Latin superstar Shakira has asked for fans to pray for her as she prepares to give birth to her first child.

The singer checked into a hospital in Barcelona, Spain on Tuesday (22Jan13) with her boyfriend Gerard Pique by her side, and she called on her devoted Twitter.com followers to keep her in their thoughts ahead of her son's imminent arrival.

She tweets, "I'd like to ask you all to accompany me in your prayers on this very important day of my life."

Spanish soccer ace Pique also commented on the exciting day on his Instagram page, writing, "This Tuesday our first son will be born" - although that post was subsequently deleted.

Reports suggest the expectant mum is due to have the child induced after complaining of "abdominal pressure".

The happy couple recently celebrated their growing family by showing off a series of maternity portraits with fans online, including a sexy black-and-white image in which Pique and Shakira cradle her bulging belly.

The baby boy's due date comes almost a month after Pique pranked fans by claiming the tot was born on 28 December (12) - a date known as 'Dia de los Santos Inocentes', a version of April Fools' Day celebrated in Spain and many Spanish-speaking countries. He later apologised for the joke.

The singer began dating Pique in 2011 after splitting from her longtime boyfriend, Antonio de la Rua.