Preparing for Labor & Delivery

pregnant person relaxing

Preregister with Hospital or Birthing Center  

Unless you plan to have a home birth (which you should discuss with your healthcare provider), you need to preregister with the hospital or birthing center where you wish to deliver. Most will give you a tour and explain all of the amenities and options they offer. 

You should also call your insurance company to make sure you understand what is covered under your policy.

Make a Birth Plan

If you have a birth plan, please share it with your provider. If you wish, there are several options to provide pain relief while you are in labor. Your pregnancy healthcare team should be supportive of whatever you choose, providing there is no medical reason not to follow your birth plan and choices.

Research Cord Blood Banking 

Your baby’s blood is a valuable source of cells that could be used by your baby or another family member to treat some life-threatening diseases. It can easily and safely be obtained immediately after delivery. Parents can choose to have their baby’s blood saved; however the decision must be made before birth. Insurance does not generally cover this. If interested, you can order a kit and bring it with you to delivery. In some cases, cord blood can be donated. There are no recommendations for or against cord blood banking. Ask your provider for information.

Delayed Cord Clamping

The American College of Obstetrics and Gynecology recommends delaying clamping and cutting the umbilical cord in both preterm and full term babies. Delaying cord clamping even by 30-60 seconds can also improve the quality and volume of cord blood to be banked. Speak with your healthcare provider about delaying cord clamping by at least 60 seconds, if not longer. 

Attend Educational Courses

Your healthcare provider, local health departments, specialists, and non-profits all offer a variety of pregnancy, Lamaze, new parenting, breastfeeding/nursing, and other valuable classes. Nurturing Expressions offers classes at its Tacoma, Poulsbo, and West Seattle locations. Check for the most complete class schedule.

Choose a Healthcare Provider for Your Baby 

You will need to decide on a provider for your baby by the time you deliver. The hospital will send your baby’s information and test results to your chosen provider. Your baby is typically seen within 1 week after birth. You will need to contact the provider’s office prior to delivery and make sure they accept your insurance and are taking new patients. Your OB/GYN or primary care provider should be able to give you a list of pediatric providers if you have trouble finding one.

Obtain and Install a Car Seat

You must have a car seat installed in your vehicle before taking baby home. By law, children must be in a federally approved, properly installed, crash-tested car seat for every trip in the car beginning with the trip home from the hospital.  

Skin-to-Skin Contact

Skin-to-skin contact after birth simply means your newborn will be gently cleaned, possibly dressed in a hat to keep their head warm, then placed belly down onto your chest. Research shows skin-to-skin contact should take place as quickly as possible after a healthy vaginal or Cesarean birth. Skin-to-skin time benefits both baby and you, whether you plan to nurse your baby or not. Studies have also shown skin-to-skin time and snuggling help prepare you and baby for nursing.

Learn More about Breastfeeding / Chestfeeding

Human milk is perfectly designed nutrition for babies. Babies who are breastfed get fewer infections and are hospitalized less. Nursing parents burn 500 calories a day, which can help lose pregnancy weight, and reduces the risk of developing breast cancer. After delivery, the nurses and a lactation specialist  are there to help you learn the art of breastfeeding. 


Committee Opinion. “Delayed Umbilical Cord Clamping after Birth.” American College of Obstetrics and Gynecology. Dec. 2020.

Crenshaw, Jeannette T. “Healthy Birth Practice #6: Keep Mother and Baby Together- It’s Best for Mother, Baby, and Breastfeeding.” The Journal of Perinatal Education. Vol. 23,4 (2014): 211-7.

Go to Pregnancy Resource Guide