I don’t think I’ve ever had such a rush of mixed emotions as when I found out I was pregnant (both times!). In addition to being just over the moon excited about bringing a sweet new baby into the world, I was absolutely nervous - nervous about how my life was going to change, how my body was going to change, about how prepared and capable I was to handle everything. Taking a look back, there are really 3 things I realized during my pregnancies 1) I’m much stronger than I ever thought I could be 2) mother nature has a unique way of totally taking over and 3) knowledge is key to your sanity.
To help you manage all the details from the day you find your pregnant to the time you’re counting down the dates for your little one’s arrival, I’ve put together a helpful checklist to guide you through the stages of your pregnancy focusing on everything your health and diet to fitness, fashion and fun. Enjoy!
First Trimester: Weeks 1-12
- Find a prenatal doctor and start scheduling your monthly visits. A lot happens right away in terms of testing, ultrasounds and check ups so talk to your doctor at your first visit to avoid overwhelming your schedule.
- Interview a midwife. If you’re thinking about using a midwife during your pregnancy, start interviewing them now and make sure their views on pregnancy, labor & delivery align with yours.
- Check your insurance. Make sure you know what is covered by your provider and what isn’t. The last thing you want is a surprise bill to sneak up on you.
- Prenatal vitamins. Now is the time to start a prenatal vitamin regimen. You can typically find a prenatal vitamin at your local drugstore or GNC. The important vitamins to remember are folic acid, iron, calcium and a fish oil.
- Talk to your doctor about medications. Even most over-the-counter medications are off limits, so be sure to talk to your doctor about all medications even for the simpler discomforts like a headache or common cold.
- Sleep. Get your beauty rest. You will be stronger mentally and physically with proper rest, so make this a priority in your life.
- Sayonara alcohol, raw fish and deli meats. It may seem hard at first to part with your favorite meals (I’m a sucker for a delicious spicy tuna roll and a loaded turkey sandwich...mmm), but it’s all worth it. Here are the main food to avoid during pregnancy:
- Raw seafood, smoked salmon
- Raw eggs (such as in Caesar salads)
- Poached eggs
- Unpasteurized, raw milk products (including cheese)
- Deli meats
- Foods with nitrates (hot dogs, bacon)
- Seafood with high mercury content (which tend to be big fish like red snapper, tuna, swordfish)
- Caffeine (no more than a cup a day)
- Delicious foods you can eat. Although it may not feel like it, there are still so many delicious and healthy foods you can eat. Below are ingredients you can get creative with:
- Iron-rich foods (meat, beans, lentils)
- Dark leafy green vegetables
- Lean proteins
- Plain yogurt (Greek has more protein than regular)
- Whole Grains
- Drink lots of water. Aim to drink at least 64 ounces a day. Staying hydrated will not only help you avoid constipation and hemorrhoids, it will also help with fatigue, headaches, bloating and swelling (fun!).
- Power through the nausea and fatigue! Trust me, you’ll thank yourself once your symptoms start wearing off around week 12. The stronger your body is in the early days, the more prepared you will be when you start experiencing more dramatic physical changes later in your pregnancy.
- Workouts. Now is not the time to start a new workout regimen. If you were already active pre-pregnancy, it’s okay to stick with what you were doing (with modifications, of course, to protect your little one). If you’re just starting a new workout regimen, start slow. Try out a relaxing prenatal yoga class or go for a nice long walk.
- Lucky you, you can probably still fit into those cute jeans and blouses you wore before you found out you were pregnant. But, word to the wise, start investing now in some comfy leggings and tops :)
- Talk to your partner. Start thinking about how a new baby will fit into your family and take some time to talk to your partner. Now is a good time to have conversations about work after baby, parenting styles, and future kids. The more you both can share and communicate about what’s exciting and what’s scary, the less there will be left to interpretation (never a good thing).
THE FUN STUFF
- Start thinking about names. Yes, it’s early, but it’s also fun!
- Pregnancy announcements. Start thinking about how you want to tell close friends, family, the world that there will be a new baby. There are so many opportunities to get creative - check out a few fun ways here ;)
Tip: your first trimester can be equal parts scary and exciting as you start to think about your new life as a parent or adding another member to your growing family. Try to take a step back from the nerves, nausea, fatigue and more and appreciate this time before the changes start rolling in.