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True fact: Every woman’s labor and delivery experience is different. (Don’t get us started on our sister’s friend’s cousin who had her baby in the back of an Uber.) But we do firmly believe there’s wisdom to be found in others’ been-there advice. That’s why we rounded up some do’s and don’ts from real moms around the country—all for you to heed or ignore however you see fit. 

RELATED: Here’s How Mothers Give Birth Around the World

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Twenty20

Do: Bring a water bottle. No matter how it goes down, you're going to be thirsty, and you'll want something leak-proof you can keep at your side.

Don't: Bring reading material. Nobody actually ever reads at the hospital.

-Julia, Minnesota

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Twenty20

Do: Be aware of your contractions so you go to the hospital at the right time. If you go too late, you’ll miss your epidural window. 

Don’t: Assume you’ll have a private room. Find out ahead of time what your options are and reserve one as soon as you’re able to. (Well worth the extra cost.)

-Dabee, New York

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Twenty20

Do: Bring your own pads and granny panties. The pads from the hospital are about six inches thick…and no one wants to feel like there’s a pillow-top mattress in her underwear.

Don't: Demand a cold bottle of Champagne an hour after a C-section. It will still be a few days before that actually sounds good.  

- Morgan, Arkansas

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Do: Bring a body pillow. In addition to providing extra comfort during a long labor, it can double as support if you’re learning to breastfeed while lying down (which I also recommend).

Don't: Be afraid to yell at family members to give you space. It's wonderful if you want someone there, but if they’re making fun of your contraction noises or walk in on you as you’re actively pushing when you specifically told them not to come in, kick them out!

- Caitrin, Pennsylvania

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michellegibson/Getty Images

Do: Ask the nurses to turn the wall-mounted TVs away from you. Otherwise you/your partner will see the reflection of your baby exiting your body. (Which maybe you’re into, but I wasn’t.)

Don't: Buy pregnancy bras before you give birth, because your boobs will literally double in size overnight.

- Megan, California

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Twenty20

Do: Bring your own shampoo, conditioner, lotion and soap (or really anything that smells familiar). You'll be so thankful in that first shower when all you want is to feel like yourself again.

Don't: Worry about being a "good patient." Doctors and nurses aren't mind readers, so make your wishes known clearly. Don't assume they're going to know what you mean. If you need more pain meds, press the damn button and do not apologize.

- Ashley, Texas 

RELATED: 6 Labor-and-Delivery Myths All Moms Should Get Straight

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