we are having a baby first trimester

The First Trimester – Everything You Need to Know

In the first trimester, there is a lot to get done. This article contains a first trimester checklist to help prepare you for what’s ahead. During this first trimester, it’s possible that no one will even notice the changes to your body. But you are probably feeling all the changes yourself. Right now hormones are flooding your body, getting it prepped for the job ahead of it – growing a baby for nine months. 

 

Some of the symptoms, or even most, of this hormone flood may not be ones that you are thrilled about. However, a lot of them are temporary bumps on the road in the process of bringing a child into the world.

First Trimester Symptoms

The first trimester is from the first week to around the 13th week of pregnancy, or from months 1 to 3. How do you find out what week of pregnancy you are in? You’re going to use the first day of your last period to calculate your due date. Now that you know you are in the first trimester, here are some of the symptoms you are likely to experience.

first trimester nausea
  • Morning sickness

    The name is kind of a misnomer. Morning sickness can happen any time of the day or night. This often involves nausea and vomiting and starts around 6 weeks of pregnancy. Although it may seem like there is nothing you can do to help with nausea and vomiting, there are a few things that you may want to try that can hopefully curb some of it.

    • Ginger tea, ginger ale, ginger drops
    • Small frequent meals as opposed to large ones
    • Avoid an empty stomach
    • Eat slowly
    • Choose low-fat foods
    • Avoid foods or smells that make your nausea worse
    • Drink plenty of fluids
    • Contact your doctor if your nausea or vomiting is severe 

 

  • Tender, swollen breasts

    During the first part of pregnancy, your hormones may make your breast sensitive or sore. After a few weeks, the discomfort will likely decrease.

 

  • Increased urination

    During pregnancy, the amount of blood in your body increases. This causes your kidneys to produce extra fluid. That fluid ends up in the bladder, causing you to urinate more frequently.

 

  • Fatigue

    The hormone progesterone can make you sleepy, and the levels of progesterone in your body during early pregnancy soar. This can cause you to feel sleepy. Rest often. Exercise and a healthy diet can help increase your energy levels.

 

  • Food cravings or aversions

    During your pregnancy, some smells and tastes may become unpalatable, while others may become more desirable. When I was pregnant with my first child, the only thing I could eat for my whole first trimester was french bread from the bakery at the grocery store. Everything else made me nauseous.

 

  • Heartburn

    Like most of the pregnancy symptoms, this one is also caused by your hormones. The valve between your esophagus and stomach relaxes, which can cause stomach acid to leak into your esophagus, which causes heartburn. Once again, there are a few things you can do to decrease your heartburn.

    • Eat small, frequent meals
    • Avoid the following
    • Fried foods
    • Citrus fruits
    • Chocolate
    • Spicy foods 

 

  • Constipation

    Progesterone slows the movement of food through your body, which can lead to constipation. To help your body keep moving, try the following

    • Plenty of fiber
    • Drink a lot of fluids, especially water, prune juice, and other fruit juices
    • Regular physical activity

 

  • Mood Swings

    By about 7 weeks along, your moods may be up and down. You may feel anxious, exhilarated, or exhausted, sometimes all at once. Even if you are happy about being pregnant, having a new baby can add to your stress level. You may worry about how you will adjust to parenthood (or how you will adjust with the addition of another child). You may worry about your baby’s health or the demands of raising a child. It’s natural to feel ups and downs, but if your mood swings become intense or severe, seek out your healthcare provider.

 

  • Weight Gain

    During the first trimester, your baby is still very small, which means you may only gain a few pounds. If your morning sickness is severe, or you are suffering from appetite loss, you may even lose a few pounds. For now, you just need to focus on having frequent small meals that provide a lot of nutrients for you and your growing baby.

First Trimester Checklist

first trimester checklist

There is a lot to do in your first trimester to make sure you are ready for the birth of your child. For a printable version of this first trimester checklist, download here.

 

  • Start taking prenatal vitamins

    Prenatal vitamins are essential for your health and the healthy growth of your baby. Even if you are currently taking vitamins, switch over to prenatals, which have the vitamins that you need to grow a healthy baby.

 

  • Make time for physical activity

    Regular physical activity has many benefits if you are expecting. It can help relieve fatigue and constipation and can promote healthy weight gain.

 

  • Eat a healthy diet

    A healthy diet can assist you in getting the nutrients you and your baby need and can ensure that you gain a healthy amount of weight during your pregnancy.

 

  • Find a provider and book your first visit

    If you do not already have an obstetrician that you love, now is the time to find one. It’s important to receive adequate care throughout your pregnancy, so finding an obstetrician is really important.

 

  • Decide on whether or not you will do genetic testing

    There are some genetic tests that can be performed on your unborn child that look for certain genetic defects. If it is important to you to know this ahead of time, you may want to consider having it done. There are risks associated with it, so be sure to speak with your provider about your options.

 

  • Look into your health insurance options

    Check with your insurance provider to find out which providers and procedures they cover so that you are not blindsided once your baby is born.

 

  • Make a budget

    A budget is helpful at any period of your life, but especially now, as you are expecting to add a new person to your family. If you have a spouse or partner, speak openly with them and come to a decision together. It will help so much in the long run.

 

  • Take time to think about baby names

    Some people have a name chosen before their baby is even conceived, and some don’t decide until after they are born. But it is always worth getting a head start on naming your child so you aren’t rushed into a decision.

 

  • Make a plan to announce your pregnancy

    Announcing your pregnancy can be really fun, and you may want to think of a cute announcement for your friends and family. This is your good news. Share it however you want!

Things to Avoid During Your First Trimester

bathtub

Now that you know the things that you should do during your first trimester, there are also a few things that you should avoid. These are the things you should steer clear of.

 

  • Activities that overheat you

    When you are pregnant, it is important to avoid any activities that raise your body temperature to more than 101 degrees Fahrenheit. Here are some activities you may want to avoid. 

    • Hot tubs and saunas (even hot baths)
    • Hot yoga
    • Exercising outside in hot weather

Your showers don’t have to be cold, but if you are planning to take a bath, bring a thermometer and keep it around 97 or 98 degrees

 

  • Raw or undercooked food

    Seafood, meat, and eggs can harbor infection-causing bacteria and parasites. This isn’t good for you or your baby. So hold off on those raw food until after your pregnancy is over.

 

  • Alcohol

    No amount of alcohol has been shown to be safe during your pregnancy. Excessive drinking can even cause complications such as fetal alcohol syndrome. 

 

  • The litter box

    A parasite that causes an infection called toxoplasmosis can come from cat feces. In early pregnancy, the complications can be more severe than in your later pregnancy, but there is still a chance for vision, hearing, and others.

 

  • Cigarettes and marijuana use

    Smoking in any form can increase the risk of complications during your pregnancy, like low birth weight or premature delivery.

 

  • Driving

While driving during pregnancy is safe for most women, severe fatigue and nausea may cause problems. For more details about when it is and isn’t safe to drive, check out this helpful resource.

The first trimester has its ups and downs. One of the ups is that you are expecting a child! That’s great news! But the symptoms can sometimes be a big down. Just remember that the second trimester generally brings complete relief or at least a lessening of your symptoms. So hang in there and try to focus on the wonderful light at the end of the tunnel.

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