The early weeks of pregnancy are fragile—and confusing. Here, the answers to your questions.
Read more »
Follow this timeline recommended by Rebecca Burpo, a certified nurse-midwife in Dallas, to prepare for the big day.
Week 30 Start shopping for items you’ll need in the hospital (nursing bras, nightgown, baby clothes, car seat) and at home (diapers, wipes, etc.).
Week 31 Attend childbirth classes. The sessions should end by week 36.
Week 32 Interview doulas or labor coaches—they book up quickly.
Week 33 Have your baby shower about two months before your due date so you’ll have time to shop for items you didn’t receive as gifts.
Week 34 Interview baby nurses or postpartum doulas; locate a lactation specialist in case you need one later. Research cord-blood-banking options.
Week 35 Meet with several pediatricians and choose one. Your baby will need to be checked immediately after birth.
Week 36 Pack your bag for the hospital (don’t forget your phone book). A baby is considered at term three weeks before your due date, so be prepared.
Week 37 If you plan to breastfeed, read up on techniques and gather resources to have at your fingertips when you come home. Join a local La Leche League group to meet the leader and other moms; you don’t want to be a stranger if you need to call them for help.
Week 38 Tour your hospital’s maternity floor. Decide which family members and friends may visit you at the hospital and at home in the first few days or weeks after you give birth. If you don’t, good intentions can overwhelm you: It’s easier to say “This is our plan” beforehand than to reject offers on the spot.
Week 39 Many women begin maternity leave weeks before their due date. If you plan to work up until the end, post an “If I go into labor tonight” memo at work.