Not sure what to do now that you’re pregnant? 

first trimester checklist mockup

The first trimester checklist will make sure that you do the most important things first before starting on the fun things! 

The Best First Trimester Checklist For A Stress-Free Pregnancy

This first trimester pregnancy checklist is simple yet effective! Grab the free printable checklist so you’ll know exactly what to do when pregnant for the first time.

pregnant woman holding belly; the best first trimester checklist for a stress-free pregnancy

You’re pregnant, now what? 

Well first, congratulations! Pregnancy is an exciting journey full of ups and downs. 

The first trimester, which starts at week 1 and lasts through week 13, may have more downs than ups. 

Nausea, fatigue, breast tenderness, and plenty of other pregnancy symptoms are raging. But try not to let them overshadow this exciting time. 

Since I’m a Type A personality, I love knowing exactly what needs to be done and when to do it. This first trimester checklist is everything you should attempt to get completed and out of the way if you’re feeling up to it. 

Each trimester there’s more and more to do. Instead of waiting until your third trimester and getting overwhelmed about everything that needs to be done, the best approach is to spread these tasks over each trimester which is what I’ve done for you with these checklists. 

The important thing to remember is not to strive for perfection. You don’t have to complete every single item and you don’t need to stress yourself out if you don’t eat right or exercise every single day. 

Just do your best. 

Alrighty girlfriend, here’s the tasks you’ll want to get accomplished during your first trimester to make the rest of your pregnancy more manageable.

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1. Start prenatal vitamins 

Taking a prenatal vitamin in the first trimester has been proven to reduce the risk of neural tube defects like spina bifida and anencephaly. 

Before buying any prenatal vitamin, make a list of requirements so you’ll know what to look for out of the hundreds of options. 

My list looked something like this:

  • Easy to swallow
  • Take one pill a day
  • Plenty of iron
  • Contains DHA for healthy brain development
  • Vegetarian

I preferred a gummy, but many of the gummy prenatal vitamins don’t contain iron which is essential for your body to make extra blood for your baby. 

HERE is a great resource to help you choose the best prenatal vitamin that’ll give you and your baby the best start.

2. Choose your doctor or midwife 

This is a very important decision because you want to pick someone who you’re comfortable with and respects your decisions. 

I can’t tell you how many moms I’ve talked to who’s doctors have talked them out of trying natural childbirth or they felt pressured into having numerous medical interventions. 

Just remember that this decision isn’t final and you can change your practitioner at any point in your pregnancy. 

Also, remember that having a midwife is an option as well.

“Researchers found that C.N.M.s (certified nurse midwives) used 12.2% fewer interventions than physicians. The same study found that the women who saw midwives rather than Ob-Gyns had 4.8% fewer C-section births. Yet, more importantly, research has also shown that fetal and maternal outcomes are equally good when comparing Ob-Gyn and midwife births.”

Judy Koutsky via Parents.com Tweet

Check with your local Facebook groups to see what other moms have experienced with their doctor or midwife.

3. Schedule your first appointment

Your very first appointment may not be as fun as you anticipated. I found out I was pregnant at 3 weeks and had my first appointment when I was 6 weeks. 

What I didn’t know was that this was just a confirmation appointment with a nurse. They confirmed my pregnancy via a urine sample and gave me a bunch of paperwork to read through and educate myself on the pregnancy process. I also spoke with someone from the billing department to see what my insurance would cover and how much I would be responsible for. 

Definitely a buzz kill since I was expecting to get my first ultrasound. 

Many doctor’s offices don’t schedule ultrasounds until after 6 weeks to give your baby’s heart time to develop. They don’t want to freak out all the moms by doing ultrasounds before they can hear a heartbeat. 

My doctor’s office waits until 10 weeks to do the first ultrasound. That way the gestational sac and heartbeat have had plenty of time to develop making it much easier to find the heartbeat and they can go ahead and do genetic screening which we’ll talk about shortly.  

During this appointment you can expect:

  • A physical exam
  • Possibly a pap smear
  • Blood work
  • An in-depth medical history
  • An ultrasound to confirm a heartbeat and estimate your due date
  • Discuss genetic testing

Quick tip: If you have any questions write them down so you don’t forget once you get to your appointment.

4. Think about genetic testing

Genetic testing is done to help you and your practitioner prepare for any genetic disorders your baby may have.  

The most common screening is called a nuchal translucency screening. This is done via ultrasound between 10 and 13 weeks to look for Down syndrome or any congenital heart defects. 

Another genetic test that may be offered is called the “quad” blood test. This is done via blood draw and tests for Down syndrome, trisomy 18, and neural tube defects. It’s usually done between 15 and 22 weeks (your second trimester) so it’s important to start researching to see if you want this test done. (source)

These are the only 2 genetic tests (or screening) I had done. Both came back normal so I didn’t need any further testing.

5. Check with your health insurance

If you don’t have health insurance, now is the time to start looking into different health insurance policies to find the best plan that you can afford and offers the most benefits. 

Pay close attention to your premiums (how much you’ll pay a month) and your co-insurance (how much you’ll pay each time you visit the doctor) so you won’t be paying a ton of money every month and at every doctor’s visit. 

Also, speak with either your doctor’s office or your insurance company so you can figure out what they’ll cover and what you’ll be responsible for. Luckily, my clinic does this for their patients so this process was very easy and straightforward.

Quick tip: Specifically ask what will be covered as far as prenatal care, delivery costs, and the care for your new baby. This way you shouldn’t have any unexpected expenses.

6. Prepare financially 

It’s no secret that having a baby can be pretty expensive. Buying all of the baby gear, the endless doctor’s visits and other small necessities just keep adding up. 

This post HERE will help you estimate costs, find ways to save money and give you a list of the bare minimum essentials you’ll need for baby.

7. Learn pregnancy warning signs

The first trimester may have you full of anxiety and fear thinking about everything that could go wrong. 

It’s important to educate yourself on the warning signs that there may be a problem so you can get help as soon as possible. 

Here’s a few warning signs to look for:

  • Spotting or bleeding
  • Fever over 100.4
  • Cramping or severe abdominal pain
  • Nausea or vomiting so much you can’t keep anything down
  • Painful urination

Anytime you feel like something may be wrong trust your gut and call your doctor.

8. Start eating healthy 

Food is fueling your body just like gasoline fuels a car. When you fill yourself with crap you feel like crap, but when you fill yourself with amazingly healthy food you feel amazing!

During pregnancy, there are a few foods that are recommended for you to avoid due to the possibility of them containing bacteria, toxins, or parasites. 

These foods include:

  • Processed meats- hot dogs, lunch meats, deli meats
  • Raw eggs (ex. some cookie doughs)
  • Raw fish or shellfish (be cautious when ordering sushi)
  • Unwashed produce
  • Undercooked meat
  • Caffeine (limit to 200mg per day)
  • Junk food (processed foods)

Try to limit these foods in your diet as much as possible. 

If you eat a slice of deli meat the world isn’t gonna end so there’s no need to freak out. Just be cautious about how much of these foods you eat.

9. Exercise 

Getting about 30 minutes of exercise a day is very beneficial. Some of those benefits include:

  • Improved mood
  • Lower blood pressure
  • Less fatigue
  • Better sleep
  • Relief from constipation
  • Reduces risk of pregnancy and labor complications

Simple exercises such as taking a walk around the neighborhood or doing a prenatal workout on YouTube allows you to reap these amazing benefits. (source)

10. Stop changing kitty litter 

A lot of pregnant women probably have no idea that cat litter and cat feces contain a parasite that causes an infection known as toxoplasmosis. 

Although toxoplasmosis is rare, it’s a dangerous infection if you get it for the first time during pregnancy possibly causing you to have a stillbirth or miscarriage. (source)

Let someone else change the kitty litter during your pregnancy.

11. Make a dentist appointment

“Pregnant women are more susceptible to inflamed gums and gingivitis, so it’s important to get a cleaning and checkup with your dentist.” (source)

This can either be during the first trimester or second trimester but definitely make sure it gets done!

Quick tip: Make sure you tell them you’re pregnant so they don’t do x-rays or anything else that could harm your baby. 

12. Download a pregnancy app 

One of the exciting parts about pregnancy is downloading a pregnancy app and seeing how your baby is growing and developing each week. 

I used the What To Expect app and each week I would tell my husband what size fruit our baby was. 

“Aww babe she’s an Orange this week!” 

We would also watch the short videos every week showing you what body parts were developing. 

“Awww she’ll have toes this week!” 

You’ll cherish every moment and every developmental milestone.

13. Grab a pregnancy journal 

Pregnancy journals are exciting because you write down every time something new happens so you can go back and look at it later. 

You’d be surprised how much of those little details you’ll forget, like the first time you felt a kick, so writing them down in a journal will help you remember.

14. Start taking belly photos

This is something I wish I would’ve done during my pregnancy. 

I love looking on Instagram at the moms who take a picture every week and we can see how their belly changes throughout the pregnancy.

Even after a year I still go through my phone and look at the few baby bump pictures I have. It’s surprising how quickly your body changes from week to week.

15. Prepare your relationship 

If you haven’t had a discussion with your partner about parenting you’ll definitely want to bring up that conversation. 

Talk about your views on hot topic subjects like spanking and vaccines. Don’t shy away from these difficult conversations because they’ll need to be discussed at some point. 

What parenting styles did your parents use and what did you like or dislike about them? 

If this is the first time having this conversation it could get a bit frustrating. But it’s possible to respectfully disagree. If that happens, move on and talk about it at a later time.

16. Plan your babymoon 

A babymoon is the last vacation you’ll take before becoming a parent. 

Start planning this now so you can take the trip during your second trimester when your energy levels come back. Try not to wait until your third trimester when you’re belly is big and you’re uncomfortable.

Quick tip: Make sure your activities are safe to be done while pregnant.

17. Plan your announcement 

Most women wait until the second trimester to announce their pregnancy when the chance of miscarriage drops considerably. 

Take this trimester to decide how you want to announce your pregnancy to everyone. Maybe you want to do a cute pregnancy announcement on social media or you may only want to tell the people closest to you. 

The beauty is, you can do whatever you want. 

I posted a filtered Snapchat picture to Facebook with the caption “Baby girl arrives December 2018”. 👇

It can be as fancy or not fancy as you’d like!

Quick tip: Don’t forget to plan when you’ll tell your boss as well.

18. Think about baby names 

It’s only your first trimester so you have plenty of time to choose a name for your child. 

This is the time when you start getting ideas and inspiration from other names and keep a running list until you’re left with only one name. 

It took us until month 8 to decide on a name for our daughter. And we were still unsure but people wanted to get things monogrammed for the baby shower so we were just like “this name sounds good.” 

My friend didn’t name her daughter until a few hours after she was born. 

Don’t stress about this, you’ve got plenty of time.

Famous last words…

Well, there ya go! 

This first trimester checklist is meant to alleviate the stress and pregnancy to-do list overwhelm. 

If this creates more stress for you then don’t use it. 

I wish I would’ve been more organized during my pregnancy and got more done in the beginning rather than waiting until the third trimester to pack in as much as possible. 

Don’t be like me! 

If you don’t do anything else on this list at least start your prenatal vitamin and schedule your first appointment with a doctor or midwife. 

Everything else can be figured out along the way!

Not sure what to do now that you’re pregnant? 

first trimester checklist mockup

The first trimester checklist will make sure that you do the most important things first before starting on the fun things! 

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Welcome! I’m LaCresha…

Wife. Mother. Registered Nurse. Netflix Binge Watcher.

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