anywhere from your full wage to a small percentage. Family Medical Leave might be completely unpaid.
Planning now means you can start to set some money aside each paycheck or save up vacation time. Unfortunately, I know that’s not even an option for everyone. Hopefully, preparing early can help you figure out what’s best for your family and financial situation.
There’s also the costs of caring for your baby once they’re here. Obviously, your baby budget needs to include essentials like diapers, wipes, and formula, but by far the biggest budget buster is usually child care.
Unfortunately, child care can be like a second mortgage payment, so it’s best to start thinking about this early. Knowing what you can afford to spend will help guide your child care decisions.
Also, in busy areas, daycares can run long wait lists so it is not too soon to inquire about openings.
These types of large expenses can be completely overwhelming. Starting as soon as possible gives you the best chance of being prepared for them.
It’s not too early to start thinking about…
Ok, so you’ve made it through the first trimester checklist, but you can get the ball rolling on these:
Picking the perfect baby name can be a challenge, especially when you and your partner don’t agree. Luckily. we have a guide to finding a name you will both love here.
You probably aren’t showing yet, though you may feel like it with first trimester bloat. Most first time moms don’t start to show until the second trimester.
Keeping an eye out for deals can save you a bundle on maternity clothes, so it pays to start early. If you need to dress your bump on a budget, here is a post I wrote for Thrifty Guardian about finding cheap maternity clothes on a budget.
It may be early to start your baby registry, but it’s not too early to start researching what you want to put on your registry.
It can quickly become overwhelming looking at all of the different types of car seats, cribs, swings, and strollers.