As your due date draws near, one of the most important things to keep in mind is the relative meaninglessness of your due date. Just a small percentage of babies are born on the day their moms circled on the calendar.
So, what does that mean?
For one thing, it means you need to know the difference between false labor (Braxton-Hicks contractions) and real labor, since you don't want to rush to the hospital only to be sent home (that does happen, though). Luckily, the two are fairly easy to tell apart. In false labor, contractions are mild, occur at random intervals, and last for only about 30 seconds. In true labor, they're intense, occur at regular intervals, get progressively closer together, and last progressively longer.
The other big thing to consider is that while you may be planning on three more weeks, your baby might be planning on tomorrow. So get the big stuff in order as if your due date were right now: Nursery preparations, blankets, car seat, plans to have your pets taken care of when you're at the hospital or birthing center, and anything else that requires some forethought or phone calls.
Don't sweat it, though, if you don't get it all worked out. There are phones in hospital rooms (not to mention Internet, these days), so if you go into labor and you haven't made plans for your dog, you can take care of that between contractions. And your sister will, most likely, agree to run out for some receiving blankets on her way to visit her new niece or nephew. No biggie.
And on that note, there are lots more things you needn't stress about this week …