Twins born at 34 weeks are considered born moderate to late preterm. Babies are considered born preterm if you give birth before 37 weeks of pregnancy is completed (37+0 weeks). 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 need special care?
The main thing your babies need to focus on at this gestation is growing and gaining weight. They may need to stay a few days or weeks in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU), but not necessarily. It may also occur that one baby goes straight to the maternity ward with you and the other one is left in special care. Twins born at 34 weeks will probably need help to learn to regulate temperature and master eating, and some will have breathing issues.
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. You need to give birth at a medical facility equipped to deal with preterm babies.
Can I do something to help my babies?
Studies show that babies subjected to kangaroo care – frequent skin-to-skin contact – are more likely to maintain a healthy body temperature, and show increased cardio-respiratory stability. If you give birth to twins at 34 weeks, you and your partner will most likely be able to begin kangaroo care right after birth. Read about the importance of early involvement of fathers when it comes to the health and care of premature babies.
These twin boys were born at 33 1/2 weeks in 2008. Their mother had gone into labor the week before and had an antenatal steroid shot to help with lung development. Both boys weighed over 5lbs (2267 grams) at birth. One twin had jaundice, and one had to get breathing support. They had a a follow up with a cardiologist because of a heart murmur, but it had completely resolved by the recheck at 6 months.