April 17, 2006 12:00 PM

Mariska Hargitay


“I want everything ready so that when he comes it’ll be all about him,” says the Law & Order: SVU actress of the son she’s expecting with husband Peter Hermann. That means stocking up on “soft, fuzzy things. I want him in swaddles and blankets.” As for taking care of herself? Hargitay, 42, has been doing prenatal yoga, rubbing Belly Smooches cream on her stomach … and dreaming about two banned pregnancy pursuits: “I’m looking forward to taking a bath and going for sushi!”

Brooke Shields

Now that she’s an experienced mom, Brooke Shields has figured out a few things she’d like to do differently with her second daughter, starting with the baby’s room. “Brooke wanted her first nursery to be really gender-neutral,” says the actress’s good friend, nursery designer Wendy Bellissimo. “This time she wanted it more girly. We’re doing bunnies!” Having spent a difficult 24 hours in labor before needing a C-section when giving birth to Rowan (who turns 3 in May), Shields jokes that she’s going the easy route this time: “I had them put in a zipper!”

If Shields, 40, is feeling more relaxed, it’s with good reason. After enduring seven in vitro fertilization treatments to conceive Rowan, she and husband Chris Henchy were shocked to learn last summer that she had become pregnant again without that intervention. In fact Shields had just visited her fertility doctor to prepare for the treatment when the test results came back: “The nurse phoned and said, ‘Are you sitting down?'” The news, Shields adds, was “miraculous.” Even the possibility of experiencing the kind of postpartum depression she documented in her 2005 memoir, Down Came the Rain, can’t dampen her excitement. “If it happens, I’ll recognize the symptoms and know what works,” says Shields, who found relief in antidepressant medication (which she no longer takes) and therapy. “I’m going in so much stronger.”

She’s also no longer afraid to ask for help. Although she once declared, “I don’t want to farm out my children,” Shields plans to hire a nanny. “I learned the hard way,” she groans. Of course there’s now someone else the actress can turn to. “Rowan can’t wait to run the whole show,” Shields says. “Every morning she will speak into my stomach and say, ‘Hello? What are you doing in there?'”

Shields, an only child, hopes to give her daughters a close bond as they grow up. “I want Rowan to have a best friend out of this,” she says. “And someone else to deal with me when I’m older!”

Mira Sorvino


As the pregnant mother of an 18-month old girl, Mattea, “I’m not sure if my tiredness is from being a mom or a mom-to-be!” says the 38-year-old actress. Mattea, on the other hand, appears unfazed by the impending arrival: Although Sorvino says she and husband Chris Backus have “started mentioning it, I don’t think it means much to her. But she loves children, so that’s a good sign.”

Gwyneth Paltrow

As befits a woman who dubbed her daughter Apple, Paltrow, 33, isn’t afraid of appearing unconventional, whether baring her belly in a bikini during a February vacation in Mexico or enjoying a beer recently in New York City (see box, page 107). But will she opt for tradition when it comes time to name the new tyke? Not likely, says her mother, Blythe Danner: “We love unusual names in this family.”

Angelina Jolie

With maternity clothes by St. John and Cadeau in her closet, Jolie, 30, doesn’t have to worry about staying très chic, whether holed up in a Paris pad with Brad Pitt and their kids Maddox, 4, and Zahara, 1, or traveling the French countryside— “the Riviera, from Nice to St. Tropez,” says a source—looking for a place to settle her family.

Rachel Weisz


As far as first pregnancies go, Weisz’s has been anything but typical. “I was expecting all the weird things,” says her fiancé, director Darren Aronofsky. “There’s this jar of pickles sitting in the fridge. It’s been there for months and she hasn’t even eaten one.” Her nerves seem to be just as calm as her cravings. “She’s been pretty steady, pretty normal, pretty focused,” says Aronofsky. “[She’s] having a good time with it, very relaxed.”

Gwen Stefani

How to ease first-time pregnancy jitters? For Stefani, 36, it’s all about shopping. She and her husband, Gavin Rossdale, have been spotted stocking up on baby goods at trendy London boutiques like Elias & Grace in the couple’s Primrose Hill neighborhood. But once the baby comes, Stefani may be outfitting the newcomer herself: Her Harajuku Lovers line features clothes for babies and toddlers.

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