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First-trimester to-do list: Tips for first-time mothers

The first trimester is an exciting time for mums-to-be. Read on for some essential tips on what to do in the first trimester: from symptoms to checklists.


Pregnant woman from above

Key steps

  • Visit your doctor to arrange your prenatal scans and tests, and to discuss pregnancy supplements.

  • Begin your research on pregnancy and what best suits you. From diet and exercise to parental leave.

  • Start writing your shopping list for maternity essentials and a budgeting spreadsheet for baby costs.

  • Enjoy every moment and don’t worry about all the changes taking place in your body – they’re normal!

There’s nothing quite like the feeling of discovering that you’re pregnant for the first time. With all of the excitement, however, comes a lot of questions. Use this easy-to-follow guide to help get you through those first few weeks and what can sometimes feel like an information overload! Discover what to expect in the first trimester, from symptoms to the kinds of activities you can and cannot do.

Although learning as much as possible about how best to prepare for your baby’s arrival is important, remember to take some time off to simply relax and enjoy.

What to expect in the first trimester?

Have a look at the following symptoms. First-trimester of pregnancy can include any or all of the following:

  • Fatigue

  • Implantation bleeding

  • Nausea

  • Desire to urinate frequently

  • Cravings

  • Constipation

  • Breast tenderness

  • Mood swings

Remember, every pregnancy is unique. These symptoms are all normal as your body is rapidly changing. If you’re ever feeling overly concerned, speak to a health care professional.

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Why is the first trimester so important?

During your first trimester, the first three months of pregnancy (from week 1-12), your baby is undergoing the very earliest stages of growth. It’s a critical period of development and any harmful exposure could impose risks on your baby’s development.

What to do in the first trimester?

All of these sudden changes in your body can be overwhelming. Settle those nerves and have a look at this essential list of what to do in the first trimester to help manage this sensitive time:

  • Make sure you visit the doctor as soon as possible. Take the time to find the right doctor for you.

  • Consult medical advice before taking any prenatal vitamins or folic acid.

  • Book your first lot of prenatal screenings and tests.

  • Look for a nutritionist to guide you through healthy-eating during the first months and to help you manage any cravings you might have. This is extremely important to prevent developing pregnancy diabetes.

  • Have fun researching and reading up all things baby and pregnancy-related.

  • Switch to baby-friendly products, such as kind-to-skin laundry detergents, and hypoallergenic fabric softeners, such as . Make sure it is well ventilated when cleaning and that you are wearing rubber gloves.

  • Create a budgeting spreadsheet to help keep track of all baby costs.

  • Make a list with maternity must-haves.

What not to do in the first trimester?

Now that you know why the first trimester is so important, here’s a list of things you need to avoid during this crucial development time:

  • Do not smoke.

  • Do not drink alcohol.

  • Cut down on caffeine.

  • Do not eat food items your doctor advises you to avoid - common examples include swordfish, raw eggs, uncooked meat, and unpasteurised dairy products.

  • Do not consume herbal teas known to be abortive, such as hibiscus.

  • Avoid overheated places, such as saunas and spa baths.

  • Avoid exposure to toxic and harmful substances.

Learning what to expect in the first month of pregnancy is one of the best ways you can prepare for your little one’s growth and look after your own wellbeing. Read our article on how to baby proof your home. for more advice and remember to enjoy this special time – prioritise your own wellbeing, and the rest will fall into place!

Do you want to learn which household cleaning tasks cause the most stress?  Then read our Heated Household data analysis. 

Originally published