9 Months – Long Enough?

9 Months – Long Enough? Picture

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. 

What do you think?

9 Months – Long Enough?

Jeannie Fleming-Gifford is a mama to one little lady, freelance writer, and the director of education for a non-profit community school of the arts. Graduating with a B.A. in Music and a M.A. in Child Development, Jeannie began her career in quality child development programs as a teacher, then moved into creative administrative roles with science centers, symphony orchestras and arts programs. Owner of 170+ year old house, Jeannie loves living in small town America where walks to the park and ... More

Tell us what you think!


  1. Profile photo of Tori Tori says:

    This nine months has gone by so fast. It feels like yesterday I just had my 21st birthday and 17 days later finding out I am pregnant. I can’t believe any day now I will have a new born baby and almost be 22. Wish it would have slowed down.

  2. 9 months seems like 10 years to me..lol..

  3. Don’t mess with Mother Nature y’all.

  4. Profile photo of sej518 sej518 says:

    Plus the bones in the skull aren’t fused together which is why they are able to squeeze through during birth and mold into that nice cone shape. If babies stayed too much longer, not only would they be bigger, but their skulls would start to fuse and every birth would be a c section. Nature knew what it was doing 🙂


Send this to a friend