Before you know it, you will be saying, “It’s time!” After almost 9 months of getting both your mind and body ready for the big day, it’s finally right around the corner. While some women experience labor quite suddenly, most of the time there are definite signs that your baby is coming soon.

When your baby’s head makes its way deep into the pelvic floor, you can be assured that labor is not very far away. “Lightening” is a sign that even others around you can pick up on. If you find that there is a sudden increase in the amount of vaginal discharge accompanied by a brownish/reddish tinged discharge, you may be experiencing “show”.

Braxton Hicks contractions that you have been experiencing all along from the second trimester may suddenly grow in intensity and discomfort. Finally, many women experience a nesting instinct during which you may rearrange your spice drawer until it is alphabetized! This is a primal instinct that is driving you to prepare your nest so to speak for its latest addition.

If you have not packed your hospital bag already, don’t waste another moment. Get all the paraphernalia you need together for the big day and after. You will hardly be in the mood to collect your things when you are timing the frequency of your contractions. However the truth is that false labor very often feels like the real thing. So it comes as no surprise that pregnant women often leave for the hospital thinking that the baby is about to arrive. But timing your contractions to see if their intervals get closer along with looking for the intensity of your contractions to increase is a sure way to tell apart false labor from the real thing. But if you do assume that you are in labor and leave for the hospital, a practice run before the actual event is never a bad idea.

Arm yourself with your birth plan if it includes special preferences such as a water birth or the inclusion of a labor partner or even the storing of cord blood. If you have decided on what particular form of pain relief you would prefer, carry a list of the medications or techniques you wish to be employed. It is also important to decide whether you want your baby circumcised if you have a son. These decisions are best made when you are calm and collected and not after the frenzy of labor and delivery.

Preparing for childbirthPrepare your home for the arrival of your baby by placing your baby’s crib and any baby paraphernalia where it is accessible to you, especially at night. Once you are back home with the baby, make the transition from the hospital to your home as seamless as you can for the baby and you. You may be on edge yourself with the sudden drop in pregnancy hormones; you don’t need the aggravation of finding the ideal spot for the crib at that time. Stock up on diapers, baby wipes, baby lotion and receiving blankets so that you do not find yourself scrambling for these essentials once you’re back home. It never hurts to be over-prepared so err on the side of caution and be ready to leave your home at a moment’s notice.