Your twins are considered born preterm if you give birth before 37 weeks of pregnancy is completed (37+0 weeks). Twins born at 30 weeks are considered born very preterm. This is according to the World Health Organization (WHO), who subcategories preterm birth based on gestational age.
extremely preterm (<28 weeks)
very preterm (28 to <32 weeks)
moderate to late preterm (32 to <37 weeks)
Will my babies survive?
The vast majority of twins born at 30 weeks survive in high-income countries. In low-income countries about half of babies born at or below 32 weeks die. Twins born at 30 weeks need to be born in a medical facility equipped to deal with preterm babies. Proper medical care is essential. Your babies will need to spend a few weeks or months in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU). They will need help breathing as well as eating. The NICU staff will guide you on how to start breast- or bottle feeding once your babies have developed their sucking reflexes. They’ll also let you know when you’re able to hold your children. They need to be in stable conditions first. It’s very likely that you’ll be able to touch them, before being allowed to hold them.
What happens to me if I go into preterm labour?
If you go into preterm labour steroid injections should be given before birth, maturing the lungs of your babies. The WHO also recommends that the mother is given antibiotics when her water breaks before the onset of labour, and magnesium sulfate to prevent future neurological impairment of the children.
Can I do something to help my babies?
Frequent skin-to-skin contact is good for your babies. This is also called kangaroo care. Studies show that babies subjected to frequent skin-to-skin contact are more likely to maintain a healthy body temperature, and show increased cardio-respiratory stability. Frequent skin-to-skin contact has also been associated with decreased likelihood of infection and severe illness.
These twin boys were born at 29+0 weeks. They weighed 2lbs, 9oz (1162 grams) and 3lbs, 2oz (1417 grams). They were in the NICU for 8 weeks. Both had brain bleeds and jaundice, so they had light therapy in their incubators. At birth they discovered one large placenta, but, on inspection, it seemed that a smaller one was fused to a larger one. It was sent away for research, but the family never heard back. At 13 years old, the boys are fine, though both have ADHD, and one twin has anxiety issues.
These identical di-di twin boys were born at 29+2 weeks in 2007. Twin a was 3lbs, 2oz (1417 grams). Twin b was 3lbs, 3oz (1445 grams). They were in the NICU for 8 weeks (37 weeks). They both were given surfactant, had jaundice, anemia (twin A had 2 blood transfusions, twin B had one), brain bleeds, apnea and bradycardia (sometimes at the excact same time) while in the NICU. Twin a developed pulmonary hypertension a few hours after birth. For a few days, the family didn’t know if twin a was going to make it.
When the boys were discharged from the NICU, they were included in a Special Infant Care clinic that they went to monthly. They had trouble putting on weight, so they did a high fat and calorie diet until they were 2. They were breastfed and got 3 bottles of pumped breast-milk a day with Neosure (infant high fat/high calorie formula). They were on that for a year. At 6 months (4 months adjusted) they started solids. They were eating rice cereal with high fat yogurt added to it. At a year, their mother still breastfed them as needed, but also had to give them 3 cups of whole milk a day with Carnatation Instant Breakfast added to it. All food was high fat. At age 2 they didn’t need the high fat anymore, but their weights were still watched. They also had bronco pulmonary dysplasia for 3 years. They had to get shots for RSV when it was in season. The family’s insurance covered those shots the entire time. They never got pneumonia. Both of them had to have PT, OT and speech therapy. They had PT until age 2 (didn’t start walking until 18 months, but they both started within minutes of each other). They both had low muscle tone. Twin B broke his arm at 7 months (5 months adjusted) from rolling over. They had occupational therapy until age 6. They started speech therapy at age 4 and had stopped at age 6. At this point in time, they are almost 11 and are doing great. They are taller than most of their peers and and can eat anyone under the table. They are still very thin. The family thinks that all the OT and PT really helped them be good athletes. They are state swimmers. At one swim meet when they were 6, twin a held his breathe the entire 25 meters and came in first. That was very touching to his mom knowing how hard he struggled to breathe when he was born. Both have been diagnosed with dyslexia. The family were told they would be high risk for it, so they did as much early intervention as they could. The twins are good students that know they have this struggle, but try their best. Their teachers say they are the hardest working students they have.
These mo-di twin girls were born at 29+4 weeks in 2009. They were diagnosed with Twin to Twin Transfusion Syndrome and treated with laser surgery at 24 weeks. One of the girls was in the NICU for 2 months, the other girl was in the NICU for 3 months.