There is a lot that goes into the preparing for labor and delivery. Here is some useful information to help you plan for the big day.

Going the full 40 weeks

The last few weeks of your pregnancy can be exciting, busy and a little scary. Unless you need an early birth for medical reasons, it’s best to carry your baby for 40 weeks. It’s better for your baby if you can go into labor naturally. This is because the brain, lungs and other important organs are finishing their development in the final weeks.

Do you know the signs of premature labor?

Premature labor is when a pregnant woman goes into labor before 37 weeks. If your baby is born too soon, he or she can have serious health problems. If you have any of the following signs before 38 weeks, call your clinician or go directly to the hospital:

  • Contractions every 10 minutes or more often (with contractions, the belly will tighten like a fist)
  • Leaking fluid or bleeding from the vagina
  • Pelvic pressure; feeling like the baby is pushing down
  • Low, dull backache
  • Cramps that feel like menstrual cramps
  • Belly cramps with or without diarrhea

Braxton-Hicks contractions, or false labor, can also feel like contractions, but usually subside with rest, changing positions, emptying your bladder or drinking water. If you’re unsure about anything you are feeling, call your provider right away.

labor, delivery and decisions

There are many other things to consider before your big day including where to give birth, building a support network and understanding the benefits of breastfeeding.

your baby is here — now what?

Now it’s time to get to know your baby and for mom to begin breastfeeding.


Breastfeeding has important health benefits for your and your baby. Find out more with Every Ounce Counts.

Find out how our Birth Plan will help make your labor, birth and delivery go smoothly.

Learn about newborn screening. Your baby will have testing after birth to screen for rare but serious illnesses through two-step blood screening. Watch this video to learn more.

Buckle up your baby the right way. Visit the Safe Riders Traffic Safety Program to get information on car seats and other helpful information.