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 [fe´tus] (L.)
the developing young in the uterus, specifically the unborn offspring in the postembryonic period, which in humans is from the third month after fertilization until birth. See also embryo. 

The stages of growth of the fetus are fairly well defined. At the end of the first month it has grown beyond microscopic size. After 2 months it is a little over 2.5 cm long, its face is formed, and its limbs are partly formed. By the end of the third month it is 8 cm long and weighs about 30 g; its limbs, fingers, toes, and ears are fully formed, and its sex can be distinguished.

After 4 months the fetus is about 20 cm long and weighs over 200 g. The mother can feel its movements, and usually the health care provider can hear its heartbeat. The eyebrows and eyelashes are formed, and the skin is pink and covered with fine hair called lanugo. By the fifth month the fetus's body is covered with a cheeselike substance (vernix caseosa), which serves to protect it in its watery environment. By the end of the fifth month it is 30 cm long, weighs 450 g, and has hair on its head. At the end of the sixth month it is 35 cm long and weighs 900 g, and its skin is very wrinkled.

After 7 months the fetus is 40 cm long and weighs over 1.3 kg, with more fat under its skin. In the male, the testes have descended into the scrotum. By the end of the eighth month it is 45 cm long, may weigh 2.3 kg, and has a good chance of survival if it is born at that time. At the end of 9 months, the average length of a fetus is 50 cm and the average weight is 3.2 kg. adj., adj fe´tal.
calcified fetus a dead fetus that has become calcified in utero; called also lithopedion.
fetus in fe´tu a small, imperfect fetus, incapable of independent life, contained within the body of another fetus.
harlequin fetus an infant with a severe and dramatic form of congenital ichthyosis, manifested by hyperkeratosis with rigid skin; death usually occurs in the first six weeks of life.
mummified fetus a dead fetus that is dried up and shriveled.
fetus papyra´ceus a dead fetus flattened by being pressed against the uterine wall by a living twin.
parasitic fetus in unequal twins, an incomplete minor fetus attached to a larger, more completely developed fetus (the autosite).
Miller-Keane Encyclopedia and Dictionary of Medicine, Nursing, and Allied Health, Seventh Edition. © 2003 by Saunders, an imprint of Elsevier, Inc. All rights reserved.


, pl.


(fē'tŭs, fē'tŭs-ez), Avoid the incorrect plural feti.
1. The unborn young of a viviparous animal following the embryonic period.
2. In humans, the product of conception from the end of the eighth week of gestation to the moment of birth.
[L. offspring]
Farlex Partner Medical Dictionary © Farlex 2012


n. pl. fe·tuses
1. The unborn young of a viviparous vertebrate having a basic structural resemblance to the adult animal.
2. In humans, the unborn young from the end of the eighth week after conception to the moment of birth, as distinguished from the earlier embryo.
The American Heritage® Medical Dictionary Copyright © 2007, 2004 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved.


1. The unborn child developing in the uterus–after the embryonic stage, circa age 7 to 8 wks to birth.
2. The product of conception from the time of implantation until delivery; if the delivered or expelled fetus is viable, it is designated an infant. See Harlequin fetus, Nonviable fetus. Cf Embryo.
McGraw-Hill Concise Dictionary of Modern Medicine. © 2002 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.


, pl. fetuses (fē'tŭs, -ĕz)
1. The unborn young of a viviparous animal after it has taken form in the uterus.
2. In humans, the product of conception from the end of the eighth week to the moment of birth.
Synonym(s): foetus.
[L. offspring]
Medical Dictionary for the Health Professions and Nursing © Farlex 2012


The developing individual from about the eighth or tenth week of life in the womb until the time of birth. The fetus has all the recognizable external characteristics of a human being. At 10 weeks, the fetus measures about 2.5 cm from the crown of the head to the rump. The face is formed but the eyelids are fused together. The brain is in a primitive state, incapable of any meaningful form of consciousness. By 3 months, the fetus is about 5 cm long (crown to rump) and by 4 months it is about 10 cm long. In the 6th month, the fetus is up to 20 cm long and weighs up to 800 g. Survival outside the womb at this stage is unlikely. Most fetuses over 2 000 grams do well if properly managed in an INCUBATOR. From the Latin fetus , an offspring. The common spelling ‘foetus’ is incorrect and is used only by journalists who should know better.
Collins Dictionary of Medicine © Robert M. Youngson 2004, 2005


The term used to describe a developing human infant from approximately the third month of pregnancy until delivery. The term embryo is used prior to the third month.
Gale Encyclopedia of Medicine. Copyright 2008 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.


, pl. fetuses (fē'tŭs, -ĕz) Avoid the incorrect plural feti.
In humans, product of conception from the end of the eighth week of gestation to the moment of birth.
[L. offspring]
Medical Dictionary for the Dental Professions © Farlex 2012

Patient discussion about Fetus

Q. Is chicken pox dangerous to my fetus? I am pregnant and have never had chicken pox before. My daughter is 2 years old and has not had chicken pox before and hasn't been vaccinated against it either. If she does catch chicken pox can this be dangerous to me or the fetus?

A. perhaps it will be then useful if the chicken pox would appear that you have then a separate room if necessary (quarantine).
i advice you also to inform yourself and build your own opinion with this link-page:

before you would like to go on with any vaccination, you should check out this very long list of links:


at the bottom you will also find links in english. vaccinations in general are very disputable/dubious and it is probably time that we learn about it.

Q. Is an X- Ray dangerous to my fetus? I fell down while I am pregnant and was sent to the ER. I was given an x- ray there, is the radiation dangerous to my fetus?

A. As far as I know one x-ray cannot harm your fetus since there is not enough radiation there to harm it. If you are worried consult a Doctor.

Q. Can the fetus hear through the womb? My wife wants to play music to our baby and put earphones on her pregnant stomach so he can hear it. Can he really hear the music?

A. Yes, he can hear. Studies show that from the 5th month of pregnancy, nice and calm music can sooth the fetus. You can expose your baby to sounds, music and different tunes throughout your pregnancy.

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