9 Months – Long Enough?
Thursday, September 13th, 2012
Is 9 months long enough to be pregnant?
Certainly, I thought it was. By the end of pregnancy, my ankles had become "cankles," my weight had surpassed my husband’s, and I was quite the "waddler." On top of that, sleeping was anything but comfortable and more than anything else, I was excited to meet my little girl!
WHY 9 months?
As for the WHY 9 months, I never questioned it. After all, some things are just the way they are. Then, today, I heard about this. I love research and I love NPR. They both make me feel smart (and after the brain cells I have lost during parenthood, I’ll take what I can get!).
Back to the question at hand, WHY 9 months?
One of the great questions from this study was "wouldn’t it be better if tiny humans were born able to walk, like horses, or generally were readier for the rigors of the world, like, say, chimps?" Really, chimps are more developed than humans at birth. Yep, it’s fact.
According to this study from the University of Rhode Island, Harvard, and the University of California, Berkeley, among primates: "humans have the least developed brains at birth, at least when compared to adult human brains. If humans were born as far along on cognitive and neurological scales as rough and ready chimps are, human pregnancy would have to last at least twice as long." How about carrying your baby for eighteen months? (Are you kidding me?!)
So why ONLY 9 months?
Previously, it was thought pregnancy lasts only so long is because humans walk upright, and the size and shape of our pelvises are constrained by the way we get around in the world. If our babies got much bigger, mothers wouldn’t walk as well (or perhaps at all!).
In addition to previous conclusions, researchers also questioned how long we mamas-to-be can maintain our own metabolism along with supporting the development of a fetus.
The answer? About 9 months.
So, there you have it. 9 months works. It provides the developmental foundation our little ones need to be born and then grow steadily as we hold them in our arms.
And the best part?
After they are born and we are holding them, we get to see that development happen.