Now that I am in my 8th week of pregnancy, I’ve gotten pretty good at understanding what my body needs, what it no longer likes, and what makes me feel good. And that’s what the first trimester is all about: feeling as good as possible both mentally and physically to ensure your baby is growing to be healthy. Without further ado, here’s what to do in the first trimester – from someone who’s living through it for the very first time!
Once you get there, here’s a guide for second trimester dos and don’ts as well.
First Pregnancy Tips and Tricks
This blog will feature both to-do’s and not-to-do’s, and there’ll be quite a few, so get ready!
Ditch the bad habits.
This may go without saying, but you’ll be surprised at how many conflicting first trimester tips you’ll be hearing during this time, so let’s go through them all and explain why they’re bad.
Despite there not being a safe amount of alcohol during pregnancy, my own mom told me it’s “okay to have an occasional beer”. My colleague told me her own gynecologist told her she could safely drink a beer a day! And if you end up hearing such advice too – don’t take it. No amount of alcohol is worth risking your baby’s physical and mental health. We live in a great time where there are non-alcoholic beers, cocktails, champagnes, and anything else you might be missing.
Adnams offers some great non-alcoholic beers you should try.
I couldn’t believe how much insane stuff I’d hear regarding this one. I know my mom smoked while being pregnant with me, and lo and behold – I was born with asthma and almost died as a child. And yet, a colleague recently told me she actively smoked while being pregnant, and got to have healthy kids – all thanks to her OB/GYN following her closely. If you’re a heavy smoker, you may hear such examples and think “well I’ll just take good care and go to checkups regularly to be sure”. If you absolutely can’t stop smoking, that would be the way to go. But if you can, one of the most important first trimester tips for healthy pregnancy is you do, rather than hope your kids will get lucky.
Another thing to avoid is secondhand smoke. It’s also very dangerous, and whenever possible, ask smokers around you to go outside or move farther away from you if you’re already outside. I’ve been surrounded by some heavy smoke in the first few weeks, and despite me leaving the situation as soon as possible, I did notice abdominal cramps when exposed to smoke. My baby does not care for smoke, and there’s no reason to be shy or nice and not tell people around you not to smoke in your vicinity.
I used to be a huge coffee lover – until my baby decided coffee was a NO. My tastes changed with pregnancy and now coffee is too strong for me – and good! Because as a rule, you shouldn’t have more than 200mg of caffeine a day when pregnant. Decaff works great for me, but beware: coffee is not the only caffeine-rich drink/food we often take. Some teas (black and green for example), Coke, and even dark chocolate contain it. Caffeine has a very long half-life, meaning it takes a while to get it out of your system. For your baby, it takes even longer – so try not to subject them to too much caffeine.
First trimester diet is super important. You need more vitamins, protein, and other healthy in-s than you’ve ever needed now that you’re pregnant! Junk food fills you up, but it provides you with nothing but fats. Be sure to diversify your diet – eat fruits, veggies, oats, eggs, cheese, and if you eat meat, eat meat twice a week. While I was a vegetarian for a few months, I started craving hot dogs so badly at one point. Yesterday, I just had to have chicken. And that’s okay, especially if you’re feeling like you can eat fewer and fewer foods due to the first trimester nausea. Your baby needs protein and iron, so find what works for you.
Find the time to rest.
One of the first things I noticed was how insanely tired I was so often. And it’s no wonder, with progesterone working overtime. What’s important is to not ignore it. Your body is working hard on making a new person and it needs extra rest. So even if, like me, you aren’t much for naps, you should be now! Trust me, if you’re suddenly able to fall asleep anywhere – you should.
Start taking prenatal vitamins.
Folic acid is super important for your baby’s development, and vitamins are important to keep you healthy during this time. If they contain iron and zinc, even better. And another thing: visit the dentist! Us pregnant ladies are very susceptible to teeth issues, so if you’re wondering “what are the best things to do in your first trimester?”, that should definitely be on the list.
Take a Peppermint With You Wherever You Go
At first, my morning sickness was barely there. Then one day, it just hit me like a ton of bricks. At random moments during the day, and especially when I’m hungry or riding in a car, it will threaten to ruin my outfit. I found peppermint really helps me, while some other women have said almonds do it for them. So find what works for you and make sure you always keep it with you – it’s one of the best first trimester nausea tips I have for you.
This is always important, but especially so when you’re fueling another life, for which you need some extra blood flow. If you don’t have the habit of drinking water, find a glass you really like – maybe something motivational – and try fruit-infused water. Whether it’s with lemon, strawberries, or something else, it gives you a nice kick while keeping you hydrated. Another thing to do is eat lots of fruits, which are filled with water, especially watermelons.
What Not to Do in the First Trimester
And now for the no-nos…
I know, it’s easier said than done. Before I saw my baby was safe in the womb, and before I heard their heartbeat, I would worry constantly. Every little twinge and ache would send me into overthinking and reading the entire internet in search for answers. But once you can calm down, you start to understand that most of it is normal. Unless you’re feeling some strong pains that won’t go away, and experiencing heavy bleeding, you likely have nothing to worry about. Stress, on the other hand, means cortisol is flowing through your veins, affecting your baby negatively. So try to limit it as much as possible – when it comes to what not to do in the first trimester of pregnancy, stressing one of the main things.
Don’t neglect the importance of exercise.
It might sound contradictory – sleep whenever, but also exercise, right? Well, in essence – yes. But I don’t mean run 8k or do a HIIT – what you need now is to simply move. I love doing yoga and pilates, and I love walking. You can ride an indoor bike and do some other light exercise, too, whatever works for you. So, stay healthy, it benefits both you and your baby, but don’t overdo it. If you’re feeling anxious, some light exercise, especially yoga, can help with that, too (and these affirmations also might). And if you need some help finding the motivation, you can read up on this.
Don’t get ahead of yourself.
Now’s not the time to be buying baby clothes and strollers. Now’s the time to focus on rest, living healthy, and perhaps even buying a cream to prevent stretch marks – never too early for that! Focus on what’s happening now, and enjoy those little things. You’ll be pregnant for a while – there’ll be plenty of time for strollers.
Pregnancy Tips for First Trimester – Explained
And there you have it! I hope this little overview helps you understand what to do in the first trimester. If it does, shoot me a comment to let me know!