Twins and Premature Birth
Most births of single babies happen at 39 weeks. But the average length of a twin
pregnancy is 35 weeks.
Babies that are low birth weight tend to weigh less than 5 pounds. This increases
their risk for many major health problems.
Some problems are brief, such as:
Others have lasting effects, such as:
To lower the chance of early births, women who are pregnant with twins usually see
their healthcare providers more often. They also are watched for signs of preterm
labor. Their healthcare providers may treat preterm labor with bed rest and medicines
to stop contractions. Near the 20th week of pregnancy, healthcare providers may recommend regular ultrasounds to check
the growth rate of the twins to make sure they are growing at about the same rate.
During the third trimester, the healthcare provider may suggest a nonstress test and/or
a biophysical profile (nonstress test with a weekly ultrasound). This will help check
the well-being of the twins.
If you're carrying twins, closely follow your healthcare provider's advice about diet,
exercise, and rest. Avoid harmful things, such as tobacco smoke and alcohol. Prenatal
care is important. Make sure you keep all your prenatal appointments. Learn the symptoms
and signs of preterm labor, and what to do if you experience them. Do all you can
to lessen your risk of having your babies too soon.