At what point is the fetus typically able to survive outside of the mother’s body?
The term “fetus” describes a stage of development whereby all nutrition, hydration, oxygenation and waste removal occur through the maternal blood system. “Viability” indicates the stage of development whereby an infant can breath through its lungs, digest food and generally survive with proper care. No one is suggesting that a baby should be making its own lunch. A fetus that is not viable has organs too underdeveloped to work properly. It would die outside the womb no matter what was done for it. If the fetus were removed from the womb and its lungs and digestive system functioned, it would no longer be called a fetus, no matter how premature it was, because it was no longer using an umbillicus to survive. “Baby” isn’t really a medical term. Traditionally it is used to indicate a born infant but it can also indicate an unborn fetus. It doesn’t have a specific medical meaning. Plenty of thinking has gone on. You just weren’t paying attention.
The lower limit of viability is approximately five months gestational age, and usually later. According to The Developing Human:
Viability is defined as the ability of fetuses to survive in the extrauterine environment… There is no sharp limit of development, age, or weight at which a fetus automatically becomes viable or beyond which survival is assured, but experience has shown that it is rare for a baby to survive whose weight is less than 500 gm or whose fertilization age is less than 22 weeks. Even fetuses born between 26 and 28 weeks have difficulty surviving, mainly because the respiratory system and the central nervous system are not completely differentiated… If given expert postnatal care, some fetuses weighing less than 500 gm may survive; they are referred to as extremely low birth weight or immature infants…. Prematurity is one of the most common causes of morbidity and prenatal death.
During the past several decades, neonatal care has improved with advances in medical science, and therefore the point of viability may have moved earlier. As of 2006, the two youngest children to survive premature birth are thought to be James Elgin Gill (born on 20 May 1987 in Ottawa, Canada, at 21 weeks and 5 days gestational age), and Amillia Taylor (born on 24 October 2006 in Miami, Florida, at 21 weeks and 6 days gestational age). Both children were born just under 20 weeks from fertilization, or a few days past the midpoint of an average full-term pregnancy. Despite their premature births, both developed into healthy children.
from what I’ve read it’s between 5-6 months a fetus can usually survive outside the womb with intensive care, and possible health issues.
I believe the youngest baby to survive was around 24-25 weeks (around 6 months) but that was with A LOT of medical support. Prematurity can also lead to problems such as cerbal palsy, stroke, blindness, and mental disabilities.
Source(s): I’m a nurse and mom of 2, ttc #3
50% of 24 week babies will survive. Out of those, many will have long-term damage. There are very few survivors before 24 weeks and nobody knows their prognosis. (there was one 21 weeker and a couple of 23 weekers).
51/2- 6 months… however their chances ar slim and they will need intensive premature care. They will definately be in the NICU for a few weeks!
Edit: For evidence… my father was born at 6 months and 2 days… he is alive and well!
Usually when the baby weight is over 500 grams.
a little after 6 months…
the youngest baby to survive outside the womb was born at 18 weeks