First Trimester Tips

Reviewed by Neha Pathak, MD on March 19, 2021

First Trimester

  • Start a Prenatal Vitamin.Begin taking a prenatal vitamin before you get pregnant. It can help protect your baby against birth defects.
  • Get a Pre-Conception Checkup.Before you conceive, see your doctor and discuss your plans. Ask what you can do to get ready for a healthy pregnancy and baby.
  • Get Regular Exercise.Getting regular, moderate-intensity exercise may actually increase your chances of getting pregnant. Try walking, bicycling, or gardening.
  • Is It OK to Drink Alcohol?It's best to avoid drinking while you're trying to conceive. That way you won't expose your baby to alcohol before you know you're pregnant.
  • Get a Flu Shot!It's safe for you -- and recommended. Being pregnant puts you at higher risk of serious flu complications. So get a flu shot to protect yourself and your baby.
  • When Should You See a Doctor?It's never too soon! If you know you're pregnant or think you might be, make an appointment. Early prenatal care protects your baby's health.
  • Looking for an OB?Find a doctor you are comfortable with, so you'll feel more confident and relaxed during your pregnancy. Learn how to find the right OB for you.
  • Start Prenatal Visits.Between weeks 4 and 28 of your pregnancy, you should see your doctor once a month. It's a good chance to ask questions and follow your baby's growth.
  • Skip Kitty Litter Duty.Contact with cat stool can cause pregnancy problems. Let someone else change the litter, or wear gloves and wash your hands well afterward.
  • Stay Away From Soft Cheese.Avoid cheese made from raw or unpasteurized milk. This includes most soft cheeses. They may carry organisms that can harm your baby.
  • Can't Keep Anything Down?If you have severe morning sickness, you may need medical treatment. Call your doctor if you vomit almost every time you eat or can't keep water down.
  • Who Will Deliver Your Baby?Still can't decide between a midwife and doctor? Consider whether you want to give birth at a birth center or a hospital. That may help you choose.
  • Manage Morning Sickness.Ginger and vitamin B6 may help nausea or vomiting. First, get your doctor's OK. Then ask how much to take and how often to take them.
  • Know What's Safe to Take.Talk to your doctor before taking any prescription or OTC medicines, herbs, or supplements. Be especially careful during your first trimester.
  • Watch the Heat.A high body temperature can harm your baby, especially in the first weeks of your pregnancy. Limit sauna and hot tub use to less than 10 minutes.
  • Exercise 150 Minutes a Week.With your doctor's OK, do low-impact exercise like yoga, swimming, or walking for a half-hour most days. Learn about safe exercising during pregnancy.
  • Should You "Eat for Two"?You don't literally need to "eat for two." You only need about 300 extra calories a day to meet your baby's needs. Get them from nutrient-rich foods.
  • Is Your Bra Getting Tight?Buy a maternity or nursing bra for extra support and comfort. Choose a soft cup with a little "give" for tender nipples and fluctuating breast size.
  • Guess What? I'm Pregnant!Decide with your partner when to share the great news. Some women wait until after the first trimester, when the risk of miscarriage goes down.
  • Can't Ever Get Enough Sleep?If chronic insomnia makes you drag through the day, ask your doctor if you can take a sleep aid. But don't take any meds without your doctor's OK.
  • Catch Some Daytime ZZZs.Try napping during the day when you can't get enough sleep at night. Take one or two short naps (30-60 minutes) -- just don't snooze too close to bedtime.
  • Keep Dates With the Dentist.Dental checkups are even more important now. You're at higher risk for gum disease, which can affect your baby's health. Tell the dentist you're pregnant.
  • Choose Something Comfortable.Tight clothes may cause back pain, swelling, varicose veins, and heartburn. And they're uncomfortable! Loosen up. Your pregnant body will thank you.
  • Downsize to Avoid Heartburn.Try eating several small meals a day instead of three big ones. When your stomach is full, it may push more acids up the esophagus and cause heartburn.
  • Soothe Your Skin.Use a moisturizer to ease itchiness and keep your skin soft. But avoid products that claim to reduce stretch marks -- some are not safe in pregnancy.