Early Pregnancy Information Sheet

It’s normal to have questions about what to expect during your pregnancy. We put together this checklist of early pregnancy information to help answer some of these questions for you. Early pregnancy information sheet: generally your symptoms will follow the same pattern as before when you were not pregnant. The most common are breast tenderness and nausea. If you are pregnant, these will start to get worse after the 12th week of pregnancy. You may want to take a pregnancy test around this time to be sure.

Congratulations on your pregnancy! We know you have a lot of questions about what to expect next. You can find answers here, as well as information to help you feel more prepared for the coming weeks and months.

Pregnancy is a time of many questions and changes. It’s important to know what to expect, what kinds of things can go wrong, and how to stay healthy during this special time in your life.

  • These individual sheets have key information for the mother, her partner and family on care during pregnancy, preparing a birth and emergency plan, clean home delivery, care for the mother and baby after delivery, breastfeeding and care after an abortion.
  • Individual sheets are used so that the woman can be given the relevant sheet at the appropriate stage of pregnancy and childbirth.

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Visit the health worker during pregnancy

  • Go to the health centre if you think you are pregnant. It is important to begin care as early in your pregnancy as possible.
  • Visit the health centre at least 4 times during your pregnancy, even if you do not have any problems. The health worker will tell you when to return.
  • If at any time you have any concerns about your or your baby’s health, go to the health centre.
  • During your visits to the health centre, the health worker will:→Check your health and the progress of the pregnancy→Help you make a birth plan→Answer questions or concerns you may have→Provide treatment for malaria and anaemia→Give you a tetanus toxoid immunization
  • Advise and counsel on:→breastfeeding→birthspacing after delivery→nutrition→HIV counselling and testing→correct and consistent condom use→laboratory tests→other matters related to your and your baby’s health.
  • Bring your home-based maternal record to every visit.

Care for yourself during pregnancy

  • Eat more and healthier foods, including more fruits and vegetables, beans, meat, fish, eggs, cheese, milk.
  • Take iron tablets and any other supplements or medicines you have been given every day as explained by the health worker.
  • Rest when you can. Avoid lifting heavy objects.
  • Sleep under a bednet treated with insecticide.
  • Do not take medication unless prescribed at the health centre.
  • Do not drink alcohol or smoke.
  • Use a condom correctly in every sexual relation to prevent sexually transmitted infection (STI) or HIV/AIDS if you or your partner are at risk of infection.


Routine visits to the health centre

1st visitBefore 4 months
2nd visit6-7 months
3rd visit8 months
4th visit9 months

Know the signs of labour

If you have any of these signs, go to the health centre as soon as you can.

If these signs continue for 12 hours or more, you need to go immediately.

  • Painful contractions every 20 minutes or less.
  • Bag of water breaks.
  • Bloody sticky discharge.

When to seek care on danger signs

Go to the hospital or health centre immediately, day or night, DO NOT wait, if any of the following signs:

  • vaginal bleeding
  • convulsions/fits
  • severe headaches with blurred vision
  • fever and too weak to get out of bed
  • severe abdominal pain
  • fast or difficult breathing.

Go to the health centre as soon as possible if any of the following signs:

  • fever
  • abdominal pain
  • water breaks and not in labour after 6 hours
  • feel ill
  • swollen fingers, face and legs.

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Preparing a birth plan

The health worker will provide you with information to help you prepare a birth plan. Based on your health condition, the health worker can make suggestions as to where it would be best to deliver. Whether in a hospital, health centre or at home, it is important to deliver with a skilled attendant.


The plan can change if complications develop.

Planning for delivery at home

  • Who do you choose to be the skilled attendant for delivery? How will you contact the skilled birth attendant to advise that you are in labour?
  • Who will support you during labour and delivery?
  • Who will be close by for at least 24 hours after delivery?
  • Who will help you to care for your home and other children?
  • Organize the following:→A clean and warm room or corner of a room.→Home-based maternal record.→A clean delivery kit which includes soap, a stick to clean under the nails, a new razor blade to cut the baby’s cord, 3 pieces of string (about 20 cm. each) to tie the cord.→Clean cloths of different sizes: for the bed, for drying and wrapping the baby, for cleaning the baby’s eyes, and for you to use as sanitary pads.→Warm covers for you and the baby.→Warm spot for the birth with a clean surface or clean cloth.→Bowls: two for washing and one for the placenta.→Plastic for wrapping the placenta.→Buckets of clean water and some way to heat this water.→For handwashing, water, soap and a towel or cloth for drying hands of the birth attendant.→Fresh drinking water, fluids and food for the mother.

Preparing an emergency plan

  • To plan for an emergency, consider:→Where should you go?→How will you get there?→Will you have to pay for transport to get there? How much will it cost?→What costs will you have to pay at the health centre? How will you pay for this?→Can you start saving for these possible costs now?→Who will go with you to the health centre?→Who will help to care for your home and other children while you are away?

Planning for delivery at the hospital or health centre

  • How will you get there? Will you have to pay for transport to get there?
  • How much will it cost to deliver at the facility? How will you pay for this?
  • Can you start saving for these costs now?
  • Who will go with you and support you during labour and delivery?
  • Who will help you while you are away and care for your home and other children?
  • Bring the following:→Home-based maternal record.→Clean cloths of different sizes: for the bed, for drying and wrapping the baby, and for you to use as sanitary pads.→Clean clothes for you and the baby.→Food and water for you and the support person.

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Care of the mother

  • Eat more and healthier foods, including more meat, fish, oils, coconut, nuts, cereals, beans, vegetables, fruits, cheese and milk.
  • Take iron tablets as explained by the health worker.
  • Rest when you can.
  • Drink plenty of clean, safe water.
  • Sleep under a bednet treated with insecticide.
  • Do not take medication unless prescribed at the health centre.
  • Do not drink alcohol or smoke.
  • Use a condom in every sexual relation, if you or your companion are at risk of sexually transmitted infections (STI) or HIV/AIDS.
  • Wash all over daily, particularly the perineum.
  • Change pad every 4 to 6 hours. Wash pad or dispose of it safely.

Family planning

  • You can become pregnant within several weeks after delivery if you have sexual relations and are not breastfeeding exclusively.
  • Talk to the health worker about choosing a family planning method which best meets your and your partner’s needs.

Routine postnatal contacts

First contact: within 24 hours after childbirth

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Second contact: on day 3 (48-72 hours)

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Third contact: between day 7 and 14 after birth.

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Final postnatal contact (clinic visit): at 6 weeks after birth.

When to seek care for clanger signs

Go to hospital or health centre immediately, day or night, DO NOT wait, if any of the following signs:

  • Vaginal bleeding has increased.
  • Fits.
  • Fast or difficult breathing.
  • Fever and too weak to get out of bed.
  • Severe headaches with blurred vision.
  • Calf pain, redness or swelling.

Go to health centre as soon as possible if any of the following signs:

  • Swollen, red or tender breasts or nipples.
  • Problems urinating, or leaking.
  • Increased pain or infection in the perineum.
  • Infection in the area of the wound.
  • Smelly vaginal discharge.
  • Calf pain, redness or swelling; shortness of breath or chest pain.

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  • Some women prefer to rest for few days, especially if they feel tired
  • It is normal for women to experience some vaginal bleeding (light, menstrual-like bleeding or spotting) for several weeks after an abortion.
  • Some pain is normal after an abortion, as the uterus is contracting. A mild painkiller may help relieve cramping pain. If the pain increases over time, the woman should seek help.
  • Do not have sexual intercourse or put anything into the vagina until bleeding stops.
  • Practice safe sex and use a condom correctly in every act of sexual intercourse if at risk of STI or HIV.
  • Return to the health worker as indicated.

Family planning

  • Remember you can become pregnant as soon as you have sexual relations.Use a family planning method to prevent an unwanted pregnancy.
  • Talk to the health worker about choosing a family planning method which best meets your and your partner’s needs.

Know these clanger signs

  • If you have any of these signs, go to the health centre immediately, day or night. DO NOT wait:
  • Increased bleeding or continued bleeding for 2 days.
  • Fever, feeling ill.
  • Dizziness or fainting.
  • Abdominal pain.
  • Backache.
  • Nausea, vomiting.
  • Foul-smelling vaginal discharge.

Additional support

  • The health worker can help you identify persons or groups who can provide you with additional support if you should need it.

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Care of the newborn


  • Wash your baby’s face and neck daily. Bathe her/him when necessary. After bathing, thoroughly dry your baby and then dress and keep her/him warm.
  • Wash baby’s bottom when soiled and dry it thoroughly.
  • Wash your hands with soap and water before and after handling your baby, especially after touching her/his bottom.


  • Keep cord stump loosely covered with a clean cloth. Fold diaper and clothes below stump.
  • Do not put anything on the stump. If the birth at home without a skilled attendant, apply chlorhexidine to the stump daily until it separates.
  • If stump area is soiled, wash with clean water and soap. Then dry completely with clean cloth.
  • Wash your hands with soap and water before and after care.


  • In cold climates, keep at least an area of the room warm.
  • Newborns need more clothing than other children or adults.
  • If cold, put a hat on the baby’s head. During cold nights, cover the baby with an extra blanket.


  • Let the baby sleep on her/his back or side.
  • Keep the baby away from smoke.

Routine postnatal contacts

First contact: w<ithin 24 hours after childbirth.

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Second contact: on day 3 (48-72 hours)

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Third contact: between day 7 and 14 after birth.

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Final postnatal contact (clinic visit): at 6 weeks after birth.

At these visits your baby will be vaccinated. Have your baby immunized.

When to seek care for clanger signs

Go to hospital or health centre immediately, day or night, DO NOT wait, if your baby has any of the following signs:

  • Difficulty breathing
  • Fits
  • Fever
  • Feels cold
  • Bleeding
  • Stops feeding
  • Diarrhoea.

Go to the health centre as soon as possible if your baby has any of the following signs:

  • Difficulty feeding.
  • Feeds less than every 5 hours.
  • Pus coming from the eyes.
  • Irritated cord with pus or blood.
  • Yellow eyes or skin.
  • Ulcers or thrush (white patches) in the mouth.

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Breastfeeding has many advantages


  • During the first 6 months of life, the baby needs nothing more than breast milk – not water, not other milk, not cereals, not teas, not juices.
  • Breast milk contains exactly the water and nutrients that a baby’s body needs. It is easily digested and efficiently used by the baby’s body. It helps protect against infections and allergies and helps the baby’s growth and development.


  • Postpartum bleeding can be reduced due to uterine contractions caused by the baby’s sucking.
  • Breastfeeding can help delay a new pregnancy.


Suggestions for successful breastfeeding

  • Immediately after birth, keep your baby in the bed with you, or within easy reach.
  • Start breastfeeding within 1 hour of birth.
  • The baby’s suck stimulates your milk production.The more the baby feeds, the more milk you will produce.
  • At each feeding, let the baby feed and release your breast, and then offer your second breast. At the next feeding, alternate and begin with the second breast.
  • Give your baby the first milk (colostrum). It is nutritious and has antibodies to help keep your baby healthy.
  • At night, let your baby sleep with you, within easy reach.
  • While breastfeeding, you should drink plenty of clean, safe water. You should eat more and healthier foods and rest when you can.

The health worker can support you in starting and maintaining breastfeeding

  • The health worker can help you to correctly position the baby and ensure she/he attaches to the breast. This will reduce breast problems for the mother.
  • The health worker can show you how to express milk from your breast with your hands. If you should need to leave the baby with another caretaker for short periods, you can leave your milk and it can be given to the baby in a cup.
  • The health worker can put you in contact with a breastfeeding support group.

If you have any difficulties with breastfeeding, see the health worker immediately.

Breastfeeding and family planning

  • During the first 6 months after birth, if you breastfeed exclusively, day and night, and your menstruation has not returned, you are protected against another pregnancy.
  • If you do not meet these requirements, or if you wish to use another family planning method while breastfeeding, discuss the different options available with the health worker.

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Regardless of the site of delivery, it is strongly recommended that all women deliver with a skilled attendant.

For a woman who prefers to deliver at home the following recommendations are provided for a clean home delivery to be reviewed during antenatal care visits.

Delivery at home with an attendant

  • Ensure the attendant and other family members know the emergency plan and are aware of danger signs for yourself and your baby.
  • Arrange for a support person to assist the attendant and to stay with you during labour and after delivery.→Have these supplies organized for a clean delivery: new razor blade, 3 pieces of string about 20 cm each to tie the cord, and clean cloths to cover the birth place.→Prepare the home and the supplies indicated for a safe birth:→Clean, warm birth place with fresh air and a source of light→Clean warm blanket to cover you→Clean cloths:→for drying and wrapping the baby→for cleaning the baby’s eyes→to use as sanitary pads after birth→to dry your body after washing→for birth attendant to dry her hands.→Clean clothes for you to wear after delivery→Fresh drinking water, fluids and food for you→Buckets of clean water and soap for washing, for you and the skilled attendant→Means to heat water→Three bowls, two for washing and one for the placenta→Plastic for wrapping the placenta→Bucket for you to urinate in.

Instructions to mother and family for a clean and safer delivery at home

  • Make sure there is a clean delivery surface for the birth of the baby.
  • Ask the attendant to wash her hands before touching you or the baby. The nails of the attendant should be short and clean.
  • When the baby is born, place her/him on your abdomen/chest where it is warm and clean. Dry the baby thoroughly and wipe the face with a clean cloth.Then cover with a clean dry cloth.
  • Cut the cord when it stops pulsating, using the disposable delivery kit, according to instructions.
  • Wait for the placenta to deliver on its own.
  • Make sure you and your baby are warm. Have the baby near you, dressed or wrapped and with head covered with a cap.
  • Start breastfeeding when the baby shows signs of readiness, within the first hour of birth.
  • Dispose of placenta_____________________________________________(describe correct, safe culturally accepted way to dispose of placenta)

DO NOT be alone for the 24 hours after delivery.

DO NOT bath the baby on the first day.

Avoid harmful practices


Do not use local medications to hasten labour.

Do not wait for waters to stop before going to health facility.

Do not insert any substances into the vagina during labour or after delivery.

Do not push on the abdomen during labour or delivery.

Do not pull on the cord to deliver the placenta.

Do not put ashes, cow dung or other substance on umbilical cord/stump.

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Encourage helpful traditional practices

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Danger signs during delivery

If you or your baby has any of these signs, go to the hospital or health centre immediately, day or night, Do not wait.


  • If waters break and not in labour after 6 hours.
  • Labour pains (contractions) continue for more than 12 hours.
  • Heavy bleeding (soaks more than 2-3 pads in 15 minutes).
  • Placenta not expelled 1 hour after birth of baby.


  • Very small.
  • Difficulty in breathing.
  • Fits.
  • Fever.
  • Feels cold.
  • Bleeding.
  • Not able to feed.

Routine postnatal contacts

  • If birth is at home, the first postnatal contact should be as early as possible within 24 hours of birth.
  • Second contact: on day 3 (48-72 hours).
  • Third contact: between day 7 and 14 after birth.
  • Final postnatal contact (clinic visit): at 6 weeks after birth.

What Was The First Home Pregnancy Test

The first home pregnancy test was invented in 1978 by a Memorial Hospital doctor. Dr. Samuel Stein created the test as a way of screening infertile women who were about to undergo artificial insemination. The test was then commercialized by Roche Pharmaceuticals, with marketing campaigns that emphasized its convenience and discreet usage (you could get the results from your own bathroom).

The famous First Response Early Result Pregnancy Test is the first-ever home test and can detect pregnancy up to six days before your period is due, even when you are not yet experiencing any pregnancy symptoms. The first home pregnancy test is used for determining the presence of hCG in urine. The hormone hCG (human chorionic gonadotropin) can be produced either by an expecting woman or by a non-pregnant woman, with values that fall within the normal range between 0 – 25 mIU/mL. Early tests were made of paper, which had to be dipped in a solution and then dried. The color change would show as a line on the paper and it was read by comparing that line against another test results provided on the package.

First Pregnancy Checklist

First pregnancy checklist – avoid worry and stress by creating a comprehensive first-time pregnancy planner. This checklist is designed to help you think about everything you need to do before your baby arrives. It’s tough to remember everything when you’re expecting, but with our first pregnancy checklist you can be prepared for any situation. From your first scan to adapting to life with a newborn, you’ll have everything you need to know at your fingertips. Whether you’re expecting your first child or are preparing for a second or third little one, this checklist will help you be prepared for the many milestones ahead. From registering for the baby shower to stocking up on diapers, this list includes all the essentials needed during pregnancy and beyond.

Having a baby is a big deal, and there are many things to do while you’re pregnant. Your first pregnancy checklist will help you get organized and informed so you can prepare for the big arrival!

What Are The Steps Of Early Pregnancy

When you’re pregnant, there are many things you may want to know. This can include your pregnancy symptoms, signs and risk factors of complications and more. Here are the steps of early pregnancy:

In early pregnancy, you begin to have some physical signs that you may be pregnant. The first sign of pregnancy is a missed period. You may then have some early pregnancy symptoms and go to the doctor to take a blood test. If it shows that you are pregnant, your doctor will talk with you about what to expect over the next few months and answer any questions you have.

Early pregnancy symptoms may include breast tenderness or enlargement, frequent urination, nausea, and mood swings. The first menstrual period may be lighter than usual. Some women develop headaches, dizziness and a metallic taste in their mouth. In the early stages of pregnancy many women experience fatigue (exhaustion).

If you’ve missed your period and are hoping to be pregnant, it’s important that you first use a home pregnancy test (HPT). (Get more tips on how to take an HPT here.) Is it positive or negative? If you get a positive result, congratulations! But hold off on telling anyone just yet. You may be miscarrying — although rare, it happens — so if you’re at all concerned about the results, contact your doctor right away. If there’s more than one line, you might have miscalibrated the test or it may not have been stored properly — try testing again in a few days. Early pregnancy symptoms are exciting for women and their families. But it can be scary to wonder if the signs of early pregnancy are real or a false alarm. If you’re in doubt, use our symptom checker to better understand what your body is telling you – it’s never too early or too late to get help.

What Tests Are Done In The First Trimester

There are two kinds of tests done in the first trimester: screening tests and diagnostic tests. Screening tests help your doctor to detect if there is any risk or abnormality to your baby. Diagnostic tests may further help in identifying the condition that might affect you or your baby’s health.

The first trimester is a special time for you and your baby. It’s when most women find out they’re pregnant, and it’s when your healthcare provider will begin checking on your baby’s health. At this point, the only tests commonly done are an ultrasound to check how far along the pregnancy is and an initial blood test to measure hormone levels and screen for certain genetic problems.

The first trimester screening test is the most accurate screening test available and can be done as early as 9 weeks. It detects the presence of Down syndrome (trisomy 21), which causes mental retardation, heart defects and other health problems. The second trimester screening tests are done between 11 and 14 weeks. They also detect Down syndrome and other chromosomal conditions, such as Turner syndrome, which affects only girls.

What Blood Tests Are Done in The First Trimester

The first trimester is the only time in the entire pregnancy when you can find out what your baby’s sex is and eliminate or confirm any health concerns before this important milestone. Before 12 weeks gestation, blood tests are done to check for chromosomal abnormalities and to screen for genetic disorders like Down syndrome. During the first trimester, your doctor will likely order a variety of blood tests to evaluate your health and the health of your baby. The blood tests listed below are generally done in the first trimester by most doctors.

The first trimester of pregnancy kicks off with a series of prenatal visits to your healthcare provider. During these appointments, your doctor will perform several blood tests as part of the initial testing process.Your healthcare provider will order a blood test called the alpha-fetoprotein (AFP) test during your first trimester to determine if your baby has a neural tube defect. During the first month of your pregnancy, the AFP test is done to see if there is an increased or decreased amount of alpha-fetoprotein in your blood. Neural tube defects are birth defects involving the brain, spinal cord, and their protective membranes. These issues can affect any part of the central nervous system, although most develop in the brain and spine before birth.

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