Lots of good advice in this thread! Forgive me for braindumping all my ideas at once...take what works, and leave the rest. You will know what's right for you.
I have had 4 babies. 3 at home and 1 in hospital. I prefer the home experience, but the hospital experience is nothing to rail against.
Research and birth planning is fine, as long as when it comes down to the wire you are able to let go and feel instinct/Spirit tell you what is needed. Use research to find an appropriate and compatible caregiver, then trust them, yourself, the baby, and nature/God in the moment. (I enjoyed "The thinking woman's guide to a better birth.") Do not set yourself up in an adversarial relationship with your caregivers or "the system". Understand that everyone wants the best outcome and that anger/fear/defensiveness is ultimately going to be way worse than whether or not the cord is clamped early or late, or even whether the baby comes through the birth canal or through an incision in your abdomen.
Birth is as safe as life gets. It's also as deadly as life gets. That is to say it's perfectly fine most of the time, but babies can die, moms can die, injury and disability can happen. But these risks also apply to driving a car. The risks will never be zero. Be as prepared as makes you comfortable, but avoid getting worried or obsessed. Fear makes birth much more difficult, painful, and possibly even more likely to go wrong. Pregnancy is a good time to visit the big questions and make sure you are living the values you want in your life.
Eat what makes you feel healthy and balanced. Enjoy looking through nutrition books if that's what you enjoy, but don't stress about it if you can't stomach those brussel sprouts you were planning on.
Don't psych yourself out too much about the pain. The pain doesn't mean very much at all the instant you get to hold your little one. Mothers have been surviving the discomfort and pain forever, usually more than once. You can prepare yourself psychologically somewhat. The biggest thing for me was to not fight it. The only way out is through. Having a mantra to focus on might help (it did for me). Hypnobirth has some ideas. The folks that believe in Unassisted Childbirth also claim you can have a pain free birth. I read their stuff, took what worked for me, and left the rest. (Mine were not pain free, but they weren't as bad as I thought they would be with the horror stories you hear some ladies tell.)
Do not feel ashamed if you want to get an epidural. That doesn't make you a failure or less womanly or anything else some rigid natural mamas might imply. And it's not going to ruin your baby either.
Postpartum can be challenging. Find support. If you do not have a friend or family member you trust to help you through a potentially discouraging, uncomfortable, and scary first few days, consider hiring a postpartum doula. Accept all help offered. Make a list so when someone offers to do something you can give them an idea or two of what is needed most. Freeze a few meals ahead of time. Be gentle with yourself. Day 3 or so when the milk comes in can be rough. Have a head of cabbage on hand to use as compresses just in case you get engorged.
Don't feel guilty. Don't feel bad if you stay in bed a lot. Don't feel bad if you're not feeling as happy as you expected to. (Do practice lots of self care and talk to someone if you suspect you might have a hormonal imbalance. It's a common thing.) Don't feel bad if you choose to be mainstream. Don't feel bad if you choose to be alternative. Don't feel bad if you don't fit neatly into any particular "tribe."
Moms can be hard on each other sometimes. Don't join in that kind of devisive talk. You can have friends that breastfeed and bottlefeed...work, and stay home... homeschool and use public education... vaccinate and don't... whatever. No one needs to be shunned or judged over what choices they feel are best. So long as the kids are fed, clothed, loved, and protected, every mom is doing the best they can, and that is okay. That's not to say you can't enjoy finding your people. Just don't let the glue that holds you together be disdain for someone with a different opinion.
All kids are different. If someone knows the right or best or only way to parent, they just haven't had enough kids to know that you have to roll with the punches and learn as you go.
Most of all, you will know what's best. Don't doubt yourself. You are going to do an amazing job, even on days when you don't think you are. You are a good mom.