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Birth at 37 Weeks Might Be Healthiest for Twins
by Rita Watkins
Delivering twins can be a huge challenge for the mother, who is forced to push out two infants instead of one. Not to mention, twins are usually born prematurely, around 37 weeks, according to the book Twins! Pregnancy, Birth and the First Year of Life, written by Connie Agnew. In typical pregnancies, early delivery is sometimes associated with lower birth weights.
However, a study published in the British Journal of Obstetrics and Gynaecology reported that 37 weeks may be the ideal length of pregnancy when twins are expected. It was found, after observing the pregnancies of 235 women in Australia, that babies who were born early were less likely to be small for their gestational age, as compared to those born 38 weeks or later.
"We found that at 37 weeks, elective birth is associated with a significant reduction in the risk of serious morbidity for infants, without increasing complications related to immaturity or induction of labor," said Jodie Dodd, professor from the University of Adelaide's Robinson Institute and the Women's and Children's Hospital.
Looking at the best time for twins to be born may eliminate possible complications, such as a slow growth rate, which may be seen in both or one of the infants. If this occurs, there may be an increased need for care after birth and more health risks later in life, such as heart disease and diabetes. As twins grow, there's also a chance that the two umbilical cords can become entangled or wrap around an infant, according to the National Institutes of Health.
If you're having twins, speak to your healthcare provider about the possible complications and if you should arrange to deliver early.
When and how did you deliver twins? Were there any complications visible at birth or in the following months or years?