In honor of this, I'd like to give some stats and info for those who are in a twin pregnancy now:
The National Organization of Mothers of Twins Clubs (NOMOTC) reports that about half of all twins are born before 36 weeks. The National Vital Statistics Report for 2006 reports that 60% of twins were born preterm (less than 37 completed weeks of gestation) and 12% were considered very preterm (less than 32 completed weeks of gestation).
What MoD says specifically is that about 60 percent of twins, more than 90 percent of triplets, and virtually all quadruplets and higher-order multiples are born premature. The length of pregnancy decreases with each additional baby. On average, most singleton pregnancies last 39 weeks; for twins, 35 weeks; for triplets, 32 weeks; and for quadruplets, 29 weeks.
The MoD says women who are expecting multiples generally need to visit their health care providers more frequently than women expecting one baby. These extra visits can help prevent, detect and treat the complications that develop more often in a multiple pregnancy. Health care providers may recommend twice-monthly visits during the second trimester and weekly (or more frequent) visits during the third trimester.
Starting around the 20th week of pregnancy, a health care provider monitors the pregnant woman carefully for signs of preterm labor. The provider may do an internal exam or recommend a vaginal ultrasound to see if the woman’s cervix is shortening (a possible sign that labor may begin soon).
Even if a woman pregnant with multiples has no signs of preterm labor, her provider may recommend cutting back on activities sometime between the 20th and 24th weeks of pregnancy. She may be advised to reduce her activities even sooner and to rest several times a day if she is expecting more than two babies.
As a multiple gestation progresses, the health care provider regularly checks the pregnant woman’s blood pressure for preeclampsia. The provider also may recommend regular ultrasounds starting around 20 weeks of pregnancy to check that all babies are growing at about the same rate.
So what can you do to help your babies be born healthy?
Eat well. Follow your doctor's advice. Be sure that your doctor has awareness of the special challenges multiple pregnancies face. Discuss whether or not you should get the corticosteroid shot to help your babies lungs develop. Go to all your doctor appointments, even if you feel well. Always take signs of preterm labor seriously.
Your babies have some of the best chances they've ever had now because of research in prematurity. Others are fighting the fight on different grounds, protecting and researching how a multiple pregnancy has it's best chances of being healthy. March of Dimes is fighting for all babies born premature, though, and for most of us twin moms, are kids fall into this category. Be aware, pass this info on to other moms-to-be that you know.