Congratulations! Now that you find out you are pregnant and are into the first trimester, it is probably a whirlwind of emotions you are experiencing.
However, in the midst of ecstasy and confusion, it is crucial that you get into the flow of things quick, in order to ease into your pregnancy more seamlessly and help pave the way for your second and third trimester.
First trimester into your pregnancy and you will realise that there is already a list of things for mothers-to-be to follow. To help navigate your way through your first trimester, follow this guide of things you should do in your first trimester and you are ready to face first trimester head on!
1. Take prenatal vitamins
There is probably nothing more important than taking your prenatal vitamins at this stage of your pregnancy. Like a well-oiled machine, prenatal vitamins help kick off your pregnancy on the right note.
Prenatal vitamins contain essential daily vitamins and minerals such as folic acid and iron that are crucial for your baby’s development.
With folic acid lowering the risk of problems with baby’s brain and spine (neural tube defects), iron is another a vital component that aids with the development of placenta as well as fetus.
With iron producing more blood to supply oxygen to both you and your fetus, it is thus important to have sufficient iron in your body during the initial stages of your pregnancy.
Depending on your condition, it is advised to take 400 mcg folic acid every day for at least 1 month prior to and during your first trimester in order to help prepare for and set your pregnancy.
As always, you are thoroughly encouraged to speak to your gynecologist prior to trying for a baby to get a more accurate dosage when it comes to your prenatal vitamins.
2. Choose your OB/GYN
Then comes probably one of the most crucial things to do during your first trimester – choosing your OB/GYN. Considering how this decision will affect the course of your entire pregnancy, finding the right OB/GYN for you is much like saying ‘yes’ to the dress.
You need to do your research and be able to sit well with your decision. Because ultimately, your OB/GYN will see your pregnancy from start to end and you would have to work closely with him or her during your entire gestation period.
As a general guide, start off by asking yourself what’s important to you. For some, it is all about the experience of the OB/GYN that they are looking out for and for others, it is the need for an emotional connection with their health provider, that they deem vital.
Essentially, there is no right or wrong when it comes to choosing your OB/GYN but be forewarned that what works wonders for one does not necessarily guarantee the same experience for another. It all boils down to personal preference.
Depending on reviews and personal experiences from mothers would be helpful when narrowing down your options since they give you a rough idea of what to expect with a particular OB/GYN. Regardless of your choice, be sure to do your homework before deciding upon your OB/GYN!
3. Book your first visit to your OB/GYN
Upon deciding on your OB/GYN, it is time to book your first visit with your gynecologist. Your first visit to your OB/GYN would probably be as exciting as it is nerve-racking.
Typically, your first OB/GYN visit would be between week 6 and week 8 of your pregnancy after you spot the first few symptoms of pregnancy.
In case you curl up into a ball of emotions prior to your first trip to the OB/GYN, here’re some things you can expect the first time you see your OB/GYN.
One thing you can definitely expect is a thorough check-up. From the basics of measuring blood pressure, height and weight, doing bloodwork and urine test, to the more thorough Pap smear and pelvic examination where your OB/GYN assess the size of your uterus and pelvis, your first OB/GYN would probably feel very much like your regular health screening.
After the multitude of tests is conducted, your OB/GYN, upon confirming your pregnancy, would give you an EDD before walking you through a checklist of to-dos, to guide you along your pregnancy.
And then, comes probably the most exciting part of the visit – ultrasound. Considering your baby is the size of a blueberry at week 7, there might not be much to see during the ultrasound.
However, knowing that a little gem is growing inside of you would be enough to make that ultrasound the highlight of your first visit to the OB/GYN.
4. Quit your vices
One of the best things you can do for both you and your growing baby in the first trimester is to quit your vices. Obvious as this may sound, quitting those vices may not be as easy as it sounds.
Now that you’re officially adulting and responsible for another human being, it’s time to toss that cigarette and chuck (not chug) those bottles of beer sitting in your fridge. Also, sorry to be a Debbie Downer, but now that you are pregnant, coffee (caffeine) has also officially made it to the unacceptable side of the list of vices.
Need a little nudge to help you quit your vices?
How about cigarettes limit the blood flow through the placenta which is your baby’s only source of nutrients and increases the chance Sudden Infant Death Syndrome?
Or that alcohol consumption during your gestation period increases your risk of miscarriage, premature birth and even fetal alcohol syndrome?
Or perhaps consumption of high levels of caffeine results in your baby’s low birth weight and future health complications?
It is especially crucial that you quit your vices by the time you find out you are pregnant in your first trimester as this is the gestational period where pregnancy may be more unstable, so as to prevent further complications in the later stages of your pregnancy.
5. Do a budget planning with your partner
Now that you are having a new addition to the family, it’s time to talk money. Needless to say, having a baby would incur a sum of money and this is why, doing a budget plan is one of the wisest things you should do during your first trimester.
As sensitive as it is to broach the topic on money, it is equally crucial to have this talk with your partner. From the monthly OB/GYN visits to the delivery of the little one, you might be looking at approximately $14,000.
And all the way through your baby’s infant years, you might be looking at approximately $32,000. As for toddler years, you should be looking at around $28,000.
If the numbers scare you, well, don’t be. All you need to do is to sit down with your partner and come up with a healthy budget plan.
And once you have gotten around to your budget plan, actively follow this plan and make sure to stick to it. The earlier you get started with your finances, the easier the road ahead would be.
All you need is discipline with your finances and you will, at the very least, be ready (financially) for when baby arrives.
6. Reading up on motherhood
They say that ‘Knowledge is power’ and this could not be more applicable to new parents. Being a parent is definitely foreign territory for first time parents and so, there might be a steep learning curve for many of us.
However, maneuvering your way through parenthood doesn’t always have to be a trial and error process since there have been several tried and tested ways to help you along in your journey into parenthood.
With the multitude of books on parenthood out in the market, start delving into them as soon as you can. The more you read, the more you’ll be rewarded. Absorb as many tips and tricks to not only physically, but mentally prepare yourself for when baby arrives
You might think that reading up on motherhood might be too premature in the first trimester, however, getting as much information as you can sets you up on the right track for this new phase in your life and this will help to set your heart at ease!
7. Do pelvic floor exercise
Unfortunately, pregnancy is not your get-out-of-jail (exercise) card. Actually, conversely, pregnancy is the time you need to get moving and get your pelvic floor exercises in, to ensure a healthy and easier pregnancy and delivery.
Pelvic floor exercises are one of the must-dos in your first trimester as this exercise trains your muscle, preparing and helping your body cope with the growing weight of the little one as you progress into the later stages of your pregnancy.
Not only does pelvic floor exercise prepare you for delivery, it also helps your nether regions snap back more easily after birth.
The best part of pelvic floor exercises is that you can do it anywhere and everywhere (you can even do it while reading this article!)
Here are some pelvic floor exercises you can start engaging in!
- Sit in a comfortable position. Contract your pelvic floor muscle (imagine stopping your urine flow)
- Contract and tighten your muscle as much as possible
- Hold in that position for 3-5 seconds
- Release and rest for 3-5 seconds
- Repeat for 10 sets
- Stand feet hip-with distance apart
- Bend your knees, bring your buttocks down, towards the floor
- Keep your back straight and lean slightly forward
- Ensure that your knees are in line with your toes
- Hold in that position for 5-7 seconds as you tighten your glutes and pelvic wall
- Slowly return to standing position
- Repeat for 10 sets
- Lie down on your back and bend your knees.
- Place your feet flat on the floor hip-width distance apart.
- Lift your buttock off the ground
- Contract your glutes and pelvic floor muscle
- Hold in that position for 5-8 seconds
- Relax your glutes and pelvic floor muscles as you lower your buttock to the ground
- Repeat for 10 sets
8. Get enough sleep
First trimester in and you should grab every sleeping opportunity you get because you will soon come to notice that sleep is a luxury after the arrival of the little one.
With baby needing your attention for the most part, you might be so tired, you’ll be sleeping with your eyes open.
But not only is it a good idea to chalk up as much sleep to prepare for the massive sleep debt later, sleep during pregnancy is crucial as it helps regulate growth hormone levels which determine the shape, size and development of your fetus.
As you progress into the later stage of your pregnancy when your belly starts to show, you will have to adopt the SOS (Sleep On Side (left side to be more specific)) position, as this position helps to increase the amount of blood and nutrients that reach the placenta and your baby.
And so, one of the things you should do in the first trimester is to familiarize with SOS because you might as well get used to the position early so when the time comes, you are able to sneak in more sleep time.
9. Learn to battle your nausea relief
Morning sickness is one of the surest signs of pregnancy and definitely one of the most difficult symptoms to deal with during the first trimester.
Misleadingly, unlike what the name suggests, morning sickness does not only visit in the mornings, as many pregnant mothers can attest to, but rather, they can hit you anytime of the day.
As such, it is important for you to find ways to keep the nausea at bay. Trial and error the types of food and remedy that can help ease your nausea and be sure to keep them within reach at all times.
You may find that you have to sieve through a variety of foods to find your magic remedy and they can range anywhere from potato chips to curry noodle soup.
For many mothers, foods such as mints, lemon, ginger, sour plum and herbal teas have helped curb morning sickness or at the very least, reduce its frequency.
More than just foods, there are some tips and tricks to combat morning sickness. Keeping your omega 3 fatty acids, Vitamin A and Vitamin B levels higher, eating smaller and more frequent meals as well as staying away from sweet foods have also proven to reduce the effects of morning sickness.
10. Adopt a healthier diet
Now that you are pregnant, what you eat has more consequences than before. Because your baby takes in whatever you eat, eating healthy now becomes a huge responsibility you need to take on.
It’s time to do away with raw foods such as sashimi and salad as well as processed junk foods such as your potato chips and canned foods and welcome a range of healthy food choices.
Especially in your first trimester where nutrition is key, foods that consume calcium, iron, vitamin A, vitamin B, vitamin C, vitamin E, vitamin K, protein, potassium, folate and omega 3 fatty acids are your best friends.
As such, adopting a healthier diet is one of the key things you should do in your first trimester.
Also, be careful not to misunderstand the term ‘eating for two’. It isn’t two portions that you should be consuming because let’s be real, the little one weighs only about 28 grams in the first trimester and it’s impossible that you are eating for 2 (grown adult portions)!
It is crucial to keep a healthy and steady weight gain throughout your pregnancy to avoid any complications along the way.
11. Get in touch with your insurance agent
As you prepare for your pregnancy journey ahead, one of the most important things to do in your first trimester is to get in touch with your insurance agent.
Maternity insurance is highly crucial as it prepares and protects you financially.
As much as we pray and hope for a smooth pregnancy, there are times we may be unprepared for what lies ahead.
Thus, it is important that you are covered adequately during the course of your pregnancy up until delivery. Insurance covers you in the unfortunate event of death, complication, congenital illnesses etc.
As different insurance companies have different maternity plans, it is only wise to speak to your insurance agent to understand the different coverages in order to stay protected throughout your pregnancy.
12. Change your wardrobe
It is no secret that your body is going to change with pregnancy, and it might not be the change you are looking forward to the most.
With the first trimester being the most awkward phase in your pregnancy – walking around with a constant bulge that looks more like you have eaten a little too much for lunch than actually being pregnant, and not to mention, the constant feeling of being bloated, wearing your usual tight-fitting clothes may add to unnecessary stress.
Do yourself a favour and save yourself the frustration by getting a wardrobe overhaul in your first trimester.
Getting a new wardrobe doesn’t have to be a depressing. Think of it as a seasonal trend! Go crazy with colours and accessories.
More importantly, with your new wardrobe of comfortable maternity clothes, you wouldn’t have to stress as much about the changes your body undergo. Afterall, out of sight, out of mind!
13. Start moisturizing
Day by day, as the little one grows inside of you, you will see a gradual expansion of your belly. The constant growth of your belly coupled with increase weight gain during your pregnancy causes the collagen and elastin to stretch and snap and this ultimately causes the much-dreaded appearance of stretch marks.
As such, it is important to start moisturing as early as the first trimester to reduce the development of stretch marks. Although your belly is probably barely showing in the first trimester, it is key to moisturise the areas where stretch marks most likely appear – belly, lower back, breast, hips and thighs.
It is important to moisturize your skin as this helps to maintain the integrity of your skin’s elasticity and thus, makes it less likely to snap and tear when your body starts to grow and expand.
So, start your moisturising early with bio-oil, shea butter, vitamin E or even coconut oil and you will be rewarded for your hard work because after all, prevention is better than cure!
Things to do in the first trimester
When it comes to pregnancy (especially if it’s your first), it is always better to be one step ahead. Plan ahead and get into the hang of pregnancy with the list of things-to-do in your first trimester and you will feel a lot more settled and assured.
While pregnancy has its list of surprises, let’s keep the surprises on the positive side and all you need to do, is to follow the checklist of things you should do in your first trimester and you will be more than ready to take on the second trimester!