You're almost there! With just a few more weeks to go until Baby's scheduled appearance, you may notice your partner or your family and friends watching you closer than normal, expecting you to pop at any minute! Fortunately, labor is rarely a "blink and you'll miss it" moment and most women have plenty of warning, so if your friends are being a little overbearing, remind them that at the very least you're a couple of hours away from any action!

You and your baby are both doing some serious growing this week, so make sure you're both getting enough rest, no matter how hard it may seem. Also make sure you keep your appetite up to provide your little one with all the essential nutrients he or she will need to survive outside of the womb. After all, it could well be any day now!

Baby: What's Happening?

Your baby will probably surpass the 4 lb mark this week, and is pretty much as tall as he or she will be at the birth. The lungs are continuing to develop and your baby is busy practicing for taking those first breaths very soon.

Your baby's brain is hugely advanced already, and by now your voice, and other voices around your baby will be very familiar and recognizable to him or her. The brain is also busy taking in everything there is to see, as your baby's eyes are open constantly during the waking hours now. Granted, there's not much to see in there, but it's all preparation for life outside of the womb.

Once again, your baby's bones go through yet another hardening phase around now, helping your baby with posture and strength and, of course, acting as a vital method of protection outside of the uterus. Your baby's skull will remain soft which helps it squeeze through the birth canal without doing too much damage to either of you. Known informally as the "soft spot", this part of the body doesn't actually firm up until early adulthood!

Your baby knows there's not long left now before he or she is essentially fending for themselves, and they're making the most of the nutrients and vitamins they get from your placenta. Around now your baby should start to store iron, and they'll be born with enough reserve incase they don't receive enough through breastmilk or infant formula. It's important to keep your iron intake up at this point, and consider taking supplements if necessary (always check with your Midwife or Doctor first!).

You: What's Happening?

Are you waddling yet? If not, it won't be long! Women in their third trimester are renowned for their wide-legged walk which may not be graceful, but it's certainly a lot more comfortable! Take the opportunity, once your baby is here you won't have any excuses!

With difficulty getting comfortable at night and needing to use the bathroom every five minutes, you may be finding that sleep is like a distant friend who you haven't seen for a very long time. Lots of pillows might help, and you may even wish to ask your partner to start sleeping in the spare room! It might sound harsh, but chances are you'll both sleep a lot better with more space.

You're probably experiencing all the classic third trimester physical symptoms, but what about the emotional symptoms? Are you tearing up at the baby commercials on the TV? Having a bit of a weep watching a father and son play at the park? You're not crazy, it's just your hormones getting all unbalanced in the lead up to labor.

Handy Hints

Have you packed your hospital bag yet? If not, now's the time! Although you still have 7 weeks until your due date, you should be prepared for the unexpected. Starting now will also give you plenty of time to pick up any must-have items for your bag that you don't yet have.

So what are the essentials and what can you afford to leave behind? This is where many moms-to-be, especially first timers, go wrong. You don't need your high heels, you don't need your entire book collection and you don't need 50 baby outfits! Some hospitals have actually started restricting the amount of luggage you can take in with you!

For the baby, you'll need a pack of newborn diapers and either wipes or some cotton balls.. You'll also want a few vests and sleepsuits and a couple of cellular blankets for keeping warm. Be sure to pack a hat, even if you're having a summer baby as your little one won't be able to regulate his or her temperature just yet. Some diaper rash cream may be useful, too. If you wish, you may want to pack a nice outfit for bringing Baby home in, although many new Moms are far too tired to struggle with dressing a baby properly!

For you, you'll want to remember to take your hospital notes and your birth plan. You'll also want some slippers and a gown, as well as something to give birth in. Many women opt for a nightdress with front buttons which makes it easier for skin-to-skin contact and breastfeeding, although some Moms just labor in their birthday suits. Do whatever is most comfortable for you. Don't forget your breast pads, maternity pads, some loose black trousers (which wont show up any leaks) and big comfy panties! Some shampoo, soap and a hair brush will help make you feel much more human afterwards. Some Moms also like to pack some healthy snacks incase their labors are quite lengthy and tiring. Oat bars are ideal!