If you're expecting multiples, congratulations! Finding out that you're carrying multiples, whether twins, triplets, or more, is an experience filled with many emotions. You may be filled with joy, especially if you've undergone IVF or other infertility treatments, but also scared and worried.
One worry that moms who are pregnant with multiples face is the risk of prematurity. Multiples are often born earlier than singletons, and the more babies a mom is carrying, the greater the risk. Knowing the signs of premature labor and how premature labor is prevented and treated can help you carry your babies for as long as possible, helping to prevent many of the immediate or long-term health problems of prematurity.
So what exactly is the risk of prematurity for multiples? It depends on the number of babies you carry:
- Twins: About 60% of twins are born premature. The average twin pregnancy lasts about 35 weeks, so most twins are born as late preterm babies.
- Triplets: About 90% of triplets are born premature. The average triplet pregnancy lasts for about 32 weeks.
- Quadruplets or more: Almost all quadruplets or higher-order multiples are born early. The average quadruplet pregnancy lasts for about 29 weeks, and the length of pregnancy decreases with each additional baby.
March of Dimes. "Multiples: Twins, Triplets, and Beyond." Retrieved May 24, 2010 from http://www.marchofdimes.com/professionals/14332_4545.asp