Month 8: Get screened for Group B strep, bacteria that is harmless to you but can be lethal if passed to the baby. Your doctor will take an external vaginal culture around 35 weeks; if Group B strep bacteria are present, you'll be given medication during labor to prevent transmission to the baby.
Pack your hospital bag. Include items to keep you comfortable (like your iPod or a pair of soft slippers), snacks for you and your partner, a (roomy) change of clothes to go home in, plus an outfit for the baby.
Month 9: Sit back and relax. By now, you should be done with most of your preparation and ready if you go into labor early. As your baby's due date approaches, find a comfy chair, put your hand on your stomach, and enjoy the calm before the storm.
Originally published in the April 2011 issue of Parents magazine.