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The birth of your baby is an exciting time for your family. The weeks of pregnancy allow time to prepare for the delivery day and the care of the infant to follow. Besides keeping your prenatal care appointments and educational sessions, either in person or through online classes, below are some helpful hints to assist you to get ready.

Signs of labor

Contractions are muscles tightening. The muscles in your abdomen will tighten and release. Your health care provider can tell you how many minutes apart your contractions should be when you should leave to go to the hospital.

According to the American Cancer Society, every year more than 200,000 American women are diagnosed with breast cancer. Annual screening for breast cancer has been proven to save women’s lives. Thanks to early detection, there are thousands of women who have beat breast cancer. Until recently, 2-D mammography was the standard method used to detect breast cancer in women. But, mammography isn’t perfect, and many women feel great anxiety at the thought of a mammogram. Mammograms don’t always provide the clearest results, causing many painful, often unneeded, biopsies. That’s changing in a good way.

Mission Hospital and Buncombe County have come up with a new birth certificate system that can be done right from the new baby's hospital room. The hospital will have an internet connection with the Register of Deeds office. That way, parents can apply for the certificate before they ever take their infant home. Click here to watch the WLOS News 13 coverage of this new service.  

Research shows that nearly 40 infants die in North Carolina each year due to unsafe sleeping environments.

The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends exclusive breast-feeding for baby's first six months. That's because mother's milk is the best thing for your baby, and it's good for mothers as well. Breast milk provides the perfect mix of vitamins, nutrients and antibodies for healthy babies. Breast-fed children tend to get sick less often and have fewer allergies, diabetes, ear infections, asthma, eczema or other problems. Read the full article at the Asheville Citizen-Times.