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Pregnancy Checklist: First Trimester

You just received the good news: Congratulations – you’re having a baby! While this is definitely an exciting time for you and your spouse, it can also be quite intimidating, especially if this is your first. Don’t worry! With everything from books to healthy eating, we’ve got you covered.

Follow this simple checklist and your first trimester will be a breeze:

Visit the doctor

It’s important you call your doctor to schedule your very first prenatal appointment. This will most likely involve taking another pregnancy test to make sure the results are in fact positive. Additional preliminary tests will be conducted and you’ll be asked to fill out a long list of paperwork.

Take your vitamins

It’s best to start taking a prenatal vitamin during your first trimester. Folic acid intake is critical, as this reduces the baby’s risk of potentially developing birth defects like spina bifida.

Now that you’re pregnant, it’s hard for your body to meet its increased demand for iron. To avoid iron-deficiency anemia and the risk of preterm delivery, low birth weight and infant mortality, iron supplements are an important vitamin to keep stocked in your bathroom cabinet.

Getting proper nutrient intake when you’re pregnant is challenging, so taking vitamins will help fill this gap. If you’re a woman with certain dietary restrictions, health issues or pregnancy complications, it is extremely crucial that you keep up with taking your prenatal vitamins.

“Drink 8-12 glasses of water a day to prevent dehydration.”

Eat healthy, stay hydrated

Time to cut back on caffeine, soft cheese, deli meat, fish, and most importantly, alcohol and tobacco. Caffeine has been associated with an increased risk of miscarriage; cheese and deli cold cuts may be unpasteurized and contaminated with listeria if handled improperly; fish contains mercury, and alcohol is pretty self-explanatory, but here’s further warning: Alcohol immediately crosses the placenta – meaning whatever you drink, your baby drinks. You’re putting your child at risk for fetal alcohol syndrome if you continue to drink, which could lead to anything from learning disabilities to physical abnormalities and complications in the central nervous system.

Stock up on omega-3 fatty acids such as flaxseed for enhanced brain development during your first trimester. This can lower your risk of postpartum depression. Fiber is also beneficial and can help prevent common discomfort that comes with pregnancy, such as constipation and hemorrhoids. It is also a good source of energy that you’ll need because being pregnant takes a lot out of you. Add whole-grain foods, oatmeal, fruits and vegetables to your grocery list to meet your fiber needs.

Calcium is also great for pregnant women, especially if you have a preexisting condition like high blood pressure. Plus, it’s good for your bones! Eat foods such as yogurt and low-fat milk.

Lastly, it is important to stay hydrated with plenty of water. According to the American Pregnancy Association, drinking at least 8-12 glasses of water a day is key to prevent dehydration. Complications such as neural tube defects, low amniotic fluid, inadequate breast milk production and premature labor are all potential risks associated with dehydration.

Build your library

You’ll want to read up and be well-informed about the changes your body is going to go through during your pregnancy. The best way to do this (aside from asking your own mom) is by reading pregnancy and parenting books. These books are filled with facts, tips and advice for moms- and dads-to-be. You and your spouse will want to read these books before the baby arrives so you know what to expect and how to handle unfamiliar situations.

“Boost your energy by enrolling in a slow flow yoga class.”

Get in some light exercise

Moderate exercise classes are a great way to boost your energy, but be sure to discuss limitations with your doctor and ask for suggestions that are best suited for you. Yoga is a great way to start.

Rest up

You’re going to be exceptionally exhausted when you’re pregnant, so definitely make some extra time for naps. It is also recommended that you get to bed as early as possible. Your body is changing (and growing!) so it’s important you don’t exert too much energy.

About the author

Witty Mom

The Witty Mom is a Brooklyn-based writer, editor and mama. When not running around with her five-year old boy -- or preparing for the birth of his little brother -- she writes about parenting, natural beauty, wellness and green living for publications like Natural Health, Prevention and TODAYShow.com, or collaborates on books like Josh Dorfman's The Lazy Environmentalist.

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