I’m Pregnant! Now What? 13 To Do’s in Early Pregnancy
You’re pregnant! I am SO excited for you. Oh, your baby is going change your life in all the right ways.
Pregnancy is such a complicated time of being the most excited, the most nervous, and the most nauseous that you’ve ever been in your life…all at the same time. And it all starts after you find out you’re pregnant…
So you can finally say those two little words:
But what comes next? What do I DO?
Well, I’m so glad you asked. I’ve compiled some of the crucial first steps of what to do when you find out you’re pregnant. This first trimester to do list will help you through the whirlwind of questions that overtake new moms-to-be in early pregnancy.
First Trimester To Do List:
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1. Schedule a Prenatal Appointment
After you find out you are pregnant, one of the first thoughts is typically, “when should I go to the doctor?” Setting up your first appointment is a great first thing to do after your pregnancy test is positive (after telling the father and celebrating, of course) because it really validates your pregnancy and helps it feel real.
Many websites recommend going to your primary care doctor. I did this and wish I hadn’t. They will typically have you take yet another urine pregnancy test, then things are really outside of their expertise. My doc was super nice, congratulated me, then told me to set up an appointment with an OB-GYN. I was left kind of feeling like…oh…that’s it?
While, sure, you can go to a family doctor, I recommend seeing a midwife or obstetrician from the get go. Do some research on prenatal care in your area and put some thought into what kind of experience you want to have.
If you prefer a very natural or holistic approach, you may have to spend a little more time looking for midwives and birthing centers that specialize in that area.
You may also want to ask for recommendations from friends who have recently been pregnant and given birth locally. First-hand experience is A LOT more reliable than online info in these situations.
You want to find a doctor or midwife who makes you feel comfortable and who will be on the same page with you throughout your pregnancy and birth experience. But don’t worry! If you need more time to find the perfect prenatal caregiver, it’s totally fine to switch later on.
Your first appointment will mostly likely be to simply confirm your pregnancy. This is a little frustrating. Being pregnant is SO exciting and you really want to jump right in and see baby on an ultrasound or at least hear Baby’s heartbeat! I totally understand.
After two miscarriages and one healthy baby, I tried to delay my first appointment thinking maybe they’d fast-track me to the first “real” visit if I was further along. Nope. I think it’s standard protocol (at least in my area) to have a doctor-confirmed, positive pregnancy test before beginning prenatal treatment.
But you should definitely feel free to ask as many questions as you want at that first appointment. That’s what they are there for and there are no stupid questions when it comes to caring for yourself and your baby. This is another good way to feel out if the person you see is a good fit for you.
Another thing to keep in mind is that some clinics prefer or even mandate that you see every caregiver in the practice throughout your pregnancy. This is typically because they can’t guarantee who will be available to deliver when you go into labor. That was hard for me, but in the end I was glad to have met doctors and midwives with so many different styles of care.
If there is someone you just LOVE, you can probably request to have most of your appointments with them. You just might not be able to guarantee they’ll be there at your birth. But to be honest, you spend way more time with them at appointments during pregnancy than you do during actual delivery. If you deliver at a hospital, you’ll spend most of your time with your awesome nurses during labor.
In my experience, your confirmation of pregnancy appointment is made as soon as you find out you’re pregnant, then after that you can schedule your first true prenatal visit for around 6 to 8 weeks. Visits are more spread out after that, until your third trimester.
2. Start a Prenatal Vitamin
As soon as you know you are pregnant, start taking a healthy prenatal vitamin. If you’re actively trying to conceive, you may even consider beginning your vitamin before you are actually pregnant.
You want to find a vitamin rich in iron, folic acid, DHA, calcium, and vitamin D. It is super tempting to go with a gummy vitamin because they are cheaper, easier to take, and much more yummy. But they are yummy because they are literally rolled in sugar.
I actually took the gummy vitamins throughout one pregnancy (because I was so sick) and I really regretted it. These typically do not contain all of the nutrients you need for you and your baby’s health. I’m not saying they are all bad, but there are definitely some better options out there.
If you are finding yourself too nauseous to take your prenatal vitamin first thing in the morning, try taking it before bed, on a non-empty stomach. This was some of the best advice I was given and it made a huge difference for me. Get into a consistent habit of taking it at the same time every single day. Before long it will be second nature.
Check out some of these great options for prenatal vitamins. Be sure and ask your doctor or midwife for advice on the best choice for you.
3. Prepare for Morning Sickness
Oh, morning sickness. Between this and pregnancy exhaustion, the 1st trimester can seriously be a struggle. There are a lucky few pregnant women who do not experience early pregnancy nausea (which can last throughout your entire pregnancy, by the way) but for the most part, morning sickness is a common thread amongst pregnant women.
Once you know you’re expecting, start taking some extra measures to make your body happy. Morning sickness – actually it’s often all-day sickness – is a reaction to the rising hormones in your body. Tell yourself it’s a good sign that your body knows what’s it’s supposed to do and is actively doing it. But to cope, you may want to focus on some healthy habits.
It can help to eat smaller, more frequent meals throughout the day. Many newly pregnant women find it hard to choke down breakfast through the overwhelming nausea, but it can be worth it to at least try eating some crackers or toast first thing in the morning. Some say nibbling something before you even get out of bed can help curb the queasiness.
Sip some ginger ale while you eat. The real ginger and the bubbles help ease some of the intensity of your upset mommy tummy while you try to tame it. Plus, it’s caffeine free.
In my first pregnancy, I took some mini cans with me to work and stuck them in the fridge as backup for any unexpected sickness that decided to strike.
This brand of ginger ale is great and actually contains real ginger.
Focusing on creating healthy eating habits during pregnancy from the start will pay off in the long run. I know, I know. You’d much rather chow down on some mac n cheese and chocolate milk, but at least try to match it with a serving each of protein, fruit and vegetables each day.
Good advice, straight from my obstetrician, is to worry less about sticking to a strict healthy meal plan during the worst of the nausea stage and focus more on just eating SOMETHING. This really helped me feel the freedom to nibble on the things I liked while I was feeling super gross. Once you start to feel better, usually not too far into the second trimester, you can crack down on eating foods known to be best for fetal health. Just try to get some basic nutrition as much as you can.
And if your nausea is really bad, I have a secret tip for you. This is especially great if you are also experiencing intense pregnancy exhaustion, which can hit hard and fast. This fantastic trick got me through my morning sickness and lack of energy in my second pregnancy. And that was while chasing a toddler. Read my post about it here.
4. Hydrate, Mama
Water, water, water.
Girl, go ahead and start knocking back the H2O now, because you’ll be needing to do it constantly for the next 2 years or so…at least! Yep, hydration is super important while pregnant and an absolute necessity while breastfeeding, so if you don’t already meet the recommended amount of water needed each day (eight 8oz glasses) you might as well get used to it.
During pregnancy, water can really help ease a lot of the discomfort you may start to feel. Hydrating properly can ease morning sickness, prevent hormone-induced headaches, reduce cramping and ligament pain, and help maintain your overall health.
Trust me, it’s easier to just make it a habit. Some experts say that sipping water all day long is the best method to staying properly hydrated, even when you’re not pregnant.
To get into this rhythm, get yourself a great water bottle and take it with you everywhere you go. Before long, it’ll fall right in line with grabbing your phone and your wallet.
Don’t skimp on this, Mama. Staying hydrated is one of the BEST things you can do to start your pregnancy off on the right foot.
5. Rest and Nap Often
If you have even the slightest opportunity to get extra rest, do it. Pregnancy can really take a lot out of you. You may start to wonder how something that’s so tiny can make you feel so worn out. Remember that your body is doing A LOT of important things that you can’t see happening.
Before long, it’s likely that your body will kind of force you to slow down, but even before then you should make it a priority to have some chill time. Take it from a mom of two under 3 and pretty much any new mom out there, THIS IS YOUR CHANCE.
Sleep while you can.
Let your body have a break and just enjoy this excuse to put your feet up and veg out a little. You should also make it a priority to get a full night of sleep each night. If ever there was a time to start abiding by all of those healthy life habits hanging over our heads, it is now. Pregnancy changes everything. It makes some pretty rough alterations to our bodies. We might as well let starting some good habits be a change that it makes for the better.
If you find yourself uncomfortable while sleeping, use this amazing pregnancy pillow. It’s my favorite and one of the best investments you can make into your pregnancy and new mom life, because it’s also the best pillow for breastfeeding. I wrote a full review of it here.
6. Exercise (at least a little)
This goes into that same category. If you’ve been looking for motivation to get active, you’ve got it now. I KNOW that before long you probably won’t feel like doing much, so go ahead and start taking walks or doing some prenatal yoga as soon as you find out you are pregnant.
Believe it or not, being more active will actually help you feel better as your pregnancy progresses. I have known A LOT of pregnant women. The ones who claim to “feel great” when they are pregnant (the ones who you kinda want to kick in the shin just a little bit) are the ones who remain active from the beginning.
If you were hoping to have an excuse to do nothing for 9 months, sorry to burst your mommy bubble, but doctors agree that exercise is another key to a healthy pregnancy. Did you know that you can actually continue fitness routines that you were doing prior to getting pregnant as long as you maintain the same level of exertion?
Talk to your midwife or doctor, but as long as you’re not straining yourself or your baby, it’s considered safe to remain as active as you were before you became pregnant. This will also do wonders for preparing your body and breathing for labor and birth.
So, get moving, Mama! Start the habit now and stick with it. You’ll be so glad you did.
7. Bond with Baby
This is one of my favorite (and I think most important) first steps to take after you find out you’re pregnant.
Take some time to yourself. Maybe you could take a nice warm bath or get alone all curled up in bed with the pillows just the way YOU like them. Put your hands on your belly, take a deep breath, and think about your baby.
Try to really connect emotionally to the little one inside of you. Imagine the tiny toes and fingers that are forming every day. Think about what color their eyes and hair will be. Consider what lullabies you’ll sing to your precious child as you rock them to sleep. You could even start singing to your belly now.
The idea is to relax and let yourself fall in love with the life growing in your belly. Even before you start to show, you and your baby can bond in a beautiful way.
Sometimes pregnancy can feel like a dream. Almost hypothetical. Or we get caught up in the “being pregnant” part and don’t focus enough on what life will be like when our baby is actually here.
This can be especially true if you’ve experiences loss. My post on how to enjoy pregnancy after loss has some tips and encouragement just for you.
Take some intentional time to spend with your baby. Get to know the little life inside of you.
Be sure and let your baby’s father get in on some of the bonding action too. It can be a little more challenging for dads to connect with their babies before they are born, so try to help him along as your belly grows each week.
8. Avoid Pregnancy Discomfort
So you may have an idea of how “not fun” pregnancy can be sometimes. Pregnant women have a super valid excuse to complain if there ever was one. Well, make that more than one.
That said, many of the reasons pregnancy makes us miserable can be avoided fairly easily. A few tips can prevent a lot of the aches, pains, and annoyances that lie ahead.
Once the excitement of finding out you’re having a baby settles (the tiniest bit) take some extra precautions to make the next nine months more comfortable. These life-saving tips from my post How to Have A Less Miserable Pregnancy will show you exactly how to invest in your pregnancy so that you can enjoy it.
Read my list of pregnancy must-haves here.
9. Read Up On Resources
When you’re pregnant it’s so easy to get caught up in allllll of the information out there. It’s overwhelming, which is the last thing a mom-to-be needs.
From questions about pregnancy to labor advice, then tips for having a newborn and how to manage postpartum recovery, there is just SO much to learn. And less than 9 months to do it!
I want to help take some of that stress off of you you. Stress is the antithesis of a healthy, happy pregnancy. So, below I’ve listed some resources with information that I love and find super useful for pregnant moms.
I’ve broken these resources up into categories with some great reads, including my own articles on each subject.
6 Pregnancy Must Haves You’ll Use Every Day – Oh Yellow
8 Top Pregnancy Tips from OB-GYN’s – The Bump
Preparing for baby:
What You Probably Won’t Get at Your Baby Shower – Oh Yellow
Labor and Delivery:
How to Prepare for Your Birth Plan to Fall Apart – Oh Yellow
The Hands Down Best Labor Advice Ever – Mommy On Purpose
10 Things They Don’t Tell You After Giving Birth – Pregnant Chicken
Life with a Newborn:
6 Tips for Surviving the Newborn Months – Oh Yellow
Your Newborn: 30 Tips for the First 30 Days – Parents.com
The Nurse Smart Breastfeeding Handbook – Mom Smart Not Hard
The Best Pregnancy and Breastfeeding Pillow – Oh Yellow
10. Take it Slow
I know that the first trimester to-do’s seem like a lot. Not to mention the long list of things to do as your pregnancy goes on. But again, DON’T overwhelm yourself!
You have plenty of time to learn about these important subjects. You have several months and a lifetime of learning how to be a mom. We don’t become experts once we give birth, trust me. (Though wouldn’t that be nice?)
Take your time.
Delegate! Don’t be afraid to task baby’s dad with researching some of the important things. He probably has two thumbs, a smart phone, and more interest in this stuff than you might think.
Remember that you don’t need to know everything. You will be an excellent mom. The fact that you’re taking time to read this tells me that. In the end, all your baby really needs is you.
Pin this post for later so you can come back to the resources listed above.
11. Chronicle Your Bump
If this is your first pregnancy especially, you gotta capture that bump on camera. Most women don’t show for quite a while (think well into the second trimester) with their first baby, but that doesn’t mean you can’t start taking weekly photos.
Find a spot with a background you love. You may want it to be in your home or somewhere outdoors. Choose a theme, if you’re into that kind of thing.
Some women choose to wear the same shirt or accessory in every picture, so that the changes are more noticeable over time. Keep in mind that the season will be drastically different in your first trimester compared to your third, so consider that when choosing location and clothing.
Once you find out you’re pregnant, you can take a photo of your pre-belly body to kick off your series. From there you can continue weekly photos until your bump comes in or you can just wait until you start to notice a slight difference. Either way, try to get at least one photo of yourself in profile now. It will be so fun to look back at it when Baby is due.
12. Do All The Things (While You Can)
This is a tip that you may not hear many others giving, but I think it’s important.
Finding out you’re pregnant is like starting a very literal timer on the time you and baby’s dad have left of independence. Once Baby comes, you don’t exactly have the the same flexibility. Even with the easiest baby there is little room for spontaneous getaways, romantic dinners, or spur-of-the-moment adventures. Things may be a bit more challenging…for a while.
You may even find yourself with a fairly hard baby who is insanely clingy, has trouble sleeping, or doesn’t travel well. While you will love your needy little one with all of your heart, you will miss the days of being able to randomly go out on a date or take a trip. Even simple things like running quick errands without getting a baby in and out of a car seat are luxuries that you won’t have much longer.
It’s perfectly ok to enjoy every last minute of pre-baby freedom, while also completely looking forward to your soon-to-be very different life. It doesn’t mean you love your baby less. So try to squeeze in some extra fun before the morning sickness strikes (even then you can create some pretty fun couch-dates) and make sure you do all of your favorite seasonal traditions before you pop. You won’t be doing them as just the two of you next year.
13. Start Your Baby Registry
This may seem a little premature, but I highly recommend going ahead and setting up your baby registry once you find out you are expecting.
The first part of pregnancy (particularly with your first) can seem slow, especially if you aren’t sharing the news with others right away. It’s your little secret and that’s super special, but it also limits how much you can celebrate. Something about browsing baby things and reading about pregnancy, babies and life as a new mom really makes it feel real.
As you start reading, you’ll probably see some things that look awesome and you’ll make a mental note of it for late. The thing is, that mental note is going to go into the same filing cabinet in your mind as tips from other people, ideas from social media, those 3 different blog posts you read, which kinds of tea are safe to drink while pregnant, and exactly what number your obstetrician said when she checked the heartbeat at our last appointment.
It all starts to blend together. Quick.
And in case you haven’t heard, there’s this thing called “pregnancy brain.” It’s the endearing term given to describe the lovely fact that being pregnant takes ahold of every part of your now shared body and you suddenly become insanely forgetful and borderline incompetent. Fun times.
Anyway, having your registry set up from day one means you can save any items you like along the way without forgetting them. You can go ahead and add great products and must-haves, then go in and make edits as those baby showers start filling your calendar.
I highly recommend setting up an Amazon Baby Registry. Finding everything online means you can read reviews, compare products, and make changes quickly. Plus, I love that you can share it with relatives and friend that aren’t local. They can simply view your baby registry, choose an item, and have it mailed to you directly. Easy peasy. You can start your baby registry super easily here.
Then take a look at my post 7 Baby Must-Haves to Make Baby’s First Year Easier for ideas of the best baby items to register for.
What To Do When You Find Out You’re Pregnant
So, there you go. 13 great first trimester to-do’s to kick off your pregnancy. I hope you enjoy every bit of your bump. If you have any questions about pregnancy or life as a new mom feel free to ask in the comments or check my contact page to shoot me an email. I love all things baby and mom, so I’d love to hear from you.
Oh, and follow me on Pinterest for more from Oh Yellow!