Fetal Development Weeks 36 Through 40

Week 38

Big baby or little one? The average full-term newborn weighs between 6 and 9 pounds and is 18 to 21 inches long. Your doctor will probably be able to give you an idea of your baby's size at this point, but be aware that sometimes these are only predictions -- no one will know baby's precise size until birth. As you watch for signs that your waters have broken (contrary to what you've seen in the movies, this big event precedes labor only about 10 percent of the time), remember that these "waters" are actually amniotic fluid, the solution protects your baby from infection. At the end of the pregnancy, you're carrying between 1 to 2 pints of this precious, life-sustaining liquid.

About two weeks before birth, the placenta starts to deteriorate just a bit. It becomes less efficient in transferring nutrition, and blood clots and calcified patches start to show. This vital but short-lived organ is reaching the end of its life span.

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