First Trimester of Pregnancy Checklist

Congratulations, mama — you’re pregnant! You’re probably overcome with joy and maybe a little anxious, too. You’re also probably asking yourself, “Now what?…” There’s so much to prepare for. I get it! But we’re here to take that anxiety and the guesswork from you by sharing our helpful first trimester checklist. Here’s what to think about and do during the first trimester.

Month 1: Weeks 1-4

Most people don’t know that they’re pregnant this early on. But if you find out extra early, these are some things to check off your list during the first month of pregnancy. These are even some things you can do beforehand to prepare for pregnancy:

  • Take a prenatal vitamin. If you haven’t already begun taking a prenatal vitamin, now is the time to start. Make sure the one you choose has 600 micrograms of folate/folic acid. This can greatly reduce the risk of some birth defects. By taking a prenatal vitamin, you ensure that you and your baby are getting the vitamins and minerals needed during pregnancy.6
  • Remove stress from your life. I know this can be tough, but research has found that too much stress can cause people to have headaches, trouble sleeping, loss of appetite, or a tendency to overeat. High levels of stress can also cause high blood pressure, which can increase the chances of having preterm labor or a low birth weight baby.1
  • Remove toxins from your home. Consider what toxins you want to remove from your home: cleaning supplies, beauty products, etc.
  • Stop smoking and drinking alcohol. Smoking cigarettes, marijuana, vaping, and drinking alcohol can all increase the risk of pregnancy complications.7 Now’s the time to quit or find support to help you quit.
  • Start a baby journal or pregnancy diary. You’re definitely going to have a variety of thoughts and emotions throughout your pregnancy. It’s good to process them and write them down. Writing out your pregnancy experiences will also be helpful for you to look at in the future if you have more children.
  • Schedule in time for self-care. Treat yourself!

Month 2: Weeks 5-8

This is the timeframe when most people find out they are pregnant!15 If you’re now in this second month of pregnancy, here are some things to check off your list and consider during the first trimester:

  • Take an at-home pregnancy test. Once you see the positive test, share the exciting news with your partner!
  • Find out your due date. Now that you know you’re pregnant, it’s time to figure out your due date. You can easily do so with our pregnancy due date calculator. To calculate it on your own, just take the date of your last menstrual period (LMP) and add 280 days (40 weeks).
  • Book your first prenatal visit with your doctor or midwife. Your first prenatal appointment is usually scheduled between 6 and 12 weeks of pregnancy. During this visit, your doctor or midwife will review your medical history, verify that you’re pregnant, and check that things are progressing as they should.
  • Consider genetic testing. Something to think about is whether you will do genetic testing. Talk to your maternity care provider about prenatal and genetic testing. Ask what the different tests are (like nuchal translucency screening and noninvasive prenatal testing), the benefits and risks, what you can expect, etc. Then, you can determine what you want to do.
  • Find morning sickness relief. If you’re experiencing morning sickness and nausea during your pregnancy, there are things you can do to help give you some relief:
    • Stock up on a few essentials, like ginger, lemon drops (sour candies), saltine crackers, mints, lemonade, ginger ale, Gatorade, etc.8,9 Keep some of these things nearby at all times — at your bedside table, in your purse, and at your desk.
    • Try eating small meals or snacks throughout the day to minimize the nausea.8
  • Look at your insurance plan. Before you go to your first prenatal visit, it’s important to understand what prenatal care is covered in your plan. Does it cover prenatal care and delivery? Call your insurance company and find out what they cover and what they don’t.
  • Interview and choose your maternity care practitioner. You can choose from a number of different practitioners for your pregnancy, from an OB-GYN or midwife to a family physician. So, take time to consider your options and pick the right practitioner for your needs. Be sure to consider the birth facilities they deliver at, too. You’ll want to choose a care provider and birth location that aligns with your vision. If you’re unhappy with your current provider, ask friends, labor and delivery (L&D) nurses, childbirth educators, or doulas for recommendations.
    • Decide where and how you’d like to give birth. Even though it’s only the first trimester, you can start thinking about this now. You may want to deliver in a hospital with an OB-GYN. Or you may want to have your baby at a birthing center or in the comfort of your own home with the help of a midwife and doula. Do your research and determine which option is right for you.
  • Consider on-the-job safety. Does your job require heavy lifting and/or physical activity? Are you around anything (chemicals, etc.) that could harm your growing baby? Consider if what you do daily and the environment you’re in is safe. Then, think of possible ways to avoid them or alternatives.
  • Eat right. You don’t necessarily need to eat enough for two people, but you do need nutrients for two now. Eat a variety of healthy foods, including fruits, vegetables, lean meats, eggs, and whole grains.10,11 Here are foods and beverages to NOT eat or drink:2
    • Fish high in mercury (bigeye tuna, king mackerel, marlin, orange roughy, swordfish, shark, tilefish)
    • Raw or undercooked seafood
    • Undercooked meat, poultry, or eggs
    • Unpasteurized foods
    • Unwashed fruits and vegetables
    • Alcoholic beverages
  • Reduce your caffeine intake. It’s recommended to limit caffeine to less than 200 milligrams per day.2
  • Drink more water. Make sure to drink 8 to 12 cups (64 to 96 ounces) of water every day. Staying hydrated is essential.3
  • Exercise regularly. Start by exercising at least three times per week and work up to 30 minutes per day of physical activity.4 There are lots of benefits of exercise during pregnancy for you and baby. Stay active, but listen to your body and stop if you feel any discomfort. You may need to modify your current exercise routine. Consult with your care provider if you have questions or concerns.
  • Rest! Pregnancy fatigue is common during the first trimester. Try to rest and get as much sleep as you can. Your body is working hard!
  • Explore pregnancy apps and podcasts. Find ALL the fun pregnancy apps and pregnancy podcasts, like our podcast, Chick Chat!
  • Buy a pregnancy book. Do as much research and reading as you can about pregnancy, birth, and parenthood to feel better informed about this new stage of life and what’s to come. At the very least, buy a quality pregnancy book to help you prepare for your pregnancy, labor, birth, and postpartum. (Read our list of recommended pregnancy books.)
  • Make sure your activities are pregnancy-safe. You’ll want to avoid activities that may cause falls (like horseback riding, downhill skiing, off-road cycling, gymnastics, skating, and rock climbing), contact supports (such as ice hockey, boxing, soccer, volleyball, and basketball), activities in hot environments (like hot tubs, saunas, and “hot” yoga), etc.5
  • Make a budget for the baby. Having a baby isn’t cheap, so begin planning your finances, make a budget, and create a savings plan.
    • Create a child’s savings plan. This can help you plan for their future expenses.
  • Spend quality time with your partner. Make sure you’re getting enough one-on-one time with your partner. Talk about your hopes, dreams, and worries. Be there to support one another during this exciting and life-changing time.
  • Have sex, if you feel like it. It’s fun for you and your partner and safe for baby.
  • Start thinking about baby names. If you don’t have a baby name already picked out, look through our extensive lists of baby names and start writing a list of names that stand out to you. Then, discuss them with your partner to see which ones you like best.
  • Learn the signs of pregnancy problems. Some signs include abdominal pain, breathing issues, vaginal bleeding, fluid leaking, severe swelling, etc.12
  • Stop cleaning the litter box. Pregnant women are susceptible to parasites found in cat feces that can cause toxoplasmosis, which can harm your baby.13
  • Take pictures of yourself! You won’t regret taking them.
  • Treat yourself. You’re learning that the best way to take care of your baby is to take care of you. Schedule in time for self-care!

Month 3: Weeks 9-12

You’re now at the final stretch of the first trimester! This is an exciting time because most women wait until the end of the first trimester to share their pregnancy news. This is when the risk of miscarriage decreases.14 Here’s our final checklist to wrap up your first trimester:

  • Plan how you’ll announce your pregnancy. Think about how and when you want to tell your family, friends, and boss the happy news. Also, determine if or when you’ll announce it on social media. (We’ve got a great list of pregnancy announcement ideas)
  • Look into your work-related benefits and maternity leave policy. Consult with your company’s human resources department to understand your company’s maternity leave policies and any benefits they offer.
  • Consider diagnostic testing. Talk with your doctor about any diagnostic tests needed between weeks 10 and 14, and schedule them now.
  • Schedule an appointment with your dentist. Pregnancy hormones can cause changes in the gums and teeth, which can include making them bleed more easily.16 Keep up with your dental health by seeing your dental provider at least once during your pregnancy. Pregnant women are more susceptible to inflamed gums and gingivitis, so it’s important to get a cleaning and checkup with your dentist.16
  • Get a new supportive bra. You might not need maternity clothes yet, but a supportive bra can help with your changing, tender breasts. (Check out our recommendations for maternity bras.)
  • Do you want to know the gender? Now is the time to decide whether or not you’d like to learn the sex of the baby. You can find out early through bloodwork, wait until your 20-week anatomy scan, or wait until the baby is born to find out! Talk with your partner and decide what’s best for you.
  • Call daycares. You may think it’s really early to do this, but depending on where you live, if you’re considering daycare for your baby, you’ll want to call a few to see if they have waitlists. This will help you plan when you need to start applying.
  • Start looking for your doula. Good doulas book up fast! Avoid limiting your options and start looking now and scheduling interviews.
  • Talk to your partner about parenting. How do you both want to raise your child? Do you plan to breastfeed or give formula? Sleep train or follow baby’s lead? What responsibilities do you believe you each will have? Discuss expectations and work through things together so that you can be on the same page when baby arrives.
  • Go to a prenatal appointment. This is around week 12.
  • Take more pictures! Capturing these moments as your body changes will be something you treasure in the future.
  • Treat yourself. Always.

And that’s my first trimester checklist! I hope your pregnancy is starting beautifully. If you complete this list, it’s sure to be! You can also download this FREE TEMPLATE of our first trimester checklist so you can print it out and use it!

Read Next: First Trimester Must-Haves

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