The Most Important Trimester
Your first trimester seems like the shortest trimester. But it is THE most important trimester in my opinion. Establishing good habits, creating a healthy pregnancy, and making sure you eliminate as many risks as possible to make sure your little one starts off on the best foot possible. No pressure or anything, right?
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This list is certainly not everything you should do. But hopefully, this gives you a great place to begin with some healthy habits, some thoughts that should lead you to research and ask questions, and of course; things to speak to your doctor about. I am in no way a health professional and you need to talk to your doctor about your unique, personal circumstances and wishes. Many of the “health advice” pieces are common knowledge in the pregnancy world and commonly agreed upon. But you should ask your doctor about YOUR PERSONAL SITUATION.
- Start taking a prenatal vitamin if you weren’t taking one when trying to become pregnant. These vitamins are my favorite! They are easy to swallow, you take only 1 a day, and it’s about a 3 month supply. Plus they are all natural!
- Begin healthy habits like drinking more water and exercising, while taking out bad habits like alcohol and smoking.
- Cut down your caffeine intake. Speak with your doctor or research about the correct amount, but generally 200 mg is safe for pregnant women. Caffeine has been known to lead to a higher risk of miscarriage, so I typically cut it out for the first trimester, then begin drinking my decaf that I regularly drink. You can switch to decaf for the 2nd trimester and then go to full caffeinated in your last trimester if you choose.
- Begin Pelvic floor exercises. While extremely helpful to help make your delivery easier, these are helpful even when you aren’t pregnant!
- Focus on your nutrition. While the myth is to “eat for two”, you really should be focusing on nutrients. In the first trimester, you’d be surprised to know it is not recommended to change your calorie intake just yet.
- If you have a cat, it’s a good idea to start having someone else change the litter box for you now.
- Take a pregnancy test to confirm pregnancy.
- Relax so the baby starts growing in a calm environment.
- Call your insurance company to find out details about your maternity benefits. This could determine who you are able to see for an OBGYN or Midwife. You can download this insurance questionnaire complete with 22 questions to ask your insurance company.
- Once you know your insurance details, you will want to begin researching doctors and hospitals, or midwives and birthing centers. It may be the same doctor you have always seen, or it may be somewhere new. Go where you feel comfortable! Your OBGYN may not have access to deliver at your hospital of choice, so make sure you consider your future pregnancy and delivery when choosing a doctor and a hospital.
- Tell your partner! There are so many fun ways to tell your partner. Check out my video below to see how I told my husband!
- Schedule your first appointment with your OB to confirm pregnancy. Download my free Appointment Sheet pdf to help keep track of what happens in your appointments and what to ask at the next one. This is great for tracking both positive and negative trends in your pregnancy.
- If you aren’t currently active or don’t have a current exercise program, I recommend downloading the Baby to Body app. This app changes the workouts every week to what is healthy during your stage in pregnancy, as well as giving you daily nuggets about your pregnancy! You can also change your experience level to make sure you aren’t overdoing it. Starting a workout routine now isn’t too late! Exercise can ease many pregnancy symptoms and can help in the long run when it comes time to deliver your baby.
- Figure out your do’s and don’ts of pregnancy. The obvious don’ts of no smoking and drinking alcohol aren’t the only no-no’s. This is the time to learn what habits you should be starting/continuing and which habits you should be stopping. You should discuss this with your doctor to make sure your custom needs are met.
- You may think it’s too early, but research childcare options in your area now is extremely important! Many areas have wait lists or requirements for their daycares. You may opt into a nanny instead. Nanny availability can change just as much as daycare centers and the costs are quite different. You will want plenty of time to decide what is comfortable for your family. And if things change, you are prepared for all possible options.
- For some, morning sickness (more like all day sickness) has begun. Start researching some remedies, because there are probably hundreds and what works for others may not work for you.
- Read a book! There are a ton of books relating to pregnancy, but who can go wrong with the classic “What to Expect When You Are Expecting”. This set also includes “What to Expect Your First Year”. A double dose of helpful and just one thing you won’t have to do later.
- Decide when you and your partner want to announce your pregnancy to everyone else. Some couples choose to tell everyone now, some choose to tell only close friends and family. The risk of miscarriage is lower after 12 weeks, so make sure if this were to happen that you would be comfortable telling these individuals that news as well.
- You are probably having your first appointment this week or next. If you haven’t already, download my Appointment Sheet for free so you have all of your questions and notes in one place. Develop a list of questions that you are unsure of in regards to your pregnancy. There are no silly questions! For me, this was really clarifying what I can continue doing for Taekwondo. You’ll also want to bring your prenatal vitamins so your doctor can verify that they are a good option for you. Also, write down any other vitamins or herbs you may be taking. Everything from protein powder to that turmeric vitamin. Your doctor will confirm which ones are safe for your pregnancy.
- Switch to eco-friendly cleaners and wear cleaning gloves. If you can, try to have your partner begin to do the major upkeep of the bathrooms. These tend to have the strongest cleaners and the most hassle (trying to scrub that tub, ugh.)
- If this is your second pregnancy, you may begin to start showing a baby bump sooner than first-time moms. Start looking at belly bands to extend the use of your jeans. Don’t neglect those lady lumps! Your breasts have probably started to grow as well. If so, don’t buy just any bra. Opt-in for a nursing bra. They are comfortable for your changing body and you will be able to use them after you deliver for breastfeeding. If you do not end up breastfeeding, they are still extremely comfortable and perfect for lounging around the house while feeding your little one.
- If you selected your doctor, then you can now finalize where you would like to deliver. Your doctor may be able to deliver at multiple hospitals, in which case, you will want to try to tour and pick exactly which hospital.
- Double-check your beauty products and health cabinet. There may be some ingredients that are harmful to your baby.
- If you haven’t announced your pregnancy to everyone yet, now is the time to start looking into pregnancy announcement photos. Many photographers offer a discount for maternity and newborn photos, you may be able to haggle a little more of a discount to include a mini pregnancy announcement shoot in that bundle (if it’s not already offered). You should get a good ultrasound picture at your 12-week appointment, so this gives you time to find and schedule a photographer before your sonogram appointment.
- Dental care is extremely important during pregnancy! If you don’t have a cleaning already scheduled, make sure you call your dentist to get one scheduled soon.
- Determine if you want to know the gender or how you want to find out. Many women can find out the gender through Non-Invasive Prenatal Tests, which come from bloodwork as early in the pregnancy as 12 weeks. If you don’t want to know, you may need to let your provider, lab, or others know so the surprise is not ruined.
- Start a budget. You will need to develop a savings (if you don’t already have one) for doctor visits, testings, labor and delivery, photos, and everything after. Starting now is your best bet at getting a head start of finances. Even a goal of paying down debt can help with out of pocket costs in the future.
- Make a “baby-do” list of all the things you are wanting to get accomplished before baby arrives. Maybe it’s putting in new flooring, adding a built-in, or simply organization and changing things up a bit. Your pregnancy brain is going to kick and you will most likely forget what you wanted to do before the baby arrives.
- Get some pregnancy “must haves”. You may deem these silly if this is your first pregnancy. But ask mommas who are on their second+ child, or even me who has a 7 year gap between children! I wish I had had these with my first. Some examples are:
- Pregnancy pillow – I really use mine for our couch, but many women prefer it in bed. Or you may take it with you everywhere in the house. Either way, the support is amazing.
- Exercise ball – this was extremely helpful for me at night before bed. It helped stretch and loosen up my back, hips, glutes, and legs before bed. Making me feel more comfortable and relaxed. Some women use them during contractions and labor/delivery. Of course, you can even use this for some pregnancy safe exercises.
- Stretch mark oil/cream – It is never to early to begin helping stretching parts of your body retain moisture. You will get stretch marks you didn’t even know you could get stretch marks. This will help either completely avoid, or at least ease the stretch marks you do get. This four pack is sure to do the trick!
- Belly band/maternity jeans – Depending on how much you are going out, you will want at least 1 pair. Even if you are pregnant in the summer during your biggest months, 1 pair of maternity jeans is good on those cool days/nights or just for hanging out around the house. I love the Motherhood Maternity jeans I got and I got them during a sale!
- Plan regular date nights! It’s easy to focus on the baby and everything there is to do before their arrival. However, you can NEVER lose focus from your partner. Recreate your first date, do activities you have been wanting to do, try something new! Keep that spark alive. I realize not every momma has a partner, and for that I truly am sorry. Make time to still connect with those who are important in your life. Whether it’s family or close friends; carve out special time to connect with them before your little one is due.
COVID-19 Edit *During the pandemic, it can seem like you don’t need a date night because you are spending so much time together already. But quality time is much different than just seeing each other or talking about the budget. We love our Happily Co subscription because they give us date boxes full of activities and treats that we can do ALL at home. It makes date night at home so much more special and creative. If you want to try, click this link to explore their past boxes and get $10 off your first box. The box is even cheaper than a date night out on the town and way more fun than the same ol’ dinner and a movie. We have made homemade ice cream, completed an at home “escape room”, played word challenge games, made coconut macaroons, played a youtube scavenger hunt, made candles, asked thought provoking questions, listened to custom playlists that come with our date boxes, and more!
- Begin moisturizing your skin daily to avoid the itches that come with dryer-than-normal and stretching skin. I love this four pack from Palmer’s because it is made with cocoa butter and comes with a tummy butter that is extra thick for those problem areas (boobs, butt, and belly). There is also a lovely oil that doesn’t rub off on my clothes, and moisturizing tube that fits in my purse.
- Plan a babymoon if possible. Have you been wanting to get away to the caribbean or explore Europe? Maybe you have just wanted to get away from the state you currently live in. Plan a babymoon for you and your boo. Go somewhere new and different that you have been wanting to go. This may be the last time for a while until baby gets older.
COVID-19 Edit *This may not be possible during the COVID-19 pandemic. But plan something special to take in the last moments before welcoming baby into the world!*
- Stop laying on your back so much. 5 minutes or less shouldn’t bother you now, but as your baby grows, they will begin pushing on major arteries and veins that can restrict important blood flow to you. Honestly, it’s extremely uncomfortable anyways and it’s really hard to get up properly. So it’s better to just avoid it.
- The last one really segways into this to-do item; sleeping on your left side. Left side is specifically the better option, and if you are not used to sleeping on your side, this could take some time to get used to. It’s better to practice and adapt now. The left side is better for digestion and overall comfort. The right side is not “bad” but does still lead to the potential of blood flow issues.
- Plan or tell your boss and coworkers. You may need to plan to time informing them just right. Or you may need to tell them immediately if you work in a more hazardous or stressful environment. Standing for long periods, sitting for long periods, fumes, heavy lifting, and more are all reasons where you may need to tell your employer sooner rather than later.
- Begin paying attention to your posture. If you haven’t already focus on your hips and lower back when you are standing or sitting. Pregnant women tend to stick their belly out more as it gets bigger to adjust your center of gravity, straining your back muscles. Focus on keeping your back as straight as possible. You also want to focus on bringing your shoulders “up, back, and down” to prevent slouching.