10 Essential First Trimester Tips for the First Time Mom
Congratulations! If you are reading this, you or someone you love has recently learned they are pregnant. Welcoming a new baby into your world is a once-in-a-lifetime experience that is sure to take you for a ride like none you’ve ever known before.
Even though their presence won’t be noticeable for quite some time, a baby grows the most in the first trimester. For this reason, there are many things to keep in mind during this critical time.
Whether you are a first-time mom, or just need a reminder on what is to come, here are ten first trimester tips to keep in mind. These pregnancy tips will help you cope with the difficult moments, look forward to the joys to come, and have an all-around healthy pregnancy.
By: Dr. Tara Kelly, MD & Dr. Adam Brown
Pregnancy Tips: First Trimester
The hallmarks of the first trimester consist of uncomparable exhaustion and good old morning sickness. But what else can you expect at the beginning of a pregnancy, and what else do you need to know? The following first trimester tips will help your baby thrive through it all, and hopefully give you a little relief along the way, too.
Tip #1: Start taking a prenatal vitamin.
Are vitamins and supplements a part of your everyday routine already? If so, make sure you start reading labels and consulting with your doctor on which to keep taking daily. Some common supplements may not be safe to take during the first trimester of pregnancy.
Either way, be sure to start taking a prenatal vitamin with plenty of folic acid right away. This will ensure your body is getting enough of the nutrients necessary for the healthy development of your little one. Prenatal vitamins are easy to find at the grocery store or pharmacy and are specifically labelled “prenatal” so you won’t have to worry about knowing exactly which nutrients to look for. You may want to begin taking vitamin D as well as it can aid in the development of bones.
Tip #2: Know which foods to avoid.
Even though your prenatal vitamin ensures you are getting vital nutrients during the first trimester (and beyond), that doesn’t mean you can feel comfortable eating whatever you want. Some foods should be avoided during pregnancy because they can be harmful to a developing fetus. For example
- Unpasteurized soft cheeses, pate and unpasteurized milk
- Raw or only partially cooked eggs or meat
- Unwashed vegetables or fruits
- Fish such as shark, swordfish or marlin
- Excess amounts of tuna or oily fish
Read Most Harmful Foods for Pregnant Women to learn more about which foods to cut out of your diet immediately.
Tip #3: Reconsider your pregnancy diet as a whole.
Besides cutting out harmful foods, you should learn which foods to add to your diet during the first trimester to give your baby a well-rounded assortment of minerals to build on. The best pregnancy diet is one that contains a variety of nutrient-dense foods in the right amounts. You may feel so hungry that you could “eat for two,” or the opposite; maybe you’re worried about gaining too much baby weight that will be hard to get off after delivery. Whatever the case, speak with your doctor about the right caloric intake for your normal body weight, and use that number as a guideline.
We realize morning sickness can hold you back from eating the right foods during that difficult first trimester. Our tip to you is to download the Mommy Menu app! It will help you identify the foods that trigger morning sickness, and find new foods you can stomach to help you have a happy, healthy pregnancy.
Tip #4: If you smoke, stop immediately.
Not only is smoking dangerous for your health, but it is also detrimental to a developing baby’s lungs and brain. Take the next nine months to try to kick the habit for good in preparation for your little one’s arrival. Their health can be your motivation!
Tip #5: Stay hydrated!
Staying hydrated keeps you—and therefore, your baby—healthy during pregnancy, and can also curb morning sickness symptoms.
The best beverage during the first trimester and all throughout your pregnancy is water. In fact, nutritional organizations recommend that you drink up to ten cups of water a day! If you struggle to enjoy plain water, find other natural alternatives to keep hydrated. Just be sure to know what not to drink during pregnancy. Some of the beverages on the list may surprise you.
Tip #6: Exercise during the first trimester can have many benefits.
Exercise may be the furthest thing from your mind right now as you struggle to simply keep your eyes open throughout the day. It may surprise you to learn, then, that exercising throughout pregnancy can actually help you get a better night’s sleep. Exerting lots of energy during the day help to regulate your sleep patterns. At the same time, keeping your body moving will help you combat stress by boosting endorphins.
Some rules of thumb for exercising during the first trimester:
- Be careful not to over-exert yourself. 60-70% of your maximum heart rate is a safe threshold to abide by while pregnant.
- Engage in low impact activities, such as swimming or yoga. Avoid contact sports altogether.
- Follow guidelines on how to alter exercises such as core and floor exercises to adjust to your newly pregnant body.
Tip #7: Consider going up a cup size.
Breast tenderness and growth are common in the first trimester. Purchasing a bra in a larger cup size than usual, adjusting your sports bra if you are active, or looking into support bras can provide relief from discomfort.
Tip #8: Constipation is normal.
A common side effect early on in pregnancy is constipation. Increased progesterone in your body is the culprit. Adding more fluids and fiber to your diet may ease the passage.
Tip #9: Naps are your friend.
Fatigue is also a common side effect of pregnancy. Growing a baby is no joke! Feel free to take naps and rest as needed. Once your baby arrives, you’ll wish you had! If fatigue hits you harder than you can handle, check with your doctor to evaluate your iron levels.
Tip #10: Increased urination is also common.
Your uterus is swelling, placing added pressure on your bladder. It is not uncommon to feel the need to run to the bathroom more frequently, even early on.
Do not cut back on fluids during this time, however, as it can ease constipation and is important for your overall health.
How to Enjoy the First Trimester of Pregnancy
As you can see from the tips above, diet has a lot to do with having a healthy pregnancy. But did you know diet can have a big impact on morning sickness, too? Learn how to navigate your diet to avoid pregnancy nausea as much as possible with the Mommy Menu app.
- Bestwick, J. P., Huttly, W. J., Morris, J. K., & Wald, N. J. (2014). Prevention of Neural Tube Defects: A Cross-Sectional Study of the Uptake of Folic Acid Supplementation in Nearly Half a Million Women. PLoS ONE, 9(2).
- Hollis, B. W., Johnson, D., Hulsey, T. C., Ebeling, M., & Wagner, C. L. (2011). Vitamin D supplementation during pregnancy: Double-blind, randomized clinical trial of safety and effectiveness. Journal of Bone and Mineral Research, 26(10), 2341-2357.
- NHS U.K. (2017). Vitamins, supplements and nutrition in pregnancy.