Preparing for delivery

Most people give birth between 38 and 41 weeks of pregnancy. The more you know about what to expect during labor, the better prepared you will be once it begins.

Signs of labor vary from person to person because each person has a slightly different labor. Some common signs of labor are:

  • Bloody show. A small amount of mucus slightly mixed with blood may come out of the vagina.
  • Contractions (uterine muscle spasms) occurring at intervals of less than 10 minutes are often a sign that labor has started and you should go to the hospital. Contractions may happen more often and get stronger as labor progresses.
  • Rupture of amniotic sac (bag of waters). Labor sometimes starts with amniotic fluid gushing or leaking from the vagina. People who have a rupture of the amniotic sac should go to the hospital right away and contact their healthcare provider. Most people go into labor within hours after the amniotic sac breaks. If your labor still has not started, you may need to stay in the hospital to have labor induced. This step is often taken to prevent infections and delivery problems.

If you are not sure if labor is starting, call your healthcare provider.

The arrival of your baby is a time of excitement and joy. It is often also a hectic time, so it can be hard to remember to pack everything that you will need at the hospital.

About a month before your baby’s due date, make sure you have the items below. Pack as many beforehand as you can. Use this checklist as a guide to get organized for the big event.

Items you should bring:

  • Receiving blanket
  • Nightgown and bathrobe
  • Going home outfit for baby
  • Slippers
  • Bra or nursing bra
  • Baby socks Hair ties (scrunchies)
  • Baby hat
  • Toiletries: toothbrush, toothpaste, hair brush, lip balm, lotion, and deodorant
  • Snacks
  • Diapers
  • Comfortable and loose fitting clothing to wear home

Items the hospital will need from you:

  • Health plan insurance card
  • Birth preferences
  • Contact information for the pediatrician you have chosen for your baby

Other items to bring with you:

  • Money or credit card for parking
  • Camera
  • Books, magazines and music
  • Cell phone, tablet or computer and chargers
  • Items that comfort or soothe you, such as crystals, prayer beads, lockets, and photographs

Healthy Texas Women Program


Healthy Texas Women is dedicated to offering women’s health and family planning services at no cost to eligible women in Texas. This care helps women plan their families, whether they seek to achieve, postpone, or prevent pregnancy. It also can have a positive effect on future pregnancy planning and general health.

  • You can receive these benefits if you:
    • Are a woman between 18 and 44 years old
    • Are a woman between the ages of 15 and 17 years old and have a parent or legal guardian apply, renew and report changes on your behalf
    • Are a U.S. citizen or qualified immigrant
    • Are a resident of Texas
    • Don’t have health insurance
    • Are not pregnant
    • Meet income requirements
Healthy Texas Women table

Healthy Texas Women Plus program

Women who meet the above criteria and have been pregnant in the past year will be eligible for Healthy Texas Women Plus services. After you have your baby and lose Medicaid eligibility, Dell Children’s Health Plan Care Management can help you get into or transition to this program.

The Healthy Texas Women Plus program focuses on treating major health conditions that contribute to maternal morbidity and mortality in Texas, including:

  • Postpartum depression and other mental health conditions
  • Cardiovascular and coronary conditions
  • Substance use disorders, including drug, alcohol and tobacco use

If you are currently enrolled in Medicaid for Pregnant Women, you may be automatically enrolled in the HTW program when your coverage ends. If you are eligible, you will receive a letter from Texas Health and Human Services confirming you have been enrolled in the HTW program. If you have questions about your enrollment, call 2-1-1 or visit the YourTexasBenefits website, where you can manage your account.

Giving Austin Labor Support (GALS)


GALS is dedicated to providing emotional, physical and informational support to birthing people and healthcare providers who are under-supported in order to improve birth outcomes and strengthen families.

GALS offers programs to help unsupported women before and after birth, including:

Prenatal Doula Program — GALS

Through our Prenatal Doula Program, our birth workers provide encouragement and support to the birthing individuals, helping you stay comfortable with non-medical comfort measures and help you have an empowering birth experience, including:

  • Two prenatal visits to get to know each other, discuss birth preferences and answer all your questions
  • Access to a no-cost online childbirth preparation course. We also connect families with other education and resources that Austin has to offer
  • Continuous labor support with your GALS Birthworker, including back up support
  • Two postpartum visits at your home to support your new family
  • Educational information to prepare for labor and birth and to enhance breastfeeding and parenting
  • An evaluation of services to ensure quality care for you (and the person who receives support after you give birth)

Postpartum Doula Program — GALS

GALS provides postpartum doula support to families who need extra help after the birth of their baby. Postpartum doula care typically begins around 2 weeks weeks postpartum and can continue through the first 6-12 months. The goal of postpartum doula care is to take care of you so you can take care of your baby! This work helps you become the parents you want to be, and supports you around crucial information in postpartum. We also connect you with other community resources and physical donations to better your postpartum experience.

This program has limited availability since services are at no cost for families, but is here to support those with Dell Children’s Health Plan as a value-added service* and those who have low-income.

*Restrictions apply. See your member handbook for more information.

After hours locations

You can also view a list of urgent care and after hours locations here.

Urgent care centers

You can also view a list of urgent care and after hours locations here.