The First Trimester
Introduction: First and foremost, I designed these posts to be fun! I wanted to share my personal experiences and pass along any information or resources I found particularly helpful. Google and Pinterest became my BFFs during my pregnancy. I loved reading different blog posts about various pregnancy topics and I wanted to contribute to help other women. These tips and tricks helped me feel more comfortable and prepared in addition to getting me excited for my baby’s upcoming arrival so that is my goal with my posts as well. I’ve done my best to gather information and package it up into neat little weekly snippets.
I hope these posts are entertaining and (at least somewhat) useful. I really enjoyed writing and reflecting on the months of my pregnancy. Please feel free to leave a comment or email me about your experiences, tips, questions, comments, concerns, anything! I would love to hear from each and every one of you!
DISCLAIMER: All the information in this post is for entertainment purposes only. This post is based on experience and personal research. The author is not a health care professional and all readers are encouraged to consult their healthcare provider with any questions or concerns regarding their health.
Trying to conceive:
I thought it’d be appropriate to start with a brief overview of trying to conceive (TTC). I mean, that is the starting point of your pregnancy so it only seems right that we start off with conception. This is just a brief overview. There is an abundant amount of information on TTC so don’t be afraid to expand on these ideas if something strikes your fancy!
Essential Things For Women to Do:
- Schedule a checkup with your doctor – Your healthcare provider will be able to provide you with valuable information about TTC and your overall health
- Stop the birth control
- Schedule a visit with your dentist – This way you can have a proper professional cleaning before you start your 40-week journey. The health status of your teeth and gums can have a direct effect on your chances of conceiving or even cause pregnancy complications. Plus dental work gets a bit difficult during pregnancy.
- Get finances in order – Babies are expensive, I’m sure you’ve heard that one about a million times already. It will be much easier to get that credit card debt under control and to bank up an emergency fund right now rather than when the baby is here (at the same time, be realistic. Don’t wait too long for the “perfect” moment to start trying because there is no such thing as perfect.
- Start taking prenatal vitamins – It is recommended you begin taking these a few months before trying to conceive. Bonus: Prenatals do wonders for your hair and nails.
- Kick those bad habits– if you are smoking, stop. If you are drinking excessively at least cut back (it’s recommended you stop drinking altogether) and limit your caffeine intake. These types of habits can hinder conception and they aren’t great for your health either.
Essential Things for Men to Do:
- Men avoid tight clothing (boxers are your friend!)
- Break Bad Habits – Cut back on alcohol consumption and quit smoking!
- Keep Your Cool – Avoid getting the “boys” hot – super hot baths, laptops on lap, etc.
Proactive Methods to Try:
Track Your Cycle
This is an absolute must! All you have to do is keep track of when you had your period! This can predict your ovulation window as it is “typically” 14 days before the beginning of your next cycle (first day of your period). This is not always the case with every woman but it is a place to start. I suggest pairing this method with another method to help identify ovulation.
Okay, sounds easy, right? Haha! I can remember many times being asked when my last period was only to stutter, stammer, and ultimately guess. I now use an app called glow to keep all my information straight. That way when someone in the health field asks me, I can check my phone and give accurate information. Easy, convenient, and helpful!
Basal body temperature method (BBT)
This method requires you to have a basal thermometer. This type of thermometer measures your body temperature on a more precise level giving you the ability to detect the smallest changes and ultimately helping you pinpoint ovulation. There are many free apps available to help you track your BBT and use the data to predict your ovulation window. There is also a manual way to plot your BBT on a chart if you are interested in the “old-fashioned” way.
Track Cervical Mucus (CM)
Hormonal changes throughout your cycle will have an impact on your cervical mucus. The consistency, color, and amount can tell you a lot about which phase you are currently in. Again, this helps you predict your ovulation window. You can also use an app to track CM as well.
Ovulation Tests aka OPKs
Very similar to a pregnancy test, these little guys will help you pinpoint your ovulation window making it easier to conceive. Instructions in the OPK will tell you when to begin taking the tests and once you find your peak day (the day before ovulation) you stop taking the tests for that month and prepare to baby dance! This method is most effective (and least expensive) when you are also tracking your cycle (see, I told you tracking was important)!
I’ve heard good things about this, but I have no personal experience with it. It’s a lubricant that TTC safe. It is supposed to mimic fertileCM, helping sperm meet egg (the goal)!
DO NOT get discouraged. There is no magic formula to determine how long this should take. For some, it is quicker than others so don’t compare yourself to someone else.
DO NOT make it a chore!
DO NOT put excessive pressure on yourself or your partner
DO stay positive
DO have fun!
The First Trimester!
This week actually begins with the first day of your period. You technically aren’t pregnant and won’t be for two more weeks!
You may be wondering how can my first week of pregnancy begin with my last menstrual period (or LMP). There are two ways to measure a pregnancy: gestational age and fetal age. With gestational age, measurement begins with your LMP. This is the most common method for measuring pregnancy because the date of conception can be difficult to pinpoint. Fetal age begins at conception and is typically used by biologists.
Things to Do:
- Investigate: Check out your health insurance policy and find out what it does and doesn’t cover
- Research: Utilize google to find maternity wards in your area that accept your insurance
- Evaluate: Take a look at your home and assess what needs to be done to make it a safe place for future babies
This week begins the dreaded two-week wait (TWW)! It’s easy to get wrapped up in the desire for those two measly pink lines. Find ways to occupy your time and keep your mind busy.
Activities to help you keep your sanity during the TWW (and beyond):
- Start a new hobby – pick up crocheting, start a blog
- Clean and organize – you might as well get a head start on the whole nesting thing, while you have the energy to do it!
- Learn – start learning a new skill or language
- Plan a game night with some friends
- Treat yourself to a warm bubble bath and a good book
- Plan a mini road trip
You have officially conceived! Think of it as you’ve basically earned two bonus weeks at this point! Yay! Two weeks closer to meeting that bundle of joy. It may still be too early for a positive pregnancy test so don’t get discouraged if it still says negative. It’s not over till Aunt Flow shows up.
Things to Do:
- Exercise: It’s never too early to start thinking about an exercise program during pregnancy. Do some research to see if there is a local prenatal exercise class or purchase a DVD. *Feeling extra frugal – youtube offers a wide selection of free videos* Yay for the internet! Remember: Consult your doctor
Aunt Flow was supposed to pay you a visit this week, but she won’t be stopping by for the next 36 weeks! One of the benefits of being pregnant. You officially have yourself an embryo!
Things to Do:
- Calculate your due date- I used the website Count Down to Pregnancy. It’s FREE! Enter the date of your LMP (or date of ovulation if you know it) this website gives a list of dates including the estimated due date, the beginning of the 2nd and 3rd trimester, baby’s first heartbeat, Viability, and range for a possible anatomy scan. Kind of cool to look at.
- Take a “before” pictures for fun! Your body will be going through some crazy and rapid changes. It can be exciting to see the process and growth.
- No more cat box duty – cat feces can carry parasites that can cause Toxoplasmosis. It’s best not to take any chances and it’s a great excuse to let your partner take over this task.
- Diet changes – most things are fine in moderation. Avoid raw or under cooked meat, certain fish (because of high mercury levels), soft cheese, unpasteurized dairy, and all alcohol.
Your teeny, tiny baby has a heartbeat! How adorable is that? It’s amazing the difference a short week can make in pregnancy development.
Things to Do:
- Buy a pregnancy book: My favorite is Expecting 411. It has lots of useful information without giving me nightmares – it’s light-hearted and easy to read. You can easily digest the little bits of information instead of consuming the entire book.
- Start a pregnancy journal: It can be fun to track the progress of your pregnancy.
You will now be able to hear your baby’s heartbeat with a Doppler fetal monitor <3 This was my favorite part of each appointment! It was very reassuring and exciting.
Things to Do:
- Train yourself to sleep on your side now! If you are like me, you love to sleep on your stomach. Pregnancy changed that for me. Sleeping on your left side is considered the best position to sleep in because it increases nutrients and blood flow to your placenta and that is great for baby!
- Download some baby apps: Lifecake, Glow Nurture, 2lifeBaby, and What to Expect are some of my favorites.
- Purchase a personal Doppler: I didn’t do this but wish I had! It would have put my mind at ease a couple of times. There are a few options on the market but this one looks pretty cool! It allows you to record the heartbeat as well.
Keep a small notebook with any questions or concerns you have for your healthcare provider. Hint Hint: Google does not count as a healthcare provider. I suggest staying away from google and sites like WebMD. They don’t really help, they just scare the crap out of you. If something is making you feel uneasy – call your doctor! Trust your instinct.
Things to Do:
- For Fun: Submit your ultrasound to this website. It uses Ramzi theory to predict the gender. It’s free! Takes about 7 days to see results (you can “rush” it for $3.99) I wouldn’t go crazy and paint the nursery according to your results but it is something fun today (hey they do have a 50/50 chance of being right). It ended up being accurate for us!
- Research Prenatal Tests: Medical professionals offer different screenings to determine certain risks with a pregnancy. The American Pregnancy Association has great information on each test to help you decide if you want the tests done or not.
- Be Diet Conscious: Indulge but don’t overindulge! It is recommended you increase your calorie intake but 300 calories. That box of brownies you’ve been eyeing up is more like 1800 calories.
After your initial appointment, you should expect to see your healthcare provider once a month until 32 weeks. It can start to feel like the doctor’s office is your second home. Most providers will let you make multiple appointments in advance which makes it easier to plan and take time off work.
Pregnancy must haves:
- Night Light – the midnight bathroom visits are unavoidable. Mine started early on in week five thanks to a surge of the pregnancy hormone, HCG. To avoid turning the bathroom light on and fully waking up I used a nightlight. One of my best purchases as funny as that sounds. I was making 3-4 trips a night.
- Humidifier – this is necessary if you live in certain climates during the cold, winter months. You can use this after the baby is born too. It can help relieve cold symptoms for the whole family.
- Sleep Bras – I should have purchased more of these. There comes a point in your pregnancy when your boobs will be so incredibly heavy and sore it may be uncomfortable to go braless. I also used these postpartum for the same reasons.
- Maternity Pillow – I did not purchase a maternity pillow but I did use a body pillow and other pillows to surrounded myself.
- Nursing/Maternity Bras – the most important purchase. I wish I would have bought more because I lived in these throughout my pregnancy and during the breastfeeding months. They aren’t super flattering but they are comfortable and there comes a point where comfort is really all that matters. They also make nursing super convenient. Try a few different styles to find out what you like best. I recommend scattering these purchases throughout your pregnancy because your size will change. Personally, I have four different cup sizes in my drawer. I wouldn’t waste my money on expensive name brand bras during your pregnancy since your bra size will fluctuate dramatically until you are done breastfeeding.
Baby is just an inch long! Despite your baby being teeny tiny, you may find yoga pants and leggings fit more comfortably than your skinny jeans. Dresses are another cute and sophisticated alternative to constricting clothing.
Things to Do:
- Kegel Exercises: These can help with bladder control not to mention labor and recovery. Kegels are just plain good for you and ridiculously easy to do. No special equipment is required and you can do them ANYWHERE. Check out this site for clear instructions on how to do these properly.
- Plan Pregnancy Announcement: Look at ideas for your pregnancy announcement. Check out Pinterest for inspiration.
- Sleep: If you are tired, sleep! Don’t feel guilty about it. I remember looking at my husband and asking if 8:30 was too early to go to bed on a Saturday night. #noshame
Baby is officially a fetus! Things are progressing nicely and you may feel drained – physically and emotionally. Morning sickness may be kicking your butt too. It may not feel like it but this will all pass. I still remember the crazy looks Jake would give me when I wanted to go to bed at 8:30 pm on a Saturday night.
Great Tip – Use inexpensive gift bags to carry urine samples to your doctor’s appointments. Your purse is not a good idea! The nurse told me a story about a patient who didn’t screw her sample cap on tight and it leaked in her purse. I started using disposable lunch bags or little gift bags to carry my sample into the office.
Things to Do:
- Prepare a baby budget and emergency fund
- Plan a Gender Reveal: Once you have your anatomy ultrasound scheduled you’ll have a very good idea when you’ll find out the gender (if you decide to do this). You can plan a small event or a big Facebook reveal. The gender reveal gives you something excited to plan, prep, and look forward to.
At this point you’re either thinking “WOW! It’s already been 11 weeks” OR “WOW! It’s only been 11 weeks!” During pregnancy, some days (or even weeks) can really drag. Making things for baby can be a productive way to help pass the time. You can use Pinterest to find different tutorials to make useful things for your little one.
- Bandana Bib (Tutorial)
- Burp Cloths (Tutorial)
- Baby Toys
- Hats (Free Pattern)
- Nursery Decor
- Baby Book
Things to Do:
- Collect those free samples: Everyone loves free stuff! You can get some baby freebies when you complete a registry on Amazon.com or at a Target store.
- Buy Maternity Clothes: There’s no reason to go too crazy here. A few staple items are great to mix in with your current wardrobe. You’ll find some of your pre-pregnancy clothes can still be used (especially during the winter months – Hello chunky sweaters!)
Your little one weighs about half an ounce! If you’re like me, you’re wondering what caused the other ten pounds you managed to find during the first couple of months. Try not to obsess over weight unless your healthcare provider thinks it’s becoming an issue. Every person’s body is different and every pregnancy is different so avoid comparing yourself to others or even your previous pregnancies.
Things to Do:
- Continue or start using lotion: Keep your skin hydrated, especially during the winter months. Some say it helps prevent stretchmarks but some research shows that has more to do with genetics.
- Start taking weekly pictures if you haven’t started already. From this point on, you’ll be surprised how fast things will progress (and how big you will get)!
Bump Picture Tips:
- Wear the same outfit for a uniform look
- Pick an area with great lighting and a simple background
- Don’t over edit your photos
- Have fun with props and signs
This is the last week of the first trimester! That means you are one-third of the way done! That’s kind of a big deal. The second trimester is typically the most enjoyable.
Things to Do:
- Start discussing names with your partner if you haven’t already. Can’t decide on a name? Try an elimination bracket. It will appeal to those sports fanatics and it’s a great keepsake for the baby book. Your child can look back and thank you for not naming them [insert terrible name here].
- Plan a Babymoon: The second trimester is the perfect time to plan a trip for you and your significant other before the baby arrives.
Disclaimer: Some of the links in this post are affiliate or sponsor links. With these links Growing Up With Sam can receive a commission. These commissions help support the work and website at no additional cost to you.