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First Trimester Checklist
The beginning of your pregnancy is an important time for you and your growing baby. You’ll experience a wide range of physical and emotional changes, and the choices you make can have a profound effect on your baby’s development. This checklist provides a quick overview of what’s expected in the next three months.

  • Begin prenatal care as soon as possible. Discuss your past medical conditions, current health concerns and current medication usage with your health care provider.
  • During prenatal care, you’ll have an opportunity to hear your baby’s heart beat, and may get to see your baby on ultrasound.
  • If you’re over 35 or have a family history of genetic problems, you’ll be offered genetic testing such as amniocentesis or chorionic villus sampling.
  • Choose healthy foods. Now’s the time to eliminate junk foods in favor of healthier “nutrient dense foods” such as whole grains, dairy, fresh fruits, vegetables and lean proteins. Minimize caffeine intake to no more than one coffee a day, and try to drink 8 glasses of water a day.
  • Cut out cigarettes, alcohol and illicit drugs.
  • Food safety is very important throughout your pregnancy. Don’t eat shark, king mackerel or tile fish and limit other fish to once a week to avoid excessive exposures to mercury and other pollutants. Don’t eat uncooked meats, eggs, shellfish, and unpasteurized milk and cheese to avoid harmful bacteria.
  • Take a prenatal vitamin or folic acid supplement containing at least 800 mcg folic acid a day.
  • Rest when you can. Fatigue is common in this stage of pregnancy; use it as a reminder to go to sleep early, and take naps when you can.
  • Exercise regularly for a healthy balance in your life. This will provide you with more energy and help you to sleep at night.
  • Reduce emotional and physical stresses. Ask for help with chores and other responsibilities. Learn to say “no” to unnecessary obligations. Other ways to reduce stress include relaxation techniques, meditation, exercise and yoga.
  • Avoid exposure to harmful substances at work and at home. Hazardous work exposures may include lead, mercury, X-rays, chemotherapeutic agents, and organic solvents. If you are a health care worker, minimize your risk of infection by wearing gloves or masks as needed, and washing your hands frequently.

    Home exposures may include cleaning products with strong odors, insecticides, pesticides, paint fumes, and second-hand smoke. Wear gloves when changing cat litter, or pass on this chore to someone else.

  • Common 1st Trimester tests: screening for HIV, Chlamydia, Gonorrhea, anemia, blood type, sickle cell, urine infection and rubella. Ultrasound to check early fetal development. Genetic screening tests such as chorionic villus sampling.
  • Common 1st trimester symptoms: fatigue, breast tenderness, nausea (morning sickness), frequent urination, vaginal discharge, and mood swings.
  • Signs that you need medical help: bleeding, painful cramping, severe abdominal or shoulder pain, heavy or odorous vaginal discharge, depression, fever over 101°F.
Laura E. Stachel M.D. Obstetrician & Gynecologist