First Trimester Checklist – all the pregnancy dos and don’ts

First of all, congratulations on your pregnancy! I am so excited for you to be on this journey to meet your baby, and wishing you all the best. Even though it doesn’t seem like it during these early weeks, your body is already going through remarkable changes to accommodate your little one. So, now what?

This is a 1st-trimester checklist to ensure you do what you can to prepare for a healthy pregnancy and baby. It will also help you stay organized without worrying about missing something. The 1st trimester includes the first 13 weeks of your pregnancy.

first trimester checklist with dos and donts for pregnancy

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Here is the checklist in detail with the dos and don’ts of the first trimester of your pregnancy:

1. Start (or continue) taking a prenatal vitamin

This should be the first thing to consider when you plan to become pregnant or just find out that you are pregnant. It’s crucial to supplement your own body with essential vitamins and minerals during this time of creating another human being inside of you.

Lack of specific vitamins and minerals in your body during pregnancy could cause short-term or even long-term damage to your own body and prevent your baby’s body from developing healthy and strong.

There are many different prenatal vitamins out there nowadays. My favorite product for all the way through pregnancy is this one. However, I recommend researching and seeking advice from your provider when deciding which product is the right one for you.

2. Check your health insurance policy to see what prenatal and childbirth care is covered

If this is your first pregnancy or you have recently switched your insurance provider, you might not be aware of your coverage. It helps to find out, so you can claim your benefits. Don’t delay it; you might actually be surprised to see what your insurance covers all.

3. Choose an ob-gyn or midwife

Ob-gyns are doctors that specialize in pregnancy and childbirth. Today, delivering with an OB is the norm in the U.S.

Midwives are nurses with more training and certification in pregnancy and childbirth. They are highly trained and also well capable of providing prenatal care and delivering your baby.

Research, look around, ask your friends for recommendations and choose your provider. Make sure to be comfortable with your doctor or midwife.

Midwife / Ob-Gyn taking care of a pregnant lady

4. Arrange a prenatal appointment and write down any questions you may have

Once you find out you are pregnant and have chosen your provider, you can call them immediately to arrange your first appointment. Depending on their preference and your concerns, they might call you in immediately or give you an appointment somewhere around 8 weeks of pregnancy.

5. Ask your provider to find out about the safety of taking any prescription medications you’re currently taking

If you have been taking any prescription medications since before being pregnant, ask your provider asap about the safety of continuing to take them or possible alternatives.

6. Avoid certain foods

Don’t eat raw meat, deli meat, or raw fish.

Avoid fish with high mercury levels, like shark, swordfish, mackerel, and some kinds of tuna. But do eat fish high in omega-3s like salmon.

Skip any unpasteurized dairy products (this is mostly just imported cheese and raw milk products).

7. Quit unsafe habits

Now is the time to quit smoking, stop drinking alcohol, and stop using drugs like opioids and marijuana.

8. Reduce your caffeine intake 

Experts recommend reducing your caffeine intake to about one or a maximum of two 11-ounce cups of coffee daily.

pregnant woman holding a cup of coffee in her hand

9. Get plenty of sleep

Rest, rest, rest whenever you can. I know it can be hard to make time for it, especially if this isn’t your first child or you are working a full-time job. However, sleep is much needed in the first trimester, and you will reap the rewards accordingly.

10. Hydrate well

If you don’t already have a healthy habit of drinking plenty of water throughout your days, now is the time to develop that. Your body needs to be well hydrated to grow your baby, increase your blood volume and provide your little one with sufficient amniotic fluid.

11. Exercise

Continue with your usual exercise routine if you can, or start an exercise or activity routine if you weren’t active before.

However, avoid activities that may cause trauma to your abdomen, such as horseback riding, jumping on a trampoline, etc.

12. Don’t use a hot tub or sauna

Besides overheating, fainting, dizziness, and dehydration, certain risks concern your baby when using a hot tub or sauna.

According to WebMD, because of the lack of research, it’s best to avoid hot tubs or saunas entirely during your pregnancy to erase any possible risk of neural tube defects for the baby.

13. Start taking belly photos

Even if you are not showing at all in the beginning, it will be fun to have pictures to compare your pregnancy week over week. If you are not that much into taking pictures, I recommend still at least taking one nice belly photo each month. You will be happy to have those as little keepsakes after the pregnancy is over.

14. Pregnancy Journal

You want to start writing down your memories and keep a journal to document your pregnancy because these are the days you’ll never want to forget. It can also be helpful for future doctor’s appointments or simply become a lovely keepsake to look back on.

You can get this one for only $7.00 right now. It comes with 60+ individual pages, lots of helpful prompts throughout, and provides you with checklists for all trimesters. It even includes a full birth plan template to help you getting ready for birth.

pregnancy journal mymommyheart

15. Think about and plan when and how you want to announce your pregnancy

Personally, I made sure only to tell close friends and family before the 12-week milestone. Those were the people who I would also have told if I miscarried.

Planning how to announce your pregnancy to different people can be a lot of fun. Get creative and enjoy this exciting part of your pregnancy journey.

16. Start a baby name list

If you haven’t already started writing down some of your favorite names, start collecting ideas now. It can be a simple list in your notes on your phone or in a paperback journal.

If you are looking for inspiration, check out these 120 strong boy names with powerful meanings or these 120 beautiful and meaningful girl names. These posts also give tips on what to consider when choosing a name for your baby and how to make a final decision with your partner.

notebook with pen ready to have baby names written down

17. Figure out how pregnancy, baby, and maternity leave will affect your finances

This one might not be at the forefront of your mind these days. However, it’s important to start thinking about finances. Make specific plans for saving for your baby, and start writing a list with all the newborn essentials you need. (Don’t worry, it won’t be a lot in the beginning)

18. Buy some new clothes, including supportive bras

Even though your body size and weight might not have started to change at this point, trust me, it will eventually 🙂 Not everyone gains weight or changes shape in the same way, but you want to make sure to have comfortable clothes that make you feel pretty during pregnancy.

And definitely include supportive bras in your shopping list!

Here is a post with my favorite pregnancy essentials for moms.

Get your free printable first trimester checklist as a pdf here


That was it; I hope you got a good overview and feel less overwhelmed by all the information coming at you after finding out that you are pregnant. Following these pregnancy dos and don’ts will help you keep yourself and your baby healthy and safe.

I wish you all the best for your pregnancy!

Here you also find the checklists for your second trimester and third trimester.

first trimester checklist pinterest pin