The saying “it takes a village to raise a child” is true even from the moment of conception. Whether it is a woman’s first pregnancy or her fourth, support is needed in many ways as she prepares to bring a child into the world.

There are those who attempt to give advice and support in ways that are not helpful; stories of what could potentially go wrong in labor and delivery, horror stories about pregnancy mishaps, and other stories that cause worry and stress are not needed at this time. Instead, focus on what you can do to make her feel more comfortable physically, mentally, and emotionally. Pregnancy is an uncertain time, and anything we can do to alleviate stress and promote comfort is of utmost importance right now. Focus on what you can do for her comfort and safety, and know that you are doing something wonderful for this new life.

1. Give practical advice

Most first time moms don’t have a clue when it comes to feeding, changing, napping, and maintaining a schedule that keeps her unborn baby happy. If mommy-to-be is open to it, give her practical advice on maintaining a consistent schedule for her little one. The more predictable her hours can be, the more likely it is that she will get important rest that she needs to keep up with her new little bundle of joy. For those moms that need a bit more support with the emotional ups and downs of pregnancy, do what you can to lend a supportive ear and a helping hand when needed.

2. Give her stuff that she really needs

You will no doubt throw a baby shower at some point to welcome little one into the world. Do mom-to-be a favor; give her what she needs, not what you think she might like. The arrival of a new baby brings with it a bit of financial strain for any family; make gift-giving practical by getting a diaper cake for her baby shower, or coordinating a shower of gift cards so she can go and buy what she needs for her baby. Little cuties are sometimes appreciated, b\ut oftentimes the gifts that are most useful are the ones that mom is truly grateful for.

3. Ease her mind about body changes, labor, and delivery

There will be changes in body, mind, and spirit as she goes into labor and delivery. Women have gone through this process since the dawn of time, and thanks to medical innovations, it is now easier than ever to safely deliver a child and retain our health–after a little recovery time, that is. Suggest that she take a Lamaze breathing and delivery class so she can know what to expect as she navigates these waters, and do what you can to support her and calm any fears by listening, reassuring, and sharing experiences that she can gain comfort from.

4. Offer help and assistance

Expectant mothers have different needs—some are healthy late into their term, while others may have to do time in bed to get little one here successfully. Offer help with childcare, meal planning, and housecleaning as the delivery day draws near, and you’ll be doing your part to reduce stress and make those final uncomfortable days more bearable.

Welcome, little one!

No matter what your role is in relationship to the expectant mother in your life, it is an important one. Your assistance will play a vital part in helping to improve mommy’s health, which will, in turn, assure the baby will arrive safe and sound, ready to meet the world.