Your twins are considered born preterm if you give birth before 37 weeks of pregnancy is completed (37+0 weeks). Twins born at 33 weeks are considered moderate to late preterm, which means that you’ve hit a major milestone. They’re no longer 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)
Are my babies ready to be born?
They’ve come quite far, but they still need to grow and gain weight. If your twins are born at 33 weeks, they’ll need to spend a few weeks in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU). They have probably already begun practicing nursing inside your womb by sucking on their fingers and toes. Due to this some babies are born with red marks or blisters on their hands. However, they’ll need help eating in the beginning. The staff in the NICU will guide you on how to start breast- or bottle-feeding once your babies have fully developed sucking reflexes. The far majority of babies born at 33 weeks, will need help breathing.
What happens 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. You need to give birth at a medical facility equipped to deal with preterm babies.
How big will my babies be?
It’s hard to say how big your babies will be, as genetics and growth conditions in the womb play a significant role. The median weight for dichorionic twins born at 33 weeks is 2110 grams (4lbs, 10oz). For monochorionic twins it’s 2014 grams (4lbs, 7oz). Look at our estimated fetal weight charts to learn more about how twins grow in the second half of pregnancy.
These identical twins were delivered at 32+0 weeks. One twin weighed 3lb, 7oz (1580 grams) and measured 39 centimeters (15.35 in). The other twin weighed 4lb, 8oz (2065 grams) and measured 46 centimeters (18.11 in).
Read stories about different mothers who’ve given birth prematurely and at term.