The Ultimate First Trimester Checklist - Pregnancy Checklist - Checklist for First Trimester (1)
Pregnancy

First Trimester Checklist: The To-Do List Every Pregnant Mama Should Have

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When I found out that I was pregnant, honestly I couldn’t believe it. I mean, I said I wanted to be pregnant. I tried hard enough to get pregnant, but when it actually happened it just wouldn’t click. The idea of a tiny life growing inside me blew my mind.

The next thought that bubbled up was, “What do I do now?”

I was vaguely aware that I should tell my husband and probably set up a doctor’s appointment, but that was pretty much it. If you’re like me and feel like a complete newb at this whole pregnancy thing, you are not alone. We’ve all been there!

This first trimester checklist will tell you exactly what you need to do for this early stage of pregnancy.

Are you ready, Mama? Let’s dive into the world of pregnancy!

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This post may contain affiliate links. If you make a purchase from one of the links I will make a small commission at no charge to you. I only recommend what I trust. Blunders in Babyland does not diagnose, treat, or give out any professional advice for any medical conditions.

Confirm Your Pregnancy with Your Provider

The first and most important of your first trimester to dos: make sure you’re actually pregnant!

After you’ve taken a few (or several) home pregnancy tests, you’ll want to immediately schedule a visit with your provider. She will most likely confirm your pregnancy with a urine test, but she might try to kill a few birds with one stone by doing a blood test as well.

If you’ve chosen that practitioner as your prenatal provider, you’ll be directed to schedule your first trimester prenatal visits.

If you haven’t decided, that’s your next task.

Choose a Provider: Midwives vs. OB-GYN

Choosing the type of provider you’ll see for the remainder of your pregnancy is a critical decision. Despite what people say, as long as you choose a qualified professional whose ideals align with yours, there is not a right or wrong choice.

Midwife

To be perfectly honest, I didn’t even know what a midwife was until I got pregnant. I envisioned this medieval woman dressed in a white apron who was only brought in on the final hour of my labor.

In reality, a midwife is medical professional (usually a certified nurse) specifically trained to help women through the entire birthing process. From first trimester to the postpartum recovery, she’s there to guide you, answer whatever questions you might have, and help you experience pregnancy your way.

By definition, midwives deliver a personal touch that doctors most can’t. A midwife prenatal visit is usually longer, with an emphasis on personal, emotional care. Typically, using a midwife for the duration of your pregnancy is less expensive than a family doctor or an obstetrician.

OB-GYN & Family Doctors

But don’t discount family doctors and OB-GYNs quite yet!

Obstetricians are experts in the field of women’s reproductive health, pregnancy, and childbirth. They will be your greatest asset for dealing with any complications you might encounter along the way. Ideally, your doctor will be able to spot severe conditions before they become a problem and provide any medical intervention necessary.

If you or your family has a history of high blood pressure, heart defects, or diabetes, you’ll want to seek out an obstetrician.

While many family doctors may not specialize in women’s healthcare, they are still well-qualified to help with your pregnancy. Many women feel comfortable using their family doctor because of the trust and rapport already developed.

Schedule Your Prenatal Visits

Once you’ve confirmed your pregnancy and selected a provider, you should expect to attend a prenatal visit every four weeks until the third trimester.

For the most part, prenatal visits just record your vitals and the progress of your pregnancy. Since the first trimester is short, you’ll most likely only have two (albeit very exciting) prenatal appointments.

  • 8 Weeks – This is the first prenatal visit after you confirm your pregnancy. Essentially, your doctor will give you a physical, check your vitals, review your medical history, perform a pap smear, and take a few blood tests.  
  • 12 Weeks – This is the exciting one: your first ultrasound. Your provider’s goal is to confirm your baby’s heartbeat and establish a preliminary due date. Some doctors combine the ultrasound with a prenatal visit while others schedule them as two separate appointments. Unfortunately, your first ultrasound will mostly like be trans-vaginal (i.e., they will be sticking the wand where the sun don’t shine…).

The First Trimester Screening

A genetic screening is usually performed at the 12 week visit. The test determines your risk of carrying a baby with a genetic disorder such as down syndrome or congenital heart defects.

At this stage, the screening is non-invasive, and only takes a small blood sample and a few measurements of your baby’s neck during the ultrasound. It is not 100% accurate, but it is does a pretty good job of identifying when a mom is carrying a baby with down syndrome.

Opting in for a genetic screening is a completely personal decision.

It can give you the chance to prepare emotionally and financially for a child with special needs. Or, it can put a black cloud over your pregnancy.

Personally, my husband and I opted out of the genetic screening. If we did get a positive, we didn’t want to spend the rest of the pregnancy worrying about something we couldn’t change.

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First Trimester Checklist- First Trimester To dos

Buy Your First Trimester Must-Haves

Now that we have the medical necessities taken care of, it’s time to move on to the more fun aspects of your first trimester to-do list. Shopping! Most of the items you need, you don’t even have to leave the house for.

Prenatal Vitamins

A prenatal vitamin is the most important item on this first trimester checklist! Regularly taking a  prenatal vitamin can dramatically reduce the chances of birth defects, nausea (for you), preterm labor, and even autism.

Not only that, vitamins keep you in tip top shape.

Having said that, not all prenatal vitamins are created equal. Make sure that your prenatal vitamin is highly-rated and contains an ample portion of folic acid. Personally, I loved the Rainbow Light Prenatal Multivitamin. It was the only prenatal multivitamin that didn’t make me nauseous!

An Organizer

You’ve probably heard the jokes about pregnancy brain, but believe me, it’s an actual thing. Whether it’s exhaustion, hormones, or the busyness of pregnancy, a lot of stuff is going to fall off your mental radar. Buying an organizer or planner can keep you on track.

Ideally, you’ll need an organizer that can track all of your prenatal appointments, pregnancy todo lists, and provider contact information.

My favorite pregnancy planner is the Bump Smart Nesting Planner. With over 190+ pages of checklists, pregnancy journal pages, and organization templates, it’s easy to keep everything in one place and carefully documented.

I also loved that it included goodies that go beyond pregnancy, like the Breastfeeding Handbook (one of my favorite resources!), baby milestone printables, interview worksheets, and baby growth trackers.

If you’re interested, you can find the Bump Smart Nesting Planner here.

Leggings

The best (and least expensive) investment you can make during your pregnancy. They’re comfortable and they’ll grow with you. A good pair of leggings will last until the third trimester!

Nausea Remedies

If you haven’t already, get ready for morning sickness. Typically morning sickness hits most women around six weeks  and lasts right up until the second trimester. Ginger ail, saltines, water, and ginger tea are your classic home remedies.

Having said that, several moms swear by morning sickness products like Natural Peppermint Tummy Drops and the Morning Sickness Candy by Pink Stork.

Maternity Bras

You may not be producing milk yet, but that doesn’t mean that your breasts aren’t preparing for it. As your pregnancy progresses, your breasts will begin to change and grow.

(If you still have any fond memories your puberty days, it kind of feels like that.)

While you may not need maternity bra right now, at least get one without the underwire.

Start a Pregnancy Journal

You’ll treasure your pregnancy journal forever, and eventually so will your little one.

A pregnancy journal ideally begins from conception to birth. It can be prompts or devotionals, or completely free-form. You can simply record the events leading to your little one’s birth, or write a series of personalized letters.

If you’re looking for suggestions, the Nesting Planner I mentioned above has a pregnancy journal included. My favorite pregnancy devotional was the Waiting in Wonder: Growing in Faith While You’re Expecting pregnancy devotional. The prompts and associated verses were so brief yet thought-provoking. I truly believe that it helped me adjust emotionally to the idea of motherhood.

Confirm Your Insurance Coverage

Do NOT try to pay for pregnancy wholly from your own pocket!

Even if you don’t have insurance, there are so many resources available to assist with your pregnancy. Not only does pregnancy open a special enrollment period for insurance, but you can apply for Medicaid as well. Some hospitals and birthing centers offer financial assistance as well.

If you do have insurance, now is a good time to double-check your coverage. Get your insurance provider on the line and double-check these things:

  • Co-pay
  • Deductibles
  • Are childbirth classes covered?
  • Are you eligible to receive a free breast pump?
  • How many ultrasounds can you have?
  • Coverage for doulas and midwives vs. doctors
  • Coverage for birthing centers vs. hospitals

Adjust Your Lifestyle

If you’ve ever wanted to get into a healthier routine, pregnancy provides the perfect inspiration! The remainder of this pregnancy checklist focuses on creating a better environment for baby to grow in and a happier, more fulfilling pregnancy for you.

So, let’s align your lifestyle choices with your condition!

Work out routine

Frequent, low-impact exercise routines are best for pregnancy.  If you’re already well-accustomed to a more intense work out routine, you might be able to get away with moderate activity (such as jogging or weight-lifting) with your provider’s permission.

A good rule of thumb is to keep your heart rate between 60-70% of your maximum if you’re used to rigorous exercise, and 70-90% if you are.

Diet

Everything you eat gets back to your baby in some form or another. So, make sure that you’re eating a balanced diet. A steady diet of whole foods like fruit, meat, vegetables, whole grains, and even some fish can help your baby develop and make your pregnancy easier.

(If you’re still looking for a childbirth course, The Mama Natural Birth Course has a great, easy-to-follow pregnancy diet included!)

Having said that, you should also check out what foods you need to avoid during pregnancy.

Drink LOTS of Water

Water is the main way your body gets nutrients to your baby. Not only is it essential for a healthy pregnancy, but it’s a great cure for general aches and pains and even nausea. Try to drink between 8-10 8 ounce glasses of water a day.

Stop Smoking and Drinking Alcohol

Smoking is linked to several undesirable conditions for your baby, including an increased risk of SIDS, brain damage and addiction due to nicotine, and low birth weight. Alcohol comes with several risks as well, including fetal alcohol syndrome, mental disabilities, and physical abnormalities.

I don’t mean to scare you, Mama, but if you ever needed motivation to kick these habits, the time is right now!

Sleep

You might think it’s funny that sleep is on a pregnancy checklist, but hopefully that’s an indication of how ridiculously important it is.

Not only does a little extra sleep promote fetal development, but it will make you feel way better. During the first trimester, your body will be producing progesterone like crazy. The side-effect is often exhaustion.

So, it’s totally okay to schedule in a nap during your lunch hour. In fact, you’re even encouraged to.

Caffeine

As a fellow caffeine addict, it pains me to tell you this…but you’re going to have to cut down on the coffee. Too much caffeine may be linked to an increased risk of miscarriage. Some providers say that 300mg (about two cups of coffee) is fine, but all agree that 200mg (approx. 12 oz) is a safe number.

Read Up on Pregnancy

You picked a great time to get pregnant. In this modern world, there are so many {free} resources available to help you navigate through your pregnancy. The more you know, the more prepared you’ll feel, the more confident you’ll be when baby arrives.

Research and Save Up for Pregnancy Classes

Most experts recommend enrolling in childbirth classes during the second trimester and attending at the beginning of the third. At least check out the pregnancy classes offered in your area. If they don’t look so hot, you should know that online pregnancy classes are becoming increasingly popular due to their convenience and reduced cost.

RELATED POST: The Ultimate Guide to Pregnancy Classes: What You Need to Take and When

Buy Some Pregnancy Books

Before I found out about online pregnancy classes, I stocked up on tons of pregnancy books.

“Pregnancy” books can cover all aspects of early motherhood, including pregnancy, childbirth, breastfeeding, infant care, infant sleep, and much more.

Here are just a few of my favorite pregnancy books:

Free Pregnancy Mini-Courses/ Email Lists

These free resources are developed by experts and bloggers that want to help you become as informed as possible about your pregnancy. It can also help you get connected with excellent products, people, and tips to make motherhood easier.

Here are some free pregnancy e-courses and email lists you need to check out:

Plan Your Pregnancy Announcement

Okay, this one probably goes without saying. I bet you’re already trying to figure out how you’re going to announce your baby to the world!

Most families wait until 12 weeks to announce a pregnancy. At that point, your chance of a miscarriage dramatically reduces and you’ll have some nice ultrasound photos to share. Having said that, there is absolutely nothing wrong with announcing before that point. If you don’t think you can contain your joy, then by all means, shout it from the rooftops!

There are so many cool ways to announce your pregnancy on social media! Just find one that fits your vibe and go for it.

10 Important Things You Need to Do During the First Trimester

Adjust Your Budget

There is one last piece of business you should add to your checklist for the first trimester: your family budget.

If you’re anything like me, the financial aspect of pregnancy has you a little worried. Those hospital bills will start to trickle in, you’ll discover exactly how expensive baby gear actually is…it just hits hard.

While budgeting is an important aspect of pregnancy, try not to worry about your finances too much. You’ll find that the money actually is there, hiding in places you hadn’t noticed before.

If you start making a few adjustments now, you absolutely can make it through this pregnancy without financial loss.

You can pay for the extras by temporarily giving up a few luxuries, working just a couple more hours, or creating a HSA spending account to take advantage of tax-free dollars.

During my own pregnancy, I started working online to bring in a few hundred dollars a month. This might not seem like much, but it can pay for those ultrasounds and pregnancy classes.

Here are a few essential factors you should look at when creating your pregnancy budget:

RELATED POST: 17 Legitimate Pregnancy Freebies You’ll Actually Use

Other First Trimester To-Dos:

  • Start taking baby bump pics
  • Sign up for a baby registry (I love Target and Amazon on the most!)
  • Join a prenatal yoga class
  • Investigate your company’s maternity leave policy
  • Buy your first baby outfit
  • Start talking to your baby

Okay, Mama!

Hopefully after reading this checklist for the first trimester, you have a fair idea of what you have some semblance of a game-plan.

Once you get the preliminary financial and medical logistics completed, your main priority should be keeping healthy. Give yourself permission to slow down and focus on being the healthiest you can be. Relax, allow yourself time to emotionally adjust to being a mother!

And for those nagging questions and unknowns?

We have so many resources for you here. I created Blunders in Babyland for new moms just like you that want to enjoy early motherhood to its fullest.

But before you go, I want to hear your story. Do not be shy. Tell me about your pregnancy so far. Is it what you expected? How did you come to be pregnant? What are your biggest concerns? What’s your biggest joy so far?

Let me know in the comments below! 

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