With a positive pregnancy test, you may be wondering what your next steps should be. But first – congratulations mama! You’re now carrying a little one inside of you.
The first trimester is one of the most important stages in pregnancy as you begin to gather information, prepare your list of things to do (and shouldn’t do), and ultimately find medical care for you and your baby.
This trimester runs from weeks 0-13, but you most likely saw your positive sign around 4 weeks (or after) since pregnancy is calculated from the first day of your last menstrual period (LMP). Conception doesn’t occur until two weeks after your LMP.
Although there are no manual books to follow nor are there instructions to take for pregnancy, you can have an easier first trimester experience by using the following list of things to start on.
This post may contain affiliate links. Please see disclaimer for details. Please note this information is for informational and entertainment purposes only and should not be considered medical advice. For any additional health concerns, consult with your healthcare provider.
1. Take Prenatal Vitamins
If you haven’t done so, make sure you start taking prenatal vitamins.
Prenatal vitamins are beneficial to both you and your baby because it fills in for the nutrients that your food diet may be lacking, such as folic acid, calcium, and iron.
- Folic Acid is essential to a healthy development of the neural tube (which later becomes the brain and spinal cord).
- Calcium helps grow strong bones and teeth for mother and baby and also helps baby’s muscular and nervous system operate normally.
- Iron supports the development of red blood cells called hemoglobin, which can transport oxygen and blood to your baby.
You can usually find prenatal vitamins over-the-counter at your local pharmacy or you may consult with your healthcare provider for additional information.
2. Avoid strenuous activities
Let’s start by avoiding strenuous activities in pregnancy. That includes – any physical activity that involves high impact or force. Skydiving, water skiing, boxing, soccer, ice hockey, etc…
You don’t want to do any high impact activities that can increase your risk of injury nor do you want to add any physical stress to your body that can affect the development of the fetus (your baby).
Before you start doing exercises, make sure you consult with your healthcare provider before you continue.
3. Avoid alcohol, smoking, and drugs
First and foremost, make sure you stop the consumption of any alcohol, smoking, and drugs. These can affect the development of your baby and lead to miscarriage, preterm labor, or any lifelong birth defects.
If you find that you are unable to quit or have a hard time doing so, make sure you consult with your healthcare provider for assistance and support.
4. Avoid raw foods – including sushi
Sushi may be one of your favorite foods but in pregnancy, it’s one of the most important foods to avoid if it contains raw fish.
Any other raw foods should also be eliminated during this period to avoid any potential health complications. Some examples include steak with undercooked meat, raw seafood, undercooked poultry and eggs, etc…
Read more on additional foods you should avoid in pregnancy from the Mayo Clinic.
5. Grab the Hello Baby Pregnancy Journal
It goes without saying that a journal or planner can be a great way to stay organized in pregnancy. You have nine months of continuously learning, tracking, and planning events and activities. With the Hello Baby Pregnancy Journal, you can do all of the above and so much more.
A few examples include:
- Tracking your weekly pregnancy
- Planning your babymoon
- Organizing your medical information
- Storing photos of baby’s ultrasound pictures (including the ones from your second trimester anatomy scan)
- Planning child care
- Keeping up with a list of things you need in your hospital bag
- Making sure you prepare for postpartum care
- Planning your baby’s nursery
- Staying on top of your savings plan for baby
For more on the pregnancy journal, check it out here.
6. Review Your Medical Coverage
Your ultimate goal in this trimester is to seek maternity care but you first need to become familiar with your medical coverage options.
Do you have health insurance? If no, then what kind of medical insurances are available to you and what can you do to gain access?
If you have health insurance, you should:
- Review your maternity care coverage with your health insurance
- Understand your coinsurance – the amount that the insurance will cover vs. the amount you are responsible for
- Understand your copay for Office Visits – this is the amount you will pay up front at your doctor visits
- Understand your deductible – the amount you must satisfy before your health insurance company covers the remaining costs of healthcare services
- Understand what type of medical services your insurance will cover – doctor visits, anesthesia, health screenings, ultrasounds, lab work, birthing classes, etc…
If you don’t have medical insurance you can:
- Seek health insurance coverage by looking into your state and federal programs
- Sign up with a marketplace health insurance plan (having a baby is a qualifying event that allows you to sign up with an insurance plan outside of enrollment period)
7. Schedule Your First Prenatal Appointment
Next, let’s start scheduling your first prenatal appointment.
With a private health insurance, you can find a list of doctors (OBGYN) or midwives who are within network. In-network providers are less expensive than out-of-network providers. Doctors or midwives who are in-network can be found through your health insurance’s website. You can also verify with the healthcare provider’s office whether they take your insurance or not.
A few tips on finding a good healthcare provider:
- Read reviews
- Ask family and friends for recommendations (my favorite choice!)
- Learn about the type of services that the provider offers and what their charges may include
- Consider the location of the provider’s office – is it close? Within walking distance? Or is it a 1-hour drive? This can make a difference!
Did you notice how I mentioned the option of a doctor or midwife? With maternity care, can you seek maternity care from a doctor (OBGYN) or a midwife. Learn more about the difference here and see whether a doctor or midwife is a better fit for you.
*For Medicaid recipients, healthcare providers may be limited. Check with your Medicaid program for details.
8. Download a Pregnancy App
Pregnancy apps have become a popular and convenient way to keep track of your weekly progress.
With a pregnancy app, you can view how big your baby is compared to a fruit or vegetable, or even see the development of the fetus. You can read pregnancy tips, keep notes, track your appointments, and join pregnancy support groups.
I compared four pregnancy apps and shared with you what you can expect in this article here.
9. Learn about pregnancy
As you move further along, you will begin to notice changes within your body that you’ve never encountered before. New symptoms will emerge as your body makes room for your growing baby. This is the time to start educating yourself on pregnancy.
What can you expect each week and what are the symptoms that you are experiencing?
My favorite thing to do is to grab a pregnancy book and start reading. Pregnancy books often outline the week-by-week symptoms and development you’ll experience. In addition, they provide medical terminology and insight on diseases or illnesses you may encounter.
You will get all the details and information you need in one of my favorite books, Guide to a Healthy Pregnancy by the Mayo Clinic.
This book outlines the week-by-week changes as well as provide tips on how to prepare for a baby. It’s filled with tons of helpful information and can be a great tool to use for the next nine months.
Two other popular books you can read are:
These books are some of the most popular pregnancy books on Amazon with many positive reviews.
Another way you can learn about pregnancy is through podcasts. Podcasts are great for when you’re on the run doing errands and don’t have time to sit and read books. You can listen to podcasts while you’re driving, doing chores, or even while working (if your work allows).
There are episodes on various topics in pregnancy from pregnancy symptoms to choosing your ideal birth experience.
I’ve included three of my favorite pregnancy podcasts I’ve tried and shared them in this article.
10. Sign up with text4baby
Text4baby is a free text messaging service that sends you tips and information about pregnancy and baby. You’ll receive three text messages each week, up until baby’s first birthday.
Information and tips include nutrition for you and your baby, signs and symptoms of labor, and so much more.
To start, text BABY (or BEBE for Spanish) to 511411 and receive helpful tips! Need more information? Learn about it here.
11. Join a pregnancy support group
Pregnancy doesn’t have to be a one-person journey, join a pregnancy support group and ask other pregnant moms for tips and information as well.
You can find support groups on Facebook, through pregnancy websites, or through your local community.
Here are a few places to start:
Make sure you also check out my Facebook group, Pregnancy and Motherhood, and join the growing community for moms.
12. Drink lots of water!
Last but not least, drink lots of water!
The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecology recommends drinking 8 to 12 cups of water (64 to 96 ounces) a day, as it helps aid digestion and form the amniotic fluid around the fetus.
When I was pregnant with my daughter, I often find it hard to keep up with my water consumption but I soon learned that keeping a water bottle nearby helped a lot.
Pro Tip: Clear water bottles, like the one below, makes it easier to track the water level!
If you grabbed the Hello Baby pregnancy journal, then these pages are your go-to!
- Finding Out
- The Announcement
- Doctor Appointments
- First Prenatal Appointment
- Choosing a doctor/midwife + interview questions sheet
- Learning About Pregnancy
- Food and Recipes
- My Bucket List
- My Photo Album
Don’t have the journal yet? It’s not too late! Check it out here.
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Read your trimester 2 checklist —> (Click here)
Interested in your trimester 3 checklist? —> (Click here)
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I never made a pregnancy journal, but I really wish I had. That’s a great idea for my next one though!
Thanks Catherine! I feel the same too, next one for sure!