Congratulations! Being newly pregnant is such an exciting time. But it can also be hard physically and overwhelming emotionally, right? During my first pregnancy, I felt overloaded trying to prepare for everything changing in our lives, and I didn’t find a lot of guidance on how to handle that (outside of the health/medical side of things). Below are my tips for how to approach the first trimester. (Also: my Second Trimester and Third Trimester task lists)
Consider your physical and emotional health above all else. Being pregnant is a wonderful, beautiful thing, but it can also be challenging for many women. Truly, the only thing you need to be concerned with right now is taking good care of yourself. Start paying attention to your physical and emotional needs and then respect them. Being in tune with our bodies and minds can make such a difference in our well-being! The rest of this below is bonus.
Start thinking about your support network. I wouldn’t survive motherhood without my mom, sister, best friends, neighbors and fellow mothers (it helps to have children around the same age). I rely on these women for all kinds of advice and encouragement. No one can do it alone. Partners are wonderful, but I feel it is important to have other people in the trenches with you, too. Begin considering the people in your life that you want to surround yourself (and your future children) with. And, perhaps open your eyes to new friendships, too. I was lucky enough to have girlfriends during both pregnancies that were due at similar times. It can be so helpful (and fun!) to talk with someone who is in pace with your pregnancy.
Consider your commitments. Many women are exhausted during the first trimester—both times I felt like I had been hit by a truck. It is a wonderful opportunity to think about slowing down in general—not just now, but for the future, too. What commitments are meaningful to you? Which can you let go? This is a new season of life, and perhaps a time to reevaluate the things that are most important to you.
Evaluate your home. This isn’t the time to take on huge changes unless absolutely necessary. But, if you really feel you don’t have adequate room for a growing family, it might be beneficial to start the house hunt or remodeling sooner than later. (The months really do fly by!)
Examine your lifestyle choices. Pregnancy is a time when many women choose to be much healthier. I think this is a fantastic idea, and in addition to food choices and exercise, I would encourage pregnant women to consider removing the toxins in their lives as well. More on this soon!
Take a look at your finances and health insurance. Do you have a family budget? (We do!). What changes might you need to make to accommodate your little one? Will you or your partner get any time off work? Will you be paid for that time? You might even consider adding to an FSA and/or HSA if you can to help with medical expenses (our HSA was an incredible source of savings for us). Companies often have limited enrollment periods, so if you look into this now, you might be able to enroll before the baby arrives. While you are at it, double-check your health insurance to be sure you are aware of its policies.
Spend intentional time with your partner. My husband and I started placing greater emphasis on spending time together without talking about work or future babies. Just each other, our interests and other amusing-to-us topics. I think it is so important to remember the wonderful relationship you have with your partner or spouse outside of children. Begin now with this commitment, so it is already in place before the baby arrives. And make hay while you can! It will be so much more challenging to escape for a date night after the baby is born.
Browse some books. If you plan to read books about parenting, sleep, breastfeeding, etc, it is much easier to digest when you are not holding a crying baby. If you decide to go this route, seek helpful information during your pregnancy so you can easily reference your favorite books when the need arises. (Side note: I did not read any pregnancy books. I felt like they made me more worried. Any real questions I had I asked my doctor. I spent this time reading about caring for babies).
Think about your clothes. With both of my pregnancies, my belly popped quite early and I was out of my jeans by 12 weeks (yikes, I know!). The need for maternity clothes really crept up on me, but I stuck with loose skirts, dresses and leggings as long as possible. I would not rush out and buy anything, but if you do, keep in mind what seasons you will be pregnant. It can feel awkward hiding a tiny belly before you are ready to share things, but fortunately this phase does not last long. I’ll write more soon about my favorite maternity clothes.
Sign up for newsletters. I found the weekly updates from Babycenter and Parenting to be very helpful. I did not always agree with their advice or philosophies, but I still appreciated the steady source of information tailored to my due date. Consider checking out these sites.
Add emergency numbers to your phone and on your fridge. We all hope for an easy pregnancy, but be sure to add your OB’s number to your phone and an obvious place in the house, like your fridge.
And for good measure, the usual stuff: take your prenatals, eat healthy food, exercise, drink enough water and be careful about toxins. And it can’t be said enough—rest.