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First Trimester To-Do Checklist

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You've missed your first period and your mind is likely starting to swirl with excitement, concerns and questions. While you have nine months to prepare, some things need attention sooner than delivery day.

Get an appointment with your ob-gyn or family practitioner for your important first prenatal visit. Take a small notepad with any questions you have and to write down any special instructions. Never rely on memory at your doctor visits.

Get someone else to take over kitty litter duties. Pregnant women should avoid dealing with this chore as it can cause toxoplasmosis.

Brainstorm with your partner on how to take care of the household chores during the next several weeks. The reason? Many women suffer from overwhelming fatigue for the first several weeks of pregnancy.

Drop the no-no's from your pregnancy diet. Caffeine is to be avoided or sharply reduced, but the best plan it to eliminate it altogether for at least the first trimester. You should also avoid lunchmeats unless heated due to the risk of the food poisoning listeria. Also stay away from high mercury fish, raw meats, and uncooked eggs.

Stop smoking and drinking, and of course any recreational drugs. Even over the counter medications and herbs can be dangerous during pregnancy. Ask your health care provider before taking anything.

Skip the hot tub and sauna. Overheating is not a good idea. You are much more likely to become light-headed than you normally would.

Begin thinking about maternity leave. Do you hope to work until delivery if possible? Will you want to return to work as soon as possible or take an extended maternity leave? While you may well change your mind later, beginning to consider all your options early is advisable.

Prepare for morning sickness. Have a morning kit at your bedside consisting of crackers and whatever liquid seems to stay down best. Nibble a little before trying to get up and moving helps quite often. Trust your gut. If all that sounds good to you for the first weeks is wheat toast or oranges, go with it. While you want to eat a balanced healthy diet, when coping with nausea you have to heed your aversions. It's best to get something down even if it's not the best nutritionally than eat nothing at all. Plus an empty stomach is more likely to be a queasy one.

Settle on your doctor. Maybe you plan to stick with your regular ob-gyn, but perhaps you don't want to deliver at the hospital where she works. It's OK to set up appointments to meet with doctors but the sooner the better. Find out if you'll see the same doctor at every appointment or if the partners in the practice share patients. See if your birth plan (while obviously quite preliminary) is something the doctor is comfortable with. Allison Hutton provides a few tips about finding the perfect ob/gyn doctor for you.

Consider getting a pregnancy journal. It will be a nice memory keeper but also can help you while you try to maintain your equilibrium as your hormones go crazy.

Drink plenty of water. It's important to stay hydrated. If you find yourself getting headaches, fatigue and experiencing thirst you are not drinking enough.

Consider adjusting any travel plans. The first trimester is when the risk of miscarriage is greatest and when labor is imminent it's advisable to stay close to home. The second trimester is the ideal time for trips or vacations. Here are some tips for traveling during pregnancy.


Related Articles

Second Trimester To-Do Checklist

Third Trimester To-Do Checklist

Pregnancy To-Do Checklist: The Third Trimester

Pregnancy To-Do Checklist: The Second Trimester

Pregnancy To-Do Checklist: The First Trimester

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hannah Apr 30, 2012 10:59:00 AM ET

2 weeks ago i took a pregnancy teat and came back negative. one week later i took another one and it came back positive, a few says later i now have cramping, back pain and mild bleeding along with a few clots. but only when i wipe. is this something too worry about?

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