Inside: Congratulations! You’re pregnant. So what exactly DO you need to do in your first trimester? Here are 20 things to check off your early pregnancy to-do list after you see those double lines.
Two pink lines. Who would’ve thought that such a tiny image could completely upend your life so it’s never the same again?
If you’ve been trying to conceive, you’ll go through 970 emotions in a span of about 3 seconds once you see those pink lines, starting with shock, disbelief, elation, fear, joy… and on it goes.
If your two pink lines are a surprise, your emotional timeline might be different, but chances are, you’ll eventually hit all of those emotions, even if they’re in a different order.
And well, women being women, those emotions will quickly downshift into hyper-planning mode, and you’ll begin mentally writing that mile-long to-do list.
This will give you something constructive to focus on (especially needed when that first trimester nausea kicks in).
Cue the First Trimester Checklist
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For some, going through the first trimester may be a completely foreign experience – not just because you’re pregnant for the first time, but because you’ve never seen someone else do it firsthand.
Maybe you’re the first of your friends to have a baby, or maybe you don’t have sisters or family members who’ve had children.
Whatever your situation, as with every first-time mom, you’re wanting to be so sure that you get it right.
For the record, this won’t be the last time you worry about ‘getting it right.’ And ‘getting it right’ is overrated – you’ll be just fine!
Side Note: Worried about keeping all things pregnancy straight? Have you collected several free checklists and must-have lists, but they are all mish-mashed and leaving you feeling more disorganized than when you started?
Then you definitely need to check out THIS pregnancy planner designed to get you from the moment you find out you’re pregnant to three months postpartum – everything you need to stay on track, checking all the boxes and feeling confident about this new journey.
20 Items for Your Early Pregnancy To-Do List
To give you some help, here are a few things you should make it to your to-do list. You’ll sleep much better knowing there’s a gameplan (of sorts) as you start on this most incredible journey.
(FYI: The order that you complete this list may vary –and that’s fine.)
You Might Also Like: Your Guide to a Minimalist Baby Registry – Skip the Clutter!
1. Choose a provider and schedule an appointment.
If you don’t have a regular OBGYN or you aren’t planning to use the one you have, you’ll want to search for a provider.
Word of mouth is SUPER helpful here.
Ask around and see who your local family or friends have liked. Then, schedule your first appointment.
Something to be aware of is that at the time of this writing, many providers are by default making patients see a variety of providers on their staff.
They prefer you do NOT see the same provider every visit because the odds are, your preferred provider will not be the one on call when you deliver your baby.
That being said, if you want to see the same provider every visit, make sure to mention that when you call. If the office is reluctant to fulfill your request (or flat out refuses), you may want to find another provider.
2. Tell your partner.
You may have done this before you even read this post, but if you haven’t, decide when, where, and how you’ll share the big news.
You know him best, so you probably have a sense of how he’ll react. Plan appropriately!
(Oh, and you may or may not want to forward him THIS list of ways to support you during pregnancy. Totally your call!)
3. Stock up on first trimester essentials.
This will include prenatal vitamins as well as nausea remedies – such as ginger, acupressure bands, vitamin B6, and maybe even anti-nausea meds.
As your breasts start to get sore, new, comfortable bras can help early on, too!
4. Start a pregnancy journal.
A journal is a precious keepsake that you’ll be so glad you have. There’s only one 1st time, and it’s a life-changing experience you never want to forget.
Recording all of those sweet details is a fantastic way to preserve this significant event.
THIS one looks super cute!
5. Think through how and when to tell your boss.
Depending on how family-friendly your work environment is, this might be a big one.
Research how much sick time you have available and your company’s maternity leave policy. Having this information will make your conversation go as smoothly as possible.
Assess the best time to have a conversation with your boss.
And yes, it should be a face-to-face conversation – not an email, not a voicemail, and certainly not a text!
6. Plan with your spouse when to tell friends and family.
This is a very personal decision for couples. Some couples choose to wait until the first trimester is over, when the threat of miscarriage significantly decreases.
Others want their families and friends to know right away.
When you tell everyone else is totally up to you.
Either way, this is such a fun thing to plan, and there are lots of creative ways to do it!
7. Get a couple of pregnancy books.
There are so many books about pregnancy – What to Expect When You’re Expecting is one of the most thorough and popular. These books are helpful to walk you through every stage of your pregnancy.
Do you really need a pregnancy book?
Google can answer so many questions these days (it may have even brought you here!), but sometimes Google can keep you up at night, doing more to fuel anxiety than to alleviate it.
While it’s common to worry and obsess over every symptom, a pregnancy book can help calm your fears and determine if there’s a legitimate concern without giving you a laundry list of rare and unrelated conditions to worry about.
8. Think through baby-related finances.
While there’s no way to know every single cost ahead of time associated with having a baby, you’ll want to be prepared for as many as possible.
- What does your health insurance cover and what are you responsible for?
- Is your current living situation and housing workable for a newborn and a new family of 3?
- Do you have a plan for bulking up your savings and covering some of those extra costs?
- Will you need to pay for childcare?
Financial conversations can be hard to have, but now is the time to start planning.
9. Consider whether or not you want to stay home and how to make that financially possible.
Some women dream of being a stay-at-home-mom (SAHM), and others plan to go back to work once the baby is born (sometimes out of necessity).
If you’re planning to be a SAHM, think through what that will mean for your family.
- Will you need to start a side-hustle to supplement your household income?
- Are you able to work remotely from your current job?
- Is your husband able to ask for a raise or possibly take on a second job?
If being a SAHM is a priority for your new family, begin to have those conversations about how to make that a reality.
10. Consider starting your baby registry.
Too early? Maybe – it’s hard to resist the fun. You don’t even need to actually start one, just do some research.
There are so many articles about what to include in your registry, but you know you’ll at least need the need the basics – a stroller, a car seat, a pack-and-play, a crib, a swing, etc.
You can even begin now to research which ones you’d like.
I registered back in the days of Babies R Us. Sadly, they are no more, and Amazon is the next best option.
Amazon sends you a ton of free swag when you sign up, AND they give you 10% off for completion of the registry (15% if you are an Amazon Prime).
Start an Amazon Prime Baby Registry HERE.
11. Adjust your lifestyle for ultimate health.
If a healthy lifestyle isn’t a habit for you, now is the time to make those changes. While it’s not fun, you need to think about what NOT to do during your first trimester and your pregnancy as a whole.
Cigarettes, heavy alcohol consumption – both no-nos in pregnancy.
You’ll also want to make sure you’re eating real foods, rich in vitamins and minerals and staying away from processed foods as much as possible.
(Side Note: I take THESE prenatal vitamins – I actually look forward to taking them every day! I can’t believe it took me five pregnancies to finally find ones I love.)
Raw eggs, raw fish, and raw oysters should be avoided, and deli meats and hot dogs should be eaten with caution.
Cutting back on caffeine is also encouraged. Although full disclosure, I managed this with my first but could NOT handle the exhaustion with subsequent babies.
Do your research, and decide for yourself.
12. Start taking bump photos.
I know, you have nothing to show right now. But you’ll want a starting point to see how much you change!
You can determine how often, but every 4 weeks is a common interval. And those pictures are SO fun to look back on.
13, Talk to your doctor about medications you’re currently on.
If you’re currently taking medications, discuss this right away to see if your medication is safe to take while pregnant or if you need to switch.
I have friends who have mental health problems and severe health concerns like diabetes. These obviously affected their pregnancies, and they had to adjust medications accordingly.
14. Avoid certain chores.
That sounds like every woman’s dream, right? But certain chores aren’t considered safe for pregnant women. Yes, even during early pregnancy.
Those early pregnancy hormones work quickly to loosen joints, and trust me, you want to be careful. You don’t want to learn the hard way!
Some of those tasks would include:
- changing cat litter, moving heavy furniture
- carrying heavy objects
- cleaning with harsh chemicals, and
- painting or refinishing furniture
15. Install a pregnancy app on your phone.
These apps are pretty fun milestone markers for the weeks, months and trimesters of your baby’s growth. You’ll get notifications with helpful tips and information for each stage of your pregnancy.
And if you’ve ever wondered how women know that their baby is the size of an eggplant or rutabaga, well, this is how.
16. Begin thinking about your birth plan.
Even though it’s a long way off, begin talking with your partner about your birth plan.
- Do you want to give birth in a hospital, at home, or in a birthing center?
- Have you always wanted a water birth? Drug-free labor?
- Do you want a doula and a midwife rather than a doctor?
These are things you want to research early in your pregnancy. Things don’t always go according to plan, but you’ll feel better having one.
You definitely want to have answers to those questions early on in your third trimester.
17. Adjust your activity.
You’ll want to keep exercising in your first trimester and as your pregnancy continues, but be prepared to get tired out more easily.
Your body is devoting a lot of energy to creating this new human, so give yourself room for rest while continuing to stay active. Light to moderate exercise 3 times a week should do the trick.
If you’re someone who works out regularly (and works out hard), discuss an appropriate plan with your doctor.
Balance is what we’re after here.
18. Make time for your spouse.
While it can be all about the baby, your relationship with your spouse is the framework that your child will grow up in.
This can be a very precious time between husbands and wives. Be sure to create special time for bonding.
19. Look into birth/prenatal classes in your area.
If you’re hoping to take Lamaze or other types of prenatal classes, early registration is often required.
Your OBGYN can usually give you guidance on where to find classes.
No interest in preparing for birth with strangers? I totally get that. It wasn’t fun when I did it, which is why I totally recommend this online prenatal class!
Created by a Labor & Delivery nurse, she gives you everything you need to know. In fact, she just updated the course top to bottom for 2020.
Not sure? She also offers a totally FREE introductory course, and you can get a better feel for whether this is the best option for you!
Head HERE to check it out!
20. Discuss prenatal testing with your doctor.
Certain tests are highly encouraged, and others are optional. Some couples want to be prepared for any potential abnormalities, and others prefer to not be influenced in any way by potential negative outcomes.
These tests are not 100% accurate. While they have improved over the years, my brother was supposed to be a Down Syndrome baby (he’s not 33), and he was born perfectly healthy.
Again, this is a personal decision for a couple, and something you can ask your doctor about.
Early Pregnancy: The Start of a Whole New Life
Finding out you’re pregnant can be overwhelming, often leaving you with an out-of-control feeling. And it won’t be long before raging hormones are thrown into the mix, too.
Being prepared and making plans is not only practical, but it can help calm all the other crazy emotions you’re feeling by doing something useful.
Checking off the boxes on this early pregnancy to-do list can help you settle down. It makes you feel empowered by controlling what you actually can control.
Each little task you check off paves the way for the arrival of your sweet newborn, and it’s something so life-changing, so magnificent – it’s something you’ll never, ever forget.
You can trust me on that one. Enjoy the ride.
P.S. Don’t forget to check out that pregnancy planner! It might be just what you need to get through this whole pregnancy thing feeling organized, confident, and like you are going to ROCK it.
Kate is a former high school English teacher and current SAHM to her 5-year-old twin boys. A lifetime New Yorker recently transplanted in Tennessee, she keeps busy by learning her new way of life in the South, doing home decor and DIY projects, blogging at A Hundred Affections, substitute teaching, and figuring out how to survive in a house outnumbered by boys. And she loves Jesus very much.