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What to Expect in the First Trimester

Pregnancy test

Table of Contents

I'm pregnant! Now what?

Pregnancy is such an exciting but scary journey. Whether you are a seasoned mom or this is your first pregnancy, it is always good to get information on pregnancy’s dos’ and don’ts. I love hearing from moms that have already “been there, done that”! We are constantly learning new tips and tricks to help simplify life as a parent. Let’s be honest, parenting is hard, and there isn’t an instruction manual that comes with babies. So I created this post with simple tips, what to expect in the first 12 weeks and ideas that I have found that made pregnancy a little bit easier! 

I have had four live births.  Two of which are my own, and two I carried for two other families. I learned different ideas and tips from each pregnancy, what NOT to do, and what to do!

When is a good time to take the pregnancy test?

Most at-home pregnancy tests say as early as 5-6 weeks. Or five days before your missed period. I always waited until I knew that I missed a period. Or during IVF, I waited until they told me to take one! Typically that time was around 6 weeks. 

Never just take one test, I would take several over the course of a few days. There are lots of false positives and negatives out there!

Once you have a few positives, you can call your healthcare provider and request a pregnancy blood test to confirm.

The pregnancy tests detect the human chorionic gonadotropin (hCG) hormone in your urine, if that level is high enough, it will show up positive on a home test. Your levels are highest in the morning, so testing with the first pee is your best bet!

Pregnancy Symptoms

Most everyone knows the primary pregnancy symptoms: nausea, vomiting, breast changes, missed period, exhaustion, emotions going crazy…

But what about the ones that people don’t really talk about? After my first pregnancy, I knew when I was pregnant the second, third, and fourth time! I would get bloody noses, and they continued the entire pregnancy. 

  • Nose bleeds
  • Constipation/gas/bloating
  • Food cravings
  • Smell increase
  • Peeing ALL the time, especially in the first trimester with all the hormone changes, and then, of course, in the third trimester when baby likes to use your bladder as a squeeze ball. 
  • Cramps, I know, you think, “yay! No period, no cramping”! Wrong, cramping is normal, especially during implantation.

Everyone is different, and every pregnancy is different. I had morning sickness in the evening, and in all three trimesters. My girlfriend on the other hand never had morning sickness, but couldn’t stand the smell of roses.



pregnancy symptoms

What to expect during your first prenatal appointment.

Now that pregnancy is in full swing and you are starting to experience those lovely pregnancy symptoms, it’s time to call your provider and give them the good news that you will be seeing them regularly for the next nine months! Typically healthcare providers start seeing women at around the 10th week of pregnancy. Call your provider to see when they want to start seeing you. 

During the first appointment, you will receive a ton of information, don’t hesitate to ask questions if you don’t understand something, and take a notebook and write things down. Informed decision-making is crucial, so never be afraid to ask questions. 

Your provider will go over your family history, your pregnancy history (if any), do a physical exam, and figure out when you are due!

This appointment is exciting because you will get to hear the baby’s heartbeat. That was always my favorite part of pregnancy. Many providers like to do an ultrasound at this time also. 

Routine bloodwork is also done; checking for anemia, immunity to rubella, test for Hepatitis B, syphilis, HIV, and other STDs (if needed). They will also test your blood type and Rh factor. You will receive the RhoGam shot at about 28 weeks of pregnancy if you are Rh-negative. 

Depending on your preference for genetic testing, this can be offered at this time. 

Typically a urine test is also done; UTIs can be common in pregnancy.

As long as all testing comes back normal, you will typically see your provider about every four weeks until the start of the third trimester. 

But I want to know the baby's gender right away!

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Let's talk about first trimester essentials

  • You will start to have a full feeling towards the end of the first trimester. You probably aren’t showing yet, but your pants are getting uncomfortable. I ended up living in dresses or leggings for a while. By 11-12 weeks, you might want to start looking into maternity clothes. 
  • Your provider will go over what vitamins and supplements you will be needing. Vitamins and supplements help compensate for devitalized soil, air pollution, and stress. When looking into a good prenatal vitamin, make sure it is low in calcium but high in iron. Calcium and iron counteract each other, so try to take them separately at different parts of the day. 

Fact: Iron is not in gummy vitamins; it doesn’t blend with the ingredients in gummy vitamins. If you are taking a gummy prenatal, add an iron supplement. Iron is vital for helping prevent anemia during pregnancy due to the body producing more blood to support you and your baby. Iron helps your body to make enough red blood cells. Red blood cells carry oxygen to the body’s tissues and to your baby! 

  • One of the main things that got me through the first trimester is earth mama organics tea. It tastes great and helps with nausea and calming. 
Earth Mama Organics - Organic Ginger Nausea Tea
  • Before I started showing, I started using belly cream. It was my little self-care, and I am so glad I did.  During pregnancy, your poor skin gets dry, stretches, and sometimes itchy. I love The Spoiled Mama products. They are safe, non-toxic, and smell so fresh.
The Spoiled Mama
  • As the baby grows and you start to get uncomfortable sleeping, I would look for a body pillow. They are lifesavers! 
  • Check out my resources page for more essentials, recommended books, and more!

No more of these!

  • Hot tubs or saunas
  • Drugs/smoking/alcohol
  • Limit caffeine intake
  • Raw foods: eggs, sushi, meats.
  • Extreme exercise
  • Avoid overwork and stress
  • If you have a cat, stop changing the litter box also! 

Remember, you are caring for a little one growing inside you! Taking care of yourself is vital.

A healthy pregnancy starts with nutrition and exercise

The first trimester can be challenging to get good nutrition in, especially when the last thing you want to do is eat because you are nauseous. A well-balanced diet will help tremendously, though. Nutrition is the foundation of health. Poor nutrition is one of the leading causes of prenatal complications. 

Even though you are exhausted, some yoga or walking daily is essential. Daily exercise can clear your mind, help fight fatigue, and help prevent complications.  One of my favorite products is a birth ball; you can use it for exercise, and it is great for labor. 

Water is vital; it is recommended that you drink at least 2 quarts a day. Investing in a good water bottle is a must!

What size is my baby this week?

comparison chart for fetal growth

I hope this helps you get an idea of what to expect during your first trimester! Stay tuned! Ready for the second trimester (Read more here..)?  Want to get more support, tips, and tricks for pregnancy? Simply sign up below! Don’t be afraid to connect with me. I am here to help! The chart above is available for download! Sign up now for your free printable.

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I am Leah. Welcome to The Loving Cedar LLC. Here is where you will find parenting tips and tricks to help you simplify life.


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