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First Trimester: Pregnancy guide and to-do list

Congratulations - you are at the beginning of a wonderful journey known as parenthood. During this time a miracle is born and your life is forever changed. It can seem like a terrifying experience! As baby grows, your body changes and in many ways you feel like you do not have control over the situation. We, at Graco, want to help guide you along this journey. There are many things that you can do to make your journey as safe and painless as possible. Just remember that everyday babies are born so you will also get through this, UNICEF claims the total is around 4,3 every second. We give you some tips on how to get through your first trimester.

First Trimester Pregnancy to-do list

Our ultimate pregnancy to-do list has been compiled to help guide you through the tasks that our experts recommend completing. This helpful guide is broken into trimesters to make things easier for you. Don't panic if you don't get all the items done, this is just a guide for your first trimester.

Pregnancy is around 40 weeks - this time period is divided into 3 month periods called a trimester. The first trimester is from your first week until week 12.

Use our handy guide to help you get through your first trimester step by step.


Pregnancy to-do list for the First Trimester

  • Make sure you are pregnant

This can be done with a simple test at home, or confirmed in your doctors office. Most at home pregnancy tests have become very advanced and can how far along you are. If the test results are inconclusive, try again in a few days. Calculate your due date - there are many free online calculators available.


  • Smoking, Drinking and other things to avoid

It is advisable to stop smoking and drinking excessively during your pregnancy.

Smoking, especially, is known to raise your risk of a variety of problems. Research ways to quit and chat to a healthcare professional about how you can quit.

The word is still out on drinking alcohol during pregnancy, but there is definite evidence that binge drinking can harm your unborn child. Chat to your doctor about what levels they consider to be safe.

High levels of Caffeine have been linked to miscarriage and pregnancy problems. Experts advise limiting caffeine to around 200mg per day (335ml).

There are many different opinions on foods, do some research and find out what foods you should avoid - and what foods you SHOULD include. Take care to avoid foods that may contain bacteria, parasites or toxins. (We should do this in our daily lives anyway, but baby will be a lot more sensitive). The best way to avoid this is by avoiding: undercooked meat, unpasteurised soft cheeses, raw eggs, raw fish, oysters and other shelfish, fish high in mercury and raw sprouts.

We know, there goes Sushi and wine night with the girls - but once baby is born it will all be worth it. Morning sickness can make it difficult to eat well during the first trimester, but do your best to eat well. Stock your house with healthy foods so you are less tempted with "junk". (Obviously pregnancy does often come with cravings so we don't blame you for eating all the ice-cream).

Drink plenty of water as staying hydrated is really important. Make sure that you are drinking at least 8 glasses of water and additional water if you do any light activity.


  • Involve your partner or close ones

Share the exciting journey with your partner. Involve him in some of the weird and exciting discoveries that you are making during your first trimester. A really nice exercise to do in terms of parenting styles is to each write 2 lists, you write for mother and he writes for father. The first list is "my mother always", then "my mother never", "my father always" and finally "my father never". Read each others lists and decide what kind of parents you would like to be. Chat about family medical history and any concerns that you may have. Pregnancy is an emotional rollercoaster so be sure to involve those closest to you for emotional support during your first trimester through to the end. Ease your mind by sharing your fears, hopes, and excitement with a friend or a mom who has been where you are.


  • Choose Pregnancy-safe activities

This doesn't have to mean that you must give up all your favourite hobbies. You do need to take care when doing certain activities. Try not to do any heavy lifting, this can even be an advantage when it comes to household chores! Things like changing the kitty litter will not be a part of your chore list anymore. Avoid any harsh chemicals, this can be from cleaning products, beauty products and even lead in drinking water from old pipes. Chat to your doctor or midwife about your daily routine to be sure to stop anything that could be harmful to baby. Avoid anything that raises your body temperature above 102 degrees - things like hot tubs, saunas, steam rooms and super-hot baths.

Some women feel too tired, moody or nauseated to be intimate with their partners. The first trimester is pretty normal for a lot of women, it is only when their bumps grow that they begin to feel uncomfortable. If you are feeling up for it, don't think that you can hurt the baby. The amniotic sac and strong muscles of the uterus offer protection and the mucus plug that seals the cervix helps guard against infection.

Doctors advise taking a daily fifteen to twenty minute walk to help boost your energy levels. Stretching also is a great activity as it enhances your flexibility, prevents your muscles from tightening, and makes you feel looser and more relaxed.


Read our full article on what vitamins the experts recommend taking. During your first trimester the key one is to ensure that you are getting enough folic acid for baby's development. Remember to take care of your health too!


  • Choose a caregiver

If you don't have a doctor that you love and would feel comfortable with, start doing some research. Chat to friends and family to see if any gynaes in your area come with top recommendations. You can also consult other healthcare providers to see if they can recommend someone. Make sure that your preferred provider is covered by your healthcare plan.


  • Check your Medical Aid

Make sure that you have a clear idea of what you are covered for and what expenses you will need to cover. This cover extends to you as well as baby once they are born. Start researching local hospitals and birthing centres. Call your health care provider and tell them about your upcoming bundle so that you can get all the questions you need answered. Often there are freebies provided for new moms so be sure to check out any benefits.


  • Set up a prenatal appointment

Once you have chosen a caregiver, set up your first appointment. Most of the time this is when you are at least 8 weeks pregnant, usually around 9 - 12 weeks. Be sure to book this in advance as appointments can fill up very quickly. Take note of when the first day of your last few periods was so that your doctor can determine your due date. Start jotting down any questions that you may have. Be sure to discuss any medication that you are on with your doctor. Many medications are not safe to be used during pregnancy. The best thing is not to quit any chronic medication suddenly, but to rather discuss this with your healthcare professional. Consider options for your prenatal testing, chat to your doctor about the various screening tests that you can do. The first time that you hear your baby's heartbeat is a very special moment so be sure to include your partner if they are able.


  • Rest up

Although you may feel like a grandmother, not a mother, going to be at 7pm; your body will need extra rest. In the first trimester you may feel exhausted, make sure that you get plenty of sleep. Listen to what your body needs. There are many aches and pains associated with pregnancy, your body is changing and will need time to adjust. It can be hard to determine what is normal and what is not. Trust your gut instinct and if anything does not feel right chat to your healthcare professional. Pregnancy fatigue can make it hard to get through the day, so you may want to revive yourself with a pregnancy power nap of fifteen minutes.


  • Pregnancy Announcement

Think about how you plan on telling your nearest and dearest that you are pregnant. Some women cannot hold the good news in and tell everyone right away. Others wait until they are in their second trimester as the risk of miscarriage has declined significantly. If you have a very stressful lifestyle or job, or if your job could be potentially dangerous you may have to tell a supervisor sooner rather than later. Here's a rundown of symptoms that could be a sign of a problem. If you have any of these complaints, call your doctor or midwife immediately.



  • Morning Sickness

About three-quarters of pregnant women experience morning sickness during their first trimester. Unlike the name, it can in fact last all day and not be during the morning at all. Try to eat small meals frequently, bland food may be easier to eat. There are many remedies for morning sickness like Ginger or acupressure bands. Get some tips on how to relieve morning sickness.


  • Follow baby's development

There are many free newsletters like the BabyCenter's free email newsletters and each week you'll learn exactly what's going on with both your pregnancy and your baby. Follow your baby's development. Try and schedule some "bonding time" with baby. Whether it be 10 minutes in the morning or at night, sit and think about your hopes and dreams for this child. Imagine what your life will be like. Many moms find that this can make the pregnancy feel a bit more real to them, others prefer to wait until their bump has grown to talk to baby.

Many experts suggest doing some breathing exercises, meditation or even prenatal yoga. They can all help to relax you, help you sleep better and keep you on an even keel. Some experts also suggest daily journaling or jotting down some notes during your pregnancy. This can be a great keep sake to share some of the memories with your child someday.


  • Track your own development

Take a photo of your growing bump, week by week or month by month so that you can see just how quickly baby grew. Try to keep the photos consistent by wearing the same outfit or standing in the same place. This will be a lovely keep-sake later on. Your caregiver will monitor your weight to ensure that you are gaining at an appropriate pace. Be sure to also schedule in a dentist appointment.

How many other people in your life can say that they are creating another human! You deserve some pampering, so if you are feeling up for it - go see a movie, have a pedicure or do something that you enjoy. Pregnancy is hard work! Make a list of all the things that you would like to do before the baby arrives.Take some time out for yourself too - maybe plan a babymoon? Take care of your skin by moisturising your belly, hips and thighs daily as baby grows. Invest in a body pillow to make sleeping more comfortable.


  • Look at some maternity clothes

If your breasts are sore, it can be a good idea to get a supportive cotton bra. Try a few on and see which you like best. During pregnancy your breasts may go up a cup size or two so be sure to factor that in. Many moms also opt to rather buy a feeding bra as they change so that they can use this after they have given birth. As your tummy expands, your regular clothes may be too tight so you may want to look at getting some loose and comfortable clothing. Buy a bellyband to extend the life of your pants. Ultimately your comfort should come first when choosing clothes. Don't buy everything in the first trimester as you will obviously still grow.



  • Make a baby budget

The cost of all the new baby expenses can add up quickly so it is a good idea to start thinking how you will handle the expenses. Brainstorm where you can trim your current budget to make room for baby's needs. Consider starting a savings account now so that you have some money available for when you need to cover baby's costs.


  • Maternity Leave and benefits

It can be difficult to inform your employer that you are pregnant, experts suggest waiting until the end of your first trimester. Start researching what benefits you will be entitled to and what expenses you will need to cover.


  • Baby Names

One of the most fun, and stressful, parts of having a baby is choosing their name. There are many different options for choosing a baby name. Some parents advise waiting until the pregnancy feels a bit more real. Other parents break out the baby name book from the first month. It can be a good idea to start thinking about what kind of name you will give your child. For ideas, visit the BabyCenter Baby Names Finder and baby name inspiration lists.

Be sure to follow our blog for the next instalment on your ultimate to-do list for the second semester.