The *Essential* First Trimester Checklist (for First Time Moms)

The Ultimate First Trimester Checklist

Whether you’re having your first baby or your third, a first trimester checklist is definitely an essential for expecting mamas.

Not only will having a plan for your first trimester help you take the guesswork out of things, but you’ll be able to get your pregnancy journey started off with grace and ease, too. 

Let’s dive in – 

Baby

The first set of first trimester checklist to-dos is all about baby:

01. Tell your partner, family and close friends

Of course, one of the most *exciting* parts of finding out you’re pregnant, is getting to break the news.

When my hubby and I were expecting, we told his side of the family at Thanksgiving dinner.

We typically bring a dessert, and this time, we brought a box of cinnamon buns, and taped an ultrasound photo to the inside of the box and wrote “+1 in the oven – March 2021.

When dessert was served and everything was being set out, my hubby’s aunt opened the box and squealed – so I’d say it was a success.

If you wanted to do something similar, you could get a set of custom sugar cookies made that share the news.

I thought this idea was so cute, I put together a whole collection of pregnancy announcement cookie designs that are seriously too cute.

02. Plan your pregnancy announcement

After you’ve personally told your closest friends and family, you can find a fun way to announce that you’re expecting with your connections that you don’t necessarily talk to as regularly, usually on social media (here’s my list of 185+ cute, funny and unique social media caption ideas for your Instagram!).

If you don’t have anything planned yet, check out these cute pregnancy announcement photo ideas that I *know* will inspire you.

03. Start your baby name list

This may very well be the most fun and exciting first trimester to-do.

Choosing a baby name is such a special, meaningful task that so much thought and care goes into.

I *love* baby names.

In fact, half of all of the articles on this site are dedicated to baby names!

Take a peek at my baby name lists to see if there’s any that you can start your list with – here are my baby name lists for girls, and baby name lists for boys.

04. Read these pregnancy books

Out of all of the baby books I’ve read, here are the ones I recommend:

  • Cribsheet: Author Emily Oster will help you become confident in the way you want to parent your child, even in the early years.
  • Happiest Baby: Baby expert Dr. Harvey Karp walks you through her proven methods to help you navigate the often untalked about fourth trimester.
  • The Montessori Baby: Gleaning from the amazing Maria Montessori, this book will guide you through raising your baby with a surprising sense of calm, love, insight, and respect.
  • The Book You Wish Your Parents Had Read: This relationship-based book helps you look within at your own upbringing while tuning into how you can support your child and your partner.
  • What To Expect When You’re Expecting: A long-standing best-seller and one of the most recommended books ever, this gem walks you through every single month of pregnancy.
  • Baby Wise: Understand your baby’s sleep and feeding patterns in a way that unlocks even more joys during the early months after delivery.

Or, keep all of these books on hand and in one place with a super handy Audible subscription!

05. Download these pregnancy apps

The digital age we find ourselves in is a double-edged sword, isn’t it?

From internet “trolls” to Instagram addiction, there are definitely some down sides to it all, but there are also some very helpful and wonderful aspects of it, too.

In this case, these helpful pregnancy apps that were totally essential for me:

  • Juna – the Juna app was created by another mama with a background in health & fitness, who realized the need for a “one-stop shop” spot for moms for pregnancy and postpartum nutrition and exercise.
  • ExpectfulPregnancy is such a challenging journey for many (it sure was for me!). From the first time you hear that little heartbeat, you feel such a special connection with your little one – and boy, is it ever easy to start worrying. Expectful was such an *essential* for me during my pregnancy! Expectful is a guided meditation app created for mamas trying to conceive, through the stages of pregnancy and postpartum. With a whole library of different guided meditation audio tracks, you can choose from different lengths – 5 minutes, 10 minutes, or 20 minutes, and a number of different focuses, too, like managing anxiety, navigating uncertain times, overcoming mom guilt and so much more. Guys, it is so good – check it out here.
  • What to ExpectOnce you find out you’re pregnant, you’re going to want to download a pregnancy app in order to help you keep track of how far along you are, navigate symptoms, learn about your baby’s development and of course – get the regular updates about which fruit or vegetable your baby most resembles that week. I tried out a few and landed on the What To Expect app.

Medical

Next up, here’s what to add to your first trimester checklist from a medical perspective:

06. Start taking a prenatal vitamin

Even if you’re healthy, taking a prenatal vitamin can have a great affect on your pregnancy.

There are staple vitamins and minerals that can help such as iron, which supports the development of the placenta.

It also helps support the making of blood that helps supply oxygen to your baby in the womb.

07. Book a prenatal doctor’s appointment

Most doctors suggest that you book your first prenatal appointment between six and eight weeks.

During this appointment, you can expect to have your pregnancy verified and in some cases get an ultrasound.

You’ll also answer a variety of questions to determine if you’ll be considered low or high risk.

08. Go for your dating ultrasound

If you didn’t have a dating ultrasound during your first appointment, your doctor may schedule you for one at a different time.

The dating ultrasound will help determine how far along you are and check for normal growth of the your baby.

09. Learn the signs of a pregnancy problem

Another aspect of your first prenatal appointment is your doctor explaining the signs of problems or complications that you should be aware of.

In most cases these include period-like bleeding, severe abdominal pains, leaky fluids or discharge with a foul smell, and persistent sickness.

If you’re ever in doubt, it is always a good idea to contact your primary care physician immediately.

Safety

While this article is not medical advice and I am not a medical professional, here are some important things to add to your first trimester checklist:

10. Stop drinking & smoking

Drinking and smoking during pregnancy (especially the first trimester) is one of the top causes for birth-related issues including stillbirth and SIDS.

Try to stop drinking and smoking as soon as you find out that you’re expecting.

If it’s too hard, talk to your doctor as they’ll be able to provide resources to help you quit.

11. Limit your caffeine intake

According to the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG), it is recommended that your caffeine intake be limited to 12 ounces or less per day.

Too much caffeine has been known to cause birth defects and other reproductive problems.

12. Learn which foods to avoid

Pregnancy can sometimes bring all kinds of cravings, but not all foods are safe for consumption while carrying your precious cargo.

For different reasons, there are certain foods to put on the back burner until your bundle of joy has made their grand arrival.

Foods to avoid during pregnancy: 

  • kombucha
  • hollandaise (eggs Benedict)
  • runny eggs
  • fresh-pressed juices
  • fresh sprouts (alfalfa sprouts)
  • wine, spirits, beer
  • steak (should be well-done)
  • bagged salad mixes
  • deli meats
  • fish or seafood high in mercury

13. Learn which essential oils to avoid

Essential oils are so amazing to have and use in life, but there are certain ones to stay clear of when expecting.

Be sure to familiarize yourself with how to use them if you decide to use them at all.

Essential oils to avoid while pregnant: 

  • peppermint
  • sage
  • tarragon
  • thyme
  • wintergreen

14. Learn which activities to avoid

Staying active throughout pregnancy is one of the best things you can do for you and your baby’s health; however, there are a few activities to stay clear of. 

Activities to be cautious of or avoid while pregnant: 

  • X-rays (including dental): Mention to any of your other healthcare providers that you are preggo.
  • Hot tubs: These can elevate your temp too much, so your time should be limited to 10 minutes or less increments.
  • Long, hot baths: Similar to hot tubs, you’ll want to limit your “hot” baths or completely replace them with warm baths instead.
  • Certain medications: The list isn’t very long, but here is a good reference to start with. Any other medications you are currently taking or considering should be cleared by your doctor.
  • Travel, after 36 weeks: If traveling is on your schedule after 36 weeks, be sure to talk to your doc.

Self Care

And lastly, here are the some important self-care to-dos for your first trimester checklist:

15. Sleep

Struggling with pregnancy insomnia?

I did too.

Here’s the simple night routine that I swore by: 9+ Simple Pregnancy Insomnia Remedies That Worked For Me

Most mamas agree that you can get some of the best sleep during the first trimester, partly because your belly hasn’t started taking up its own space.

However, as I mentioned above, pregnancy insomnia is real!

To help improve your sleep there are a few things you can do.

16. Hydrate

Staying hydrated is important for your body’s levels and that of your growing little one. A rule of thumb to keep in mind is to do most of your water drinking throughout the day and cutting it by dinner time so you’re not up using the restroom throughout the night. 

These super cute water bottles (32 oz and 64 oz) are perfect to keep on hand to monitor your water intake.

17. Exercise

Exercise has so many benefits for you and your growing little one.

Not only will it keep you healthy, but you’ll also help prepare your body for natural labor and delivery.

Exercising regularly can also help with some of that sleep insomnia! 🥱

First Trimester Checklist: TL;DR

Be sure to save this first trimester checklist and refer to it as you begin navigating the joys of pregnancy.

This is such an exciting time in life.

If I can make one other suggestion – start a pregnancy diary or journal and document your days, weeks, and months ahead.

It will become an amazing keepsake that you can show your child once they get older.

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