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Midwives' Secrets for Expectant Moms

Enjoy the fruits of your labor

Cuddle time following delivery is important for babies and moms

Holding your baby right after birth can help soothe and calm him after the rigors of delivery. And it can help with breastfeeding: "If newborns have skin-to-skin contact with their mother, they're apt to get on the breast and pick up nursing more quickly," says Walsh. Nursing soon after birth helps you, too, by stimulating uterine contractions, which reduce bleeding.

Take-away advice: To make sure you get this special time with your newborn, tell your provider you'd like to hold your baby immediately after she's born. Ask that routine procedures, such as giving antibiotic eye drops, be put off for an hour or so, if possible.

Once you're moved to your room — if you're up to it and your hospital allows it — request that your newborn "room in" with you instead of being bundled off to the nursery to spend most of her time.

With these insights in mind, you'll be set to get the most out of your whole nine months, and beyond.

Leah Hennen is a freelancer writer.