Skip to Content

Premature Delivery in Multiple Pregnancy

Topic Overview

Delivery before the 37th week is called a premature, or preterm, delivery. A premature delivery can cause problems for the infants if their organs are not fully developed. Infants delivered before 32 weeks have greater health risks than those who are delivered at 32 weeks of gestation or later.

Multiple pregnancies seldom reach the usual 40-week due date:1

  • For twins, the average time to delivery is 36 to 37 weeks.
  • For triplets, the average time is 33 weeks.
  • For quadruplets, the average time is 31 weeks.

After delivery, most premature babies need care in a hospital unit called the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU). Care in the NICU can last days or weeks, depending on a baby's condition and the amount of specialized care the baby needs.

For more information, see Preterm Labor and Premature Infant.

Related Information

References

Citations

  1. Bush MC, Pernoll ML (2013). Multiple gestation. In AH DeCherney et al., eds., Current Diagnosis and Treatment Obstetrics and Gynecology, 11th ed., pp. 301–309. New York: McGraw-Hill.

Credits

By Healthwise Staff
Primary Medical Reviewer Sarah Marshall, MD - Family Medicine
Specialist Medical Reviewer William Gilbert, MD - Maternal and Fetal Medicine
Current as of June 4, 2014

This information does not replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise, Incorporated disclaims any warranty or liability for your use of this information. Your use of this information means that you agree to the Terms of Use. How this information was developed to help you make better health decisions.

© 1995-2014 Healthwise, Incorporated. Healthwise, Healthwise for every health decision, and the Healthwise logo are trademarks of Healthwise, Incorporated.

Classes & Events

  • Nov
    4
    Tuesday
    6:00 PM - 7:00 PM
    This open discussion for parents will focus on creating their birth environment, comfort measures, positions for labor and other general questions about labor.
  • Nov
    10
    Monday
    2:30 PM - 3:30 PM
    This tour allows siblings to visit The Family Place before the arrival of the baby and ways to increase the siblings' participation.
  • Nov
    13
    Thursday
    5:30 PM - 8:30 PM
    Learn how to administer CPR to an adult, child or infant. First aid basics, choking and the use of an AED are reviewed.

Section Links

Health Library