Typical Gestation Times for a Twin Pregnancy

twin newborns
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Generally, twins and other multiples are born earlier than singletons. This is useful information to have, as it means you'll need to be prepared for your new arrivals as early as 28 weeks after conception. It's also important to know that twins are more likely than singletons to require at least a few days in the hospital before coming home.

Why Twins Are Often Born Early

There are a variety of reasons why twins are often born before they are full term at 39 weeks. The risk of preterm labor and premature birth are heightened when there is more than one baby in the womb. Other conditions such as preeclampsia, placental dysfunction, and twin-to-twin transfusion syndrome are more prevalent in twin pregnancy and increase the risk of an early delivery.

How Early Should You Expect Your Twins?

Research indicates that about half of multiples are born before 37 weeks gestation, and 10% are considered very preterm, delivered before 32 weeks of gestation.

Should Twins Be Induced?

There's no way to know exactly when your babies will be born. In some cases, premature birth cannot be avoided. The authors of a 2016 meta-analysis of cohort studies recommended delivery one week earlier, at 37 week to 37 weeks 6 days.

For uncomplicated twin pregnancies, planned delivery at 38 weeks to 38 weeks 6 days is recommended by the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) and the Society for Maternal-Fetal Medicine (SMFM). However, authors of a 2016 meta-analysis of cohort studies recommended delivery one week earlier, at 37 week to 37 weeks 6 days.

One study found that twins delivered past 40 weeks were more likely to have lower APGAR scores and a higher mortality rate. However, it also concluded that there were no additional health benefits for babies delivered at 37 or 38 weeks.

Researchers from Adelaide University concluded that 37 weeks was the ideal gestation for twins, citing that babies born after that point faced an increased risk of slowed growth, resulting in low birth weight and other potential health complications.

Consult with your medical caregivers to determine the best course of action for your pregnancy and delivery in order to ensure the healthiest outcome for both mother and babies.

3 Sources
Verywell Family uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.
  1. Dudenhausen JW, Maier RF. Perinatal problems in multiple births. Dtsch Arztebl Int. 2010;107(38):663-8. doi:10.3238/arztebl.2010.0663

  2. Cheong-See F, Schuit E, Arroyo-Manzano D, et al. Prospective risk of stillbirth and neonatal complications in twin pregnancies: systematic review and meta-analysis. BMJ. 2016;354:i4353. doi:10.1136/bmj.i4353

  3. Dodd JM, Crowther CA, Haslam RR, Robinson JS. Elective birth at 37 weeks of gestation versus standard care for women with an uncomplicated twin pregnancy at term: the Twins Timing of Birth Randomised Trial. BJOG. 2012;119(8):964-73. doi:10.1111/j.1471-0528.2012.03356.x

Additional Reading
  • American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists. Multiple pregnancy. Updated January 2019. 

By Pamela Prindle Fierro
 Pamela Prindle Fierro is the author of several parenting books and the mother of twin girls.