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Pregnancy In The First Trimester
what you need to know


Pregnancy App

Try an app to track your baby’s development. Flo, is a good choice, Baby Center is another. They track your pregnancy and review the essentials of being a parent with special visuals and articles.


During your pregnancy avoid exposure to cleaning solvents, bleach, pesticides, lead, and mercury.

Home Cleaning Products:

Avoid traditional cleaning products that contain bleach and harsh chemicals. 

Best option: make your own 

1. DIY Scented All-Purpose Cleaner

What you'll need:

  • One part white vinegar

  • One part water

  • Lemon rind

  • Rosemary sprigs

  • spray bottle

Combine the above ingredients together, pour into a spray bottle, shake, and use. Caution: Do not use acidic cleaners on granite, as they will etch the stone.

Non-vinegar alternative:

Mix ½ teaspoon of washing soda (sodium carbonate), 2 teaspoons of borax, ½ teaspoon of plant-based liquid soap, and two cups of hot water in a spray bottle. Shake well.

2. DIY Kitchen Cleaner and Deodorizer

What you'll need:

  • 4 tablespoons baking soda

  • 1-quart warm water


Store-bought alternatives: Seventh Generation, Mrs. Meyer's, Puracy, Better Life. 

Artificial Nails

Your nails grow faster when you're pregnant. Nail salons often smell strongly of chemicals.

At least one study has also shown that pregnant women who work in nail salons, dry cleaning establishments, medical laboratories, and manufacturing plants who work with smelly chemical solvents may be putting their unborn baby's brain development at risk.

Bikini Wax

Wax is preferable to chemical depilatories.


Hair Dye and Perms

There are no data supporting the harmful effects of hair dye. Very little dye reaches your scalp. The smells, however, can gross out a pregnant woman's overly sensitive sniffer.


Use sulfate-free shampoo. Johnson & Johnson Baby Shampoo is a gentle, sulfate-free option. Honest, Native, and Dr. Bronner's are all gentle products that are safe for the pregnant mother. 



Use triple-milled bar soap. Pre de Provence Artisanal French Soap is a great option. CeraVe, Dr. Bronner's, and Cetaphil bar soap are other good options.



Burt's Bees Mama Bee: Belly Butter & Body Oil are safe moisturizers to use in pregnancy.


Use alcohol-free brands.

Pregnancy and work

If your job requires heavy lifting, you may need to stop working or reduce your work hours. Most women are advised to only lift things that weigh under 20 pounds (9 kilograms) during pregnancy.


Repetitively lifting heavier amounts often causes back injury or disability.


If you work in a job where you are around hazards (poisons or toxins), you may need to change your role until after the baby is born. Some hazards that may pose a threat to your baby include:

  • Hair colorants: When pregnant, avoid getting or giving hair treatments. Your hands could absorb the chemicals in the color.

  • Chemotherapy drugs: These are drugs used to treat people with health problems like cancer. They are very strong drugs. They may affect healthcare workers like nurses or pharmacists.

  • Lead: You could be exposed to lead if you work in lead smelting, paint/battery/glass making, printing, ceramics, pottery glazing, toll booths, and heavily traveled roads.

  • Ionizing radiation: This applies to x-ray techs and people who work in some types of research. Also, airline flight attendants or pilots may need to reduce their flying time during pregnancy to reduce their radiation exposure.

Ask your employer about any hazards or poisons in your workplace:

  • Are the levels toxic?

  • Is the workplace ventilated (Is there proper airflow to let the chemicals out)?

  • What system is in place to protect workers from hazards?


Carpal Tunnel


If you work on a computer, you may notice numbness or tingling in your hands. This may be carpal tunnel syndrome. The numbness and tingling is caused by your body holding onto extra fluid.


The symptoms may come and go. They often feel worse at night. Most often, they get better after you give birth. If the pain is causing you problems, you can try a few things for relief:

  • If you work at a computer, adjust the height of your chair so your wrists aren't bent downward as you type.

  • Take short breaks to move your arms and stretch your hands.

  • Try a wrist or hand brace or an ergonomic keyboard.

  • Sleep with a splint or brace on your hands, or prop your arms on pillows.

  • If pain or tingling wakes you up at night, shake your hands until it goes away.


Stress at work, and everywhere else, is a normal part of life. But too much stress can lead to health problems for you and your baby. Stress can also affect how well your body can fight off infection or disease.

A few tips to deal with stress:

  • Talk about your worries with your partner or a friend.

  • Get regular prenatal care.

  • Follow a healthy diet and stay active.

  • Get plenty of sleep each night.

  • Meditate.

Diet and Nutrition

According to the FDA, about 300 extra calories are needed daily to maintain a healthy pregnancy. These calories should come from a balanced diet of protein, fruits, vegetables, and whole grains, with sweets and fats kept to a minimum. A healthy, well-balanced diet during pregnancy can also help minimize some pregnancy symptoms such as nausea and constipation.

Fluid intake is also an important part of pregnancy nutrition. Women can take in enough fluids by drinking six to eight glasses of water each day, in addition to the fluids in juices and soups. All alcohol should be avoided in pregnancy.

Eat the rainbow. Foods that are colorful: dark green spinach, orange carrots, red apples, yellow bananas, blueberries. Not only do such brightly colored foods generally offer the most nutrients and antioxidants, but having a varied diet will expose your baby to a range of tastes and flavors. Your baby eats what you eat through the amniotic fluid, so if you eat a wide variety of foods, your baby will also.

RAW MEAT: Pregnant women who eat raw or undercooked meat and eggs are at risk of contracting listeriosis and toxoplasmosis, which can lead to serious and life-threatening illnesses. These illnesses can cause severe birth defects and miscarriage. Cook your meat and eggs thoroughly prior to eating.

DELI MEAT: Try to avoid deli meat. 

CHEESE: Cheeses made in the U.S. must be made from pasteurized milk (this process kills the listeria organism), so they are fairly safe. Imported, unpasteurized, or locally-made "natural" soft cheeses are potentially problematic.

FISH: Do not eat shark, swordfish, king mackerel, bigeye tuna, orange roughy, or golden or white snapper (tilefish) from the Gulf of Mexico, because they often contain high levels of mercury.

  • Eat 8-12 ounces (2-3 average meals) a week of a variety of fish and shellfish that are lower in mercury. Five of the most commonly eaten fish and shellfish that are low in mercury are shrimp, canned light tuna, salmon, pollock, and catfish.

  • Another commonly eaten fish, albacore ("white") tuna, has more mercury than canned light tuna. So when choosing your two meals of fish and shellfish, limit your consumption of albacore tuna to 6 ounces (1 average meal) per week.

  • When eating fish you or others have caught from streams, rivers, and lakes, pay attention to fish advisories on those water bodies. If there are no warnings, limit eating such fish to 6 ounces a week and 1-3 ounces for young children.

  • When adding more fish to your diet, be sure to stay within your calorie needs.
    Fish sticks and fast-food sandwiches are commonly made from fish that are low in mercury.


Regular exercise can often help to minimize the physical discomforts of pregnancy and help with the recovery after the baby is born. There is evidence that physical activity may be especially beneficial for women with gestational diabetes.

According to the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, women who exercised and were physically fit before pregnancy can safely continue exercising throughout pregnancy. Women who were inactive before pregnancy or who have medical or pregnancy complications should consult with their physician or midwife before beginning any exercise during pregnancy.

Types of exercise and strenuous activities to avoid during pregnancy include:

  • Horseback riding

  • Water skiing

  • Scuba diving

  • High altitude skiing

  • Contact sports

  • Any exercise that can cause a serious fall

  • Exercising on your back after the first trimester (because of reduced blood flow to the uterus)

  • Vigorous exercise in hot, humid weather, as pregnant women are less efficient at exchanging heat

  • Exercise involving the Valsalva maneuver (holding one's breath during exertion), which can cause an increased intra-abdominal pressure

Over the Counter Medication

 Safe medicine to take when pregnant

Heartburn, gas and bloating, upset stomach

Antacids for heartburn (Maalox, Mylanta, Rolaids, Tums)

Simethicone for gas pains (Gas-X, Maalox Anti-Gas, Mylanta Gas, Mylicon)

Cough or cold

Guaifenesin, an expectorant (Hytuss, Mucinex, Naldecon Senior EX, Robitussin)

Dextromethorphan, a cough suppressant (Benylin Adult, Robitussin Maximum Strength Cough, Scot-Tussin DM, Vicks 44 Cough Relief)

Guaifenesin plus dextromethorphan (Benylin Expectorant, Robitussin DM, Vicks 44E)

Cough drops

Vicks VapoRub

Pain relief, headache, and fever

Acetaminophen (Anacin Aspirin-Free, Tylenol, Shake That Ache!) - Try to avoid use in 1st trimester

Allergy relief

Chlorpheniramine, an antihistamine (Chlor-Trimeton allergy tablets)

Loratadine, an antihistamine (Alavert, Claritin, Tavist ND, Triaminic Allerchews)

Diphenhydramine, an antihistamine (Banophen, Benadryl, Diphenhist, Genahist)

Constipation, hemorrhoids, and diarrhea

Psyllium (Konsyl-D, Metamucil, Modane Bulk, Perdiem)

Polycarbophil (Equalactin, Fiber-Lax, FiberNorm, Konsyl, Mitrolan)

Methylcellulose (Citrucel, UniFiber)

Other laxatives and stool softeners (Colace, Dulcolax, Maltsupex, Move It Along!, milk of magnesia)

Hemorrhoid creams (Anusol, Preparation H, Tucks)

Loperamide, antidiarrheal medication (Imodium, Kaopectate II, Maalox Total Relief, Pepto Diarrhea Control)

Yeast infections  

Clotrimazole (Cruex, Gyne-Lotrimin 3, Lotrimin AF, Mycelex-7)

Miconazole (Desenex, Femizol-M, Micatin, Monistat 3)

Terbinafine (Lamisil AT)

Tioconazole (Monistat 1, Vagistat-1)

Butoconazole (Femstat 3, Mycelex-3)

Butenafine (Lotrimin Ultra)

Tolnaftate (Absorbine Athlete's Foot Cream, Absorbine Footcare, Genaspor, Tinactin)


Try to get 8 hours of sleep each day.

Sleeping Position

Lying on your left side after the fourth month minimizes pressure on your uterus and intestines and speeds up nutrients to the baby. If you wake up in a different position, such as your back, flop over and start again. Lying on your back puts too much pressure on the vena cava, a major deep abdominal vein.


Most of the time, it is fine to travel while pregnant.  

When you travel, you should:

  • Wear a mask and socially distance

  • Wash hands

  • Eat as you normally do.

  • Drink plenty of fluids.

  • Wear comfortable shoes and clothing that isn't tight.

  • Take crackers and juice with you to avoid nausea.

  • Bring a copy of your prenatal care records with you.

  • Get up and walk every hour. It will help your circulation and keep swelling down. Being inactive for long periods of time and being pregnant both increase your risk for blood clots in your legs and lungs. To lower your risk, drink plenty of fluids and move around often.


When traveling by land:

  • You should be on the road no more than 5 to 6 hours a day.

  • Wear your seat belt, even if your car has an airbag. Strap the lower belt across your lower lap/upper thighs. Run the shoulder belt between your breasts and up over your shoulder, not over your abdomen. Remove any excess slack in the seat belt.

  •  Take bathroom breaks and short walks at least every 2 hours on long trips to increase the blood circulation in your legs and reduce bladder pressure.

  • If you have an accident, check with your provider to see if you and your baby are fine. Unless you have a serious injury in an accident, your baby will likely not be harmed. Still, check with your provider to be on the safe side.

  • While on the road, take breaks often and walk around. This will help your circulation and can prevent blood clots.


When traveling by air:

  • In the United States, pregnant women are allowed to fly during the first 36 weeks of their pregnancy.

  • Check with the airline for its requirements before you book a flight. Some airlines do not allow women more than 35 weeks pregnant to fly.

  • Carry written documentation of your due date when traveling. Some airlines ask to see this information.

  • Wear your seat belt strap over your lower lap/upper thighs.  

  • Take a few walks while on a long flight to increase the blood circulation in your legs.

  • Book an aisle seat to make it easier to walk around and get to the bathroom.

  • Wear layers of clothing so you can change as needed for comfort.

  • Drink plenty of fluids.

  • Women with health problems may need extra oxygen when flying.  

  • Bring along a foot hammock for long-haul flights. 



High Altitudes

Traveling to high altitudes, like the mountains, may cause problems during pregnancy. Higher altitudes have lower air pressures and less oxygen. Your body and the baby will have to adjust. It is best for all pregnant women who live at low altitudes to avoid traveling over 6,000 feet (1,800 meters) during pregnancy.


Do's and Dont's

  • Don’t do vigorous activity that could involve a risk of falling or overheating.

  • Don’t eat unpasteurized milk and soft cheeses, fish high in mercury, or raw or undercooked foods including fish and eggs.

  • Don’t lift anything heavier than 20 pounds.

  • Don’t take hot baths or use saunas. High temperatures can be harmful to the fetus.

  • DO visit the dentist

  • Do stay hydrated.

  • Do sleep at least 8 hours a day.

  • Don’t use alcohol or tobacco.


DON’T visit the sauna.

Avoid the sauna and hot tub. There is a risk of overheating, dehydration and fainting every time you use a sauna, whirlpool, hot tub or steam room. Your body is unable to lose heat effectively by sweating and your body’s core temperature rises. It is very possible that a significant rise in your core temperature could affect your baby’s development, especially in the first trimester of pregnancy. In fact, some research suggests that your risk of miscarriage doubles if you use one of these during the first trimester.

DON’T drink too much caffeine.

This is an especially tricky one in this first trimester of pregnancy because you are so very tired. But caffeine can cross the placenta and affect your growing baby’s heart rate.

What if you just can’t seem to stay away from the coffee pot? Don’t fret. Research suggests that some caffeine is OK in the first trimester – up to about 200 milligrams a day, about two cups of coffee – but some studies suggest that drinking too much caffeine during pregnancy might be associated with a greater risk of miscarriage.

DON’T clean the litter box.

There’s no reason to fear or avoid your pet cat but leave the cleaning of the litter box to your partner or a friend. There are millions of parasites in feline waste and one – toxoplasma gondii – is especially dangerous to pregnant women. Miscarriage or stillbirth can result, and babies who are born with this parasite could develop serious health problems, including seizures and mental disabilities. It also can lead to vision problems.

DON’T eat for two.

Sure, this saying has been around for decades. But ignore it! Studies show that half of the women gain too much weight during pregnancy. When that happens, the baby is at greater risk of obesity later in life. You do generally need additional calories in the second and third trimesters, but doctors disagree about whether you actually need any extra calories in this first trimester. My recommendation? Eat until you are satisfied. Then stop.

Tests Ordered in the First Trimester

-Tests I order for routine prenatal care (I know it's a lot):

CBC - to check for anemia

Blood type

Hepatitis B

Hepatitis C


Rubella antibodies

syphilis serology

Chicken Pox



Diabetes check (HbA1C)

Lead level

Pregnancy hormone (bHCG)

urine culture - to check for UTI

Official sonogram

Genetic testing (optional):

-Maternal carrier screening for Spinal Muscular Atrophy, Cystic Fibrosis & Fragile X Syndrome.

-Other tests may be offered.


NIPT (noninvasive prenatal testing):

-To check for Down Syndrome & Edward's Syndrome

-Done after 9 weeks

CVS or amniocentesis may be offered - based on age and other risk factors.

To schedule an appointment with Reproductive Genetics, click here

Other Things To Consider:

-Who is my pediatrician going to be?

-What am I going to use for contraception after my baby is born?

-Am I going to breastfeed my baby?

For more information on breastfeeding watch this video below:

Pregnancy and Work
Diet and Nutrition
Over the Counter Medicine
Do's & Dont's
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