1st Trimester: Weeks 1 to 13
Congratulations, you're expecting! The first trimester is all about resting, taking it all in, and beginning to learn about the changes your body and the new baby inside of you are undergoing. This is a time when you may not feel well, so take your checklist at your own pace and remember there is no rush.
1. Start Taking a High-Quality Prenatal Vitamin
If you aren't already, begin taking a prenatal vitamin. A plant-based vitamin with folate is a great start! Why choose plant-based? Vitamins made from whole foods are easier to digest, provide premium nutrition and minerals for you and your baby, and offer the best possible start for you both. A high-quality prenatal vitamin is less likely to increase morning sickness. To find out more, read my guide on “Coping with Morning Sickness” here.
My top 3 Picks for Prenatal Vitamins:
Quick Tip: Take your prenatal vitamins at night to reduce vitamin-related nausea.
2. Check All Your Current Medication
Are any of your prescription or over-the-counter medications unsafe during pregnancy? Do a double-check! If you're unsure about any of them, call your doctor. You may be surprised at the number of over-the-counter medications that are not safe during pregnancy
3. Find the Right Care Provider
Having a care provider that is aligned with your beliefs and care plan desires is crucial. Interview different midwives and OBs before making your final decision. You have options! It's always better to have a care provider on your team who is already on the same page as you and your family instead of trying to "make" them see things your way. No single provider is perfect for everyone. Be honest with yourself, know your pregnancy and birth wishes, and be willing to communicate those things to the doctors and midwives during your interview.
4. Make Your First Appointment
Once you've decided which care provider is right for you, it's time to make your first appointment. Some things to expect at your first appointment include medical history, vital signs, blood work, and ultrasound around 8 weeks. Be sure to ask plenty of questions and make your next appointment for around 12 weeks. If you've chosen to have a hospital birth, find out what pregnancy, birth, and parenting classes are offered to patients at the hospital. Plan for which ones you may be interested in signing up for before they're all filled up! If you're planning to have a home birth, ask your midwife about local classes and groups you can join now to prepare and connect.
5. Eat Healthily
Eat as healthy as you can though it may be a trying time if you're affected by morning sickness. Eating small, frequent meals that are bland can be helpful. Now's the time to cut out processed foods and drinks that offer little to no nutritional value to you and your growing baby, and add in plenty of protein, fresh vegetables, fruits, and purified water. I highly recommend the book The Whole 9 Months: A Week-By-Week Pregnancy Nutrition Guide with Recipes for a Healthy Start. Also, find out what foods may be hazardous during pregnancy. Post a list on your fridge if you have a hard time remembering in the early weeks of your first trimester. If you smoke, drink alcohol, or use recreational drugs, now's the time to quit. Ask your doctor or midwife for help and resources if you're struggling to break addictions. You are not alone, and your health and the health of your baby are worth it!
6. Snap a Belly Picture
Want to document the journey of your belly? Be sure to start snapping those pictures before you even start to look pregnant. You won't regret it!
7. Buy a Pregnancy Journal
A pregnancy journal is a perfect place to put your belly and ultrasound pictures, document weekly symptoms and milestones, and makes a great keepsake. There are tons of journals ranging from quick entries to more detailed ones. Find one that lines up with your lifestyle and journal away! Whether it's your first or fourth pregnancy, starting a journal early is always fun.
My Top 3 Pregnancy Journal Picks
8. Make Rest a Priority
Many feel tired and nauseous during this trimester, so rest as much as you possibly can. Did you know that if your baby kept growing at the speed it grows at in the early weeks of pregnancy that he or she would be the size of the sun when they're born? Your whole body is working overtime right now even though you may feel like you don't have much to show for it yet. If you have other children, it's a good time to recruit help from family and friends when you can
9. Reduce Stress
Working to reduce unnecessary stress now will help make for a smoother, more enjoyable pregnancy journey, childbirth, and postpartum time. Are you caught up in social media drama or worried about others' opinions of you (or even this pregnancy)? Are you overthinking about the future or money that's already been spent? These are all common and unnecessary stressors that can be eliminated. One way to do this is by incorporating mindful practices into your life. My favorite resource for living a more mindful and stress-free life is Mindful.org.
10. Plan How You Want to Announce
Get ready to make the big announcement if you haven't already! Do you have family out of town and want to make them a special part of it? Look up different ideas on telling them and local friends and family. When would you prefer to tell everyone? Right away, after the first ultrasound, or after the first trimester ends? There is no right or wrong way, each family will have different preferences and circumstances.
11. Figure Out Your Finances
Go ahead and work out the details so everyone can relax from here on out. Look into insurance coverage so there are no last-minute surprises. Ask about maternity leave and plan to make postpartum stress-free and a time to look forward to. Then open a savings account for unexpected baby expenses, future medical bills, and for planning a getaway with your partner during your second trimester
12. Treat Yourself
You've worked incredibly hard over the last 13 weeks! As your energy begins to return towards the end of your first trimester, find some time to treat yourself. Plan a shopping trip for new pants that fit your now growing belly better and a prenatal massage. If you decide to get a massage or a pedicure, be sure to let them know you're expecting so they don't use any products or techniques that may harm you or your baby as it will likely not be noticeable that you're pregnant yet. To avoid other toxic chemicals during pregnancy, check out my article on Pregnancy Safe Cleaning Products.