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How developed is a 36-week fetus?

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Quick Answer

At 36 weeks gestation, a baby weighs nearly 6 pounds and is roughly 18.5 inches in length. With the exception of the lungs, all of the baby's organs are fully developed as of the 36th week. The baby's liver and kidneys have begun to process some waste products, according to Baby2see.com.

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Full Answer

The baby begins to drop into the birth canal at 36 weeks and maintains its position until born. Babies born during the 36th week of pregnancy are lighter and slightly thinner than those carried to full term. Babies born before the 37-week mark are classified as preterm, although babies born at the end of the 36th week fall under the early-term classification.

At this point the baby gains weight at the rate of an ounce per day and begins to shed both the waxy vernix caseosa and the downy covering that protected the skin during development. The baby swallows these substances along with other secretions in the womb. Together they eventually become part of the baby's first bowel movement, which is a blackish substance known as meconium, according to BabyCenter.

Preemiehelp notes that babies born during the 36th week of pregnancy have a survival rate of greater than 95 percent. Babies of this gestational age have around the same likelihood of being born with a severe disability as full-term infants, although premature babies have an elevated risk of mild cerebral palsy and developmental delays.

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