If you’re expecting twins or multiples, you already know your pregnancy is slightly higher-risk and there’s a good chance you’ll deliver early. But despite the extra care that moms expecting multiples often receive, doctors haven’t agreed on the ideal due date for twins. New research is seeking to change that, suggesting twins be delivered as close to 37 weeks as possible.
While 37 weeks is considered pre-term, 50 percent of twins are delivered prematurely. In fact, researchers say that for dichorionic twins (babies who develop in individual placentas, which includes all fraternal twins and about a third of identical twins), delaying labor until 38 weeks leads to an uptick in stillbirths: about 8.8 deaths for every 1,000 births.
As they worked to come to this standardized 37-week recommendation, researchers found quite the range of recommendations for delivering dichorionic twins: anywhere from 37 to 39 weeks. For monochorionic twins (fetuses that share the same placenta or two thirds of identical twins), that range was even broader: 34 to 37 weeks. Researchers need more information to make a clear recommendation about when to deliver those babies.
To come to these conclusions, published in the medical journal The BMJ, an international team of researchers looked at 32 studies from the past 10 years that focused on some heavy subject matter: stillbirths and newborn deaths. Their hope is that this clear delivery recommendation will reduce the rate of stillbirths and complications, providing some peace of mind for moms of multiples.