As you embark on this incredible journey of pregnancy, you might find yourself grappling with the significant changes that lie ahead. From embracing a balanced diet to engaging in regular exercise, our tips tailored for the initial trimester are here to support you in managing both the physical and mental demands that arise during the early stages of pregnancy. Our convenient checklist is designed to steer you through the first trimester, laying the foundation for a joyful and healthful pregnancy.
The first trimester commences right from the onset of your pregnancy and persists until you reach 13 weeks plus six days into your pregnancy.
Schedule your midwife appointment
Upon confirming your pregnancy, promptly notify your general practitioner (GP) to facilitate booking your initial appointment with a midwife.
The timing of this inaugural antenatal appointment referred to as the booking appointment, hinges on your geographical location. Ideally, your booking appointment should occur by the time you reach 10 weeks of pregnancy, although it may take place between eight and 12 weeks.
Expect your booking appointment to last approximately one to two hours and to be conducted at locations such as your home, a hospital, a children’s centre, or your GP’s surgery. During this appointment, your midwife will gather comprehensive information about your health, your partner’s health, and your respective family medical histories. Be prepared for an array of inquiries!
NHS advises to take prenatal vitamins. They advise taking 400mcg of folic acid every day, until at least week 12. This helps to form the baby’s nervous system and offers some protection from conditions such as spina bifida.
To keep bones and muscles healthy, we need vitamin D. From late March/early April to the end of September, most people make enough vitamin D from sunlight on their skin.
However, between October and early March, consider taking a daily vitamin D supplement because we cannot make enough from sunlight.
Check before taking medicines
Exercise caution when it comes to taking medications, including those available without a prescription. Some of these substances could potentially pose risks to your developing baby. It’s prudent to consult your GP or midwife about any prescription medications you’re currently on and to seek advice from your pharmacist regarding over-the-counter remedies.
If you’re a smoker, now is an opportune time to kick the habit. Smoking during pregnancy heightens the likelihood of miscarriage, ectopic pregnancy, and preterm labour. Moreover, the inhalation of smoke can adversely impact the growth of your unborn child, potentially leading to low birth weight.
It’s never too late to give up, and if you need help, talk to your midwife or doctor. They’ll be able to put you in touch with your local stop-smoking support scheme. You can also call the confidential NHS Smokefree advice line on 0300 123 1044 or visit their website.
While the effects of using e-cigarettes during pregnancy remain inconclusive, it’s best to avoid them due to the presence of nicotine and other potential toxins. If e-cigarettes are being employed as a smoking cessation aid, consult your midwife about alternative strategies.
Cut out alcohol
Given the uncertainties surrounding safe levels of alcohol consumption during pregnancy, experts recommend abstaining from alcohol entirely while expecting.
While you can still relish a cup of coffee during pregnancy, it’s wise to limit caffeine intake to 200mg daily. This roughly equates to two cups of instant coffee or a single cup of brewed coffee. Exceeding the 200mg caffeine threshold on a regular basis during pregnancy may elevate the risk of miscarriage. Remember, this 200mg restriction encompasses all caffeine sources, encompassing teas (including green tea), cola, energy drinks, and chocolate.
Learn what to eat and what not to eat
There’s no need to eat for 2. You just need to eat healthily, with plenty of fresh fruit and veg, and avoid processed, fatty and salty foods. Prioritize a well-rounded, nutritious diet to ensure that both you and your developing baby receive the requisite nutrients.
The consumption of certain foods should be avoided due to potential bacterial, parasitic, or toxin content that could be detrimental to your baby’s well-being. Such foods include select cheeses and unpasteurized dairy products, raw or undercooked meat, liver and pate, as well as raw shellfish. While raw eggs or lightly cooked eggs are safe if they bear the red British Lion Quality mark, exercise caution with other forms of raw or undercooked eggs.
Get relief from pregnancy sickness
Morning sickness is a common experience for many expectant mothers during the first trimester. To manage nausea, opt for frequent, small meals. Identify which foods agree with you and which ones trigger queasiness.
Nibbling on plain biscuits, crackers, or breadsticks might provide relief. Typically, morning sickness eases between weeks 16 and 20. Unfortunately, there’s no hard and fast treatment that will work for everyone’s morning sickness. Every pregnancy will be different.
If you are vomiting many times a day and are unable to keep anything down, contact your doctor or midwife as soon as possible. You may have severe morning sickness, known as hyperemesis gravidarum.
Familiarize yourself with warning signs
Certain pregnancy symptoms warrant immediate attention. As your uterus expands, you might experience mild cramps and occasional twinges. Whenever cramps arise, consider consulting your midwife to ensure all is well.
Should cramps occur alongside bleeding, promptly contact your GP, midwife, or your hospital’s early pregnancy unit (EPU).
Rest, rest and rest
During the scan, a person called a sonographer will check your baby’s heartbeat and tell you when your baby is expected to be born. The scan usually lasts about 20 minutes, but sometimes it might take a bit longer if your baby is moving around and needs to be in a better position for the scan.
Decide when to share the news
While some women make their pregnancy announcement right away, others prefer to wait until their second trimester, when the bump is much harder to hide.
The more active and fit you are during pregnancy, the easier it will be for you to adapt to your changing shape and weight gain. It will also help you to cope with labour. Keep up your normal daily physical activity or exercise (sport, running, yoga, dancing, or even walking to the shops and back) for as long as you feel comfortable. Do not exhaust yourself. You may need to slow down as your pregnancy progresses or if your maternity team advises you to. If in doubt, consult your maternity team.
Complete household tasks safely
When handling household chemicals and cleaning products, it’s important to be careful. Wear gloves and avoid touching products with strong smells or warning signs directly. If you’re cleaning, make sure to have windows open and avoid using products that come in spray cans.
Also, consider whether your job might impact your pregnancy, especially if you work with things like X-rays or chemicals.
Start doing your pelvic floor exercises
Doing exercises for your pelvic floor can help prevent leaking urine while you’re pregnant and even after your baby is born. Strong pelvic floor muscles can also enhance your intimate life by increasing the chances of having satisfying orgasms during sex!
Sign up for your antenatal classes
Make an effort to sign up for your prenatal classes well in advance. Some classes fill up fast due to many people wanting to join. It’s a good idea to find out early in your pregnancy what classes are offered in your area and how soon you should register to secure your spot.
Get your partner involved
While most mums-to-be experience symptoms early on in their pregnancies, these daily physical reminders of pregnancy help you bond with your baby from the start. It’s not as straightforward for dads. Share this guide with your partner to involve him in your pregnancy journey. Understanding what’s happening to you and your body will also help him bond with your baby.