Congratulations on your pregnancy! The first trimester is an exciting, but often exhausting time. There is quite a bit to do and know during your first trimester, so use this list of 10 first trimester pregnancy tips to make it easier and set yourself up for an enjoyable second and third trimester!
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10 First Trimester Pregnancy Tips:
1. How to Choose a Prenatal Care Provider.
Your prenatal care will be close to a year in duration, from your first prenatal visit until your six-week postpartum visit.
Given the length of the relationship, you will have with your provider, you will want to make sure you feel comfortable from the start.
You will want to choose a physician or midwife who is experienced and has established a good reputation in your area among friends and family.
When choosing a doctor, you also want to choose a clinician who shares a similar philosophy and belief system about pregnancy and childbirth.
It may be hard to do at your first visit but you will want to think long-term to avoid any conflicts at the end of your pregnancy.
2. When to Make Your First Prenatal Appointment.
Once you know you are pregnant or think you may be pregnant, call the medical practice you plan to attend. The earlier you call the more appointment times you will have to choose from.
This will also get you an office appointment as soon as it is deemed necessary based on your particular situation. If you haven’t already when you call you will also be started on a prenatal vitamin.
Once you have your appointment, learn what you will need to know for your first prenatal visit (below).
How To Prepare for Your First Prenatal Visit
Your first prenatal visit will likely be your longest prenatal visit. The reason for this is because of the extensive amount of information you will cover at this visit.
There are a few very important things you will want to do to prepare for your first prenatal visit.
Being prepared will also allow time to talk about what is most important to you. (Of all the first-trimester pregnancy tips being prepared is by far the most important.)
Have the following list of items completed before your initial pregnancy visit:
- Make sure you have the paperwork for your first visit filled out as best you can ahead of time. You can save a tremendous amount of time if the information if you have researched and filled out the information to the best of your knowledge.
- Make sure you and your partner have the necessary information about your past medical history, including any history of genetic disorders, medical illnesses, allergies, medications, surgeries, exposures (ie. X-rays), etc.
- Be prepared to ask questions about the information you are receiving.
- Make every effort to have your partner come to the appointment. The amount of information shared at the first prenatal visit is extensive. If you attend the visit alone, it will be very hard to remember all the details.
How to schedule prenatal appointments
Below are a few tips to help you streamline your experience. You can read our full list of suggestions for booking prenatal appointments here:
- Book as many prenatal appointments at one time as possible. By doing so, you will get the appointment times that best fit your schedule.
- Book your appointments early in the day. If you do this, your provider will less likely be running behind and this may reduce your wait time.
- Try to schedule appointments on days when more than one provider is in the office. All it takes is one emergency to disrupt the office schedule if there is only one provider in the office.
3. What questions should I ask at my first prenatal visit?
It is a great idea to make a list of questions to ask your provider at your first prenatal visit. This is one of our first trimester pregnancy tips you should strongly consider. It takes very little time to prepare a list of questions and having this list with you will make sure you don’t forget to ask the questions that have been on your mind.
I have seen many prenatal patients come to their initial visit with a list of questions. They definitely seem more relaxed and less overwhelmed. There is nothing better than being well prepared for your first prenatal visit.
Also, if you have read over the materials you received prior to your visit, you will know what to expect and this can help reduce anxiety. The first visit can set the stage for the remainder of your pregnancy.
You can read our list of questions to ask in our post below:
- Who will deliver my baby when I go into labor?
- Do the providers in your practice manage labor from home or if they’re always one provider present at the hospital?
- How do you manage patients who go past their due date?
- If I require urgent medical care during my pregnancy, at what facility will I be evaluated at and who will manage my care if my provider is not available?
This is also a good time to start a pregnancy journal so you can write down the answers to these questions. This is one of our first-trimester pregnancy tips you should start as soon as possible. Journaling is an amazing way to document your pregnancy journey.
Your pregnancy journal is an excellent place to write down any questions that come up for your doctor, it is a great place to talk about any anxiety or fears you are experiencing. Prenatal Anxiety is not uncommon. It impacts 1 in 4 pregnant women. So be sure to document how you are feeling emotionally and discuss it with your doctor.
Discuss prenatal testing with your provider:
In addition to the routine prenatal tests that are discussed during your first trimester.
There are a number of prenatal genetic tests that will be discussed with you at your initial visit. This list is constantly growing.
Familiarize yourself with the prenatal tests and medical conditions on the screening medical history forms you will be discussing at your first visit. Knowing the information on these forms will help you and your partner determine what tests might be indicated based on your past medical histories, your family genetic history, ethnicity, etc..
Some examples of health conditions associated with the genetic history, gender and ethnicity are the following:
(This list is NOT all-inclusive.)
Sickle Cell Anemia
Polycystic Kidney Disease
Duchenne’s Muscular Dystrophy
Other Chromosomal Related Syndromes
Connective Tissue Disorders (Lupus etc.)
4. When do you start taking prenatal vitamins?
If you haven’t started taking a prenatal vitamin, you want to start taking one now. In fact, for those planning pregnancy, it is best to start taking a prenatal vitamin even before you are pregnant.
If you find it a struggle to take pills, try a gummy version prenatal vitamin.
It is important to take a prenatal vitamin to ensure you get enough folic acid and Omega oils. Folic acid reduces the risk of neural tube defects and Omega-3 EPA & DHA is an important nutrient for fetal brain development.
You can read more about folic acid and your baby’s development here: Folic Acid During Pregnancy and Fetal Nervous System Development
Folic acid is also found in many foods (though a supplement is still necessary)
- Citrus Fruits
- Leafy green vegetables
- Breakfast Cereal
5. How to Deal With Morning Sickness
Morning sickness also called nausea and vomiting of pregnancy is common during the first trimester. “Morning sickness” can strike at any time of day.
It is thought to be caused by the HCG pregnancy hormone. The hormone is higher in multiple pregnancies and explains why nausea and vomiting can be more severe with twins.
Since there is no cure for morning sickness, treatment has always focused on finding ways to treat nausea during pregnancy.
Some for suggestions preventing or relieving morning sickness are below:
- Eat a small number of crackers before you get out of bed.
- Get up slowly
- Try to eat more carbohydrates, like bread and pasta and avoid spicy and greasy foods.
- Try ginger tea or ginger ale to settle your stomach.
- Acupressure wristbands
- Relief bands
*If morning sickness is severe and prolonged it is called “Hyperemesis Gravidarum“.
Check out our other post about how to relieve your morning sickness.
6. How to deal with fatigue during pregnancy?
First trimester pregnancy fatigue is very common and is an indication you may need more rest.
Don’t worry, during the second trimester, your energy levels will likely return.
There are also steps you can take to ease your pregnancy fatigue.
Read our post (below) to see our full list of tips to fight fatigue during pregnancy:
Some tips to fight fatigue during pregnancy:
- Take naps when you feel tired. Pregnancy is tough and your fatigue is real. Naps are great for rebooting yourself in the afternoon. A pregnancy pillow can help you feel more comfortable and sleep better.
- Eat small, well-balanced meals several times a day. Include both protein and carbs to help keep your energy levels up throughout the day.
- Cut back on activities and chores. It is OK to say “No”. If it doesn’t have to be done, it can wait until you have more energy or someone else can do it for you.
- Sit down frequently and put your feet up.
*When trying to find ways to fight fatigue during pregnancy. Start making changes early in your pregnancy when your body is adjusting to the increased nutritional and energy demands of pregnancy. Focus on the first-trimester pregnancy tips to get off to a good start.
7. Learn what foods to avoid during your pregnancy.
You already know it is important to eat a healthy, well-balanced diet, but it is even more important when you become pregnant. Keep in mind that you are eating for two.
The healthier you eat the better it is for you and your pregnancy. Though this is important throughout your pregnancy, when it comes to first trimester pregnancy tips, this one is key. You want to eat the best foods and take the proper nutrients (prenatal vitamin) to supply the necessary building blocks when your pregnancy is in the very early stages of development. The embryology of early fetal development is fascinating and is the most crucial time for optimal nutritional support to promote the normal development of fetal organs, etc..
Foods to Avoid
Not all foods are safe during pregnancy. The following are foods and/or preparations you should avoid:
- Foods that are not pasteurized- Brie, etc. (Listeria bacteria)
- Certain types of fish- shark, swordfish, anything high in mercury
- Raw eggs (Salmonella)
- Undercooked meats – lunch meats. (E-coli, Listeria)
- Caffeine- soda, chocolate. (Limit your caffeine to less than 200 mg a day)
*If you are ever unsure of the foods you can eat, ask your doctor for a list of foods to avoid during pregnancy. ACOG (American College of Obstetrics and Gynecology) has pamphlets that address this concern.
8. How much water should I drink a day while pregnant?
Your body uses a lot of water during pregnancy. Aside from your everyday requirements, your body will go through many changes that will require you to remain well-hydrated.
The maternal blood volume increases by 50% and the maternal-fetal circulation (which is a separate circulatory system from the maternal circulation) need to be at peak performance to deliver oxygen and nutrients to your growing baby.
Though there is often increased swelling during pregnancy this is a separate issue.
In fact, drinking water can help reduce swelling (assuming it is not related to a pregnancy complication such as toxemia).
You can read our full list of tips to avoid dehydration during pregnancy here:
Here are a few tips to help you stay well-hydrated:
- Drink more water and balance your free water intake with adequate electrolytes (Gatorade etc.). Discuss fluid intake with your provider. Almost everyone asks the same question: How many glasses of water should I drink a day? Though there is no one answer, most providers will say between 8 and 10 glasses a day. Granted this will vary depending on the weather and your level of physical activity.
- If you don’t like plain water, try a water infuser. You can infuse your water with a variety of fruits and pregnancy-safe herbs. LA Organics Fruit Infuser Water Bottle is the one I like best.
- Eat fruits and vegetables. They are a great way to stay hydrated, watermelon, orange, and cucumber make great choices.
9. Quit smoking and stop drinking alcohol during pregnancy.
Smoking and drinking at any time during pregnancy can be harmful. Although this is included with our first-trimester pregnancy tips we hope this advice is fairly obvious as difficult as it may be.
First-trimester pregnancy exposure is particularly concerning in terms of early development.
Studies show that smoking and drinking alcohol have negative effects on pregnancy (miscarriage, impaired placental function, low birth weight, preterm birth, etc.).
10. When to organize a support system for after you deliver
In this list of first-trimester pregnancy tips, this tip is one you might not start thinking about until much later in your pregnancy.
It is exhausting when you return home from the hospital with your newborn. You’ll need to have a good support system in place. For some, this may not be a concern if your partner is at home or you live near or with extended family. For most this takes some planning.
You will want to get your spouse or partner on board early when it comes to planning your return home with a newborn, Growing a tiny human is hard work, don’t ever hesitate to ask for help and delegate when necessary. Most everyone is willing to help if you ask.
Reach out to friends and family for help. If you start this process early, your support team can make the arrangements they have to make to spend time with you. Try to avoid asking last minute, if nothing else, you will feel stressed asking others to make changes in their schedule on short notice.
Once you are home, feel free to say no to social engagements if you are too tired. Allow others to cook and help out with childcare. Delegating tasks is not easy but your friends and family understand and want to help you. Many new moms are made to feel they have to do everything and that is simply not the case.
Other Pregnancy Posts You May Find Helpful:
- 20 Things To Do When You First Find Out You Are Pregnant
- 10 Pregnancy Tips New Moms Wish They Had Been Told
- What Every Pregnant Woman Needs To Know About Anemia
- 8 Ways To Relieve Low Back Pain During Pregnancy