What to Expect in the First Trimester

The first trimester is from 0 to 12 weeks. This is the beginning of your pregnancy and is a very important time for its development. You may feel more tired, and will see some physical and emotional changes. You can also get started with the medical and maternity care that is available for you and your baby. Below is a list of what to expect during these first 12 weeks, a list of to-dos to help you and your developing little one, and signs and symptoms to watch for in this trimester. 

What to expect in the first trimester of pregnancy

  • Tender, swollen breasts
  • Nausea with or without vomiting. Eat slowly and in small amounts every one to two hours. Choose foods that are low in fat. Drink plenty of fluids. Contact your health care provider if your nausea and vomiting is severe.
  • Increased urination
  • Fatigue
  • Food cravings and aversions
  • Heartburn. Eat small, frequent meals and avoid fried foods, citrus fruits, chocolate and spicy foods.
  • Constipation. Include plenty of fiber and fluids in your diet including water and apple, pear, or prune juices. Regular physical activity also helps with constipation.
  • Mood changes

Symptoms to have checked out in the first trimester

As a mom-to-be, you're focused on having a healthy baby. In the first trimester, it is important to know these symptoms and call your provider right away.

  • Heavy vaginal bleeding
  • Severe abdominal pain
  • Sudden thirst
  • Painful urination
  • Fever over 101.5 F, chills and/or backache
  • Severe puffiness in hand/face
  • Vision disturbances

If you experience any of the above symptoms, call your doctor’s office right away. If you don’t get someone on the phone within a few minutes, head to the nearest emergency department. 

First Trimester To-Dos

  • Schedule your first OB visit. Call 641-621-2200. Your doctor will want to see you between 8 and 12 weeks for your first OB appointment. You will be seen every four weeks during the first 28 weeks of pregnancy, every two weeks until you are 36 weeks, and then weekly until you deliver.
  • Blood work will be drawn in the first trimester of pregnancy and you will be asked to leave a urine sample at each prenatal visit.
  • Review your health insurance information.
  • Start a prenatal vitamin that contains at least 800 mcg of folic acid. If not tolerated, assure you receive 800 mcg of folic acid.
  • Eat a healthy diet. Calorie needs remain the same in the first trimester. Eat nutritious foods, such as lean meats, low-fat or nonfat dairy, fruits, vegetables and whole grain breads and cereals.  An additional 300 calories/day are needed in the second and third trimester.
  • Drink at least 64 fluid ounces of water daily.
  • Exercise regularly. You may continue any physical exercise that you were already doing. Try to get at least 30 minutes of physical activity most days of the week.
  • It is safe to continue sexual relations while pregnant unless instructed otherwise by your provider.
  • Do not consume any form of alcohol, tobacco, or recreational drugs in pregnancy. Anything you put into your body can potentially pass onto your baby.
  • Limit caffeine to no more than 12 ounces or 200 mg per day.
  • Do not use hot tubs or saunas during pregnancy.
  • Over-The-Counter Medications. Consult the list of over-the-counter medications that are okay to take during pregnancy. Do not take any medications that are not on this list unless approved by your doctor first.
  • Check with your doctor regarding any current daily medications that you are taking.
  • Do not change kitty litter during pregnancy.

Foods to avoid:

  • Raw meat, deli meat, and hot dogs unless thoroughly heated to 165 degrees (have the restaurant toast your sandwich)
  • Fish with high mercury content (shark, swordfish, mackerel, tile fish)
  • Limit how much tuna you eat in a week to no more than 6 ounces
  • No raw or unpasteurized dairy products or apple ciders
  • Herbal teas
  • Raw sprouts

Tour Our Family Birthing Center Virtually

Feel more comfortable when you deliver your baby by taking a virtual tour of the Family Birthing Center at Pella Regional Health Center. You’ll see our labor and delivery suites, nursery, and mother/baby care areas. You’ll also meet some of the staff who will take care of you and your newborn during your stay. Arrange your prenatal tour by calling 641-628-6613.