What is the typical duration of multiple gestation pregnancies? Is it different for twins, triplets, quadruplets, etc.?

Dr. David McKenna talks about the typical duration of a multiple gestation pregnancy. Click play to watch the video or read the transcript.

What is the typical duration of multiple gestation pregnancies? Is it different for twins, triplets, quadruplets, etc.?

In general the more babies in a multiple gestation the earlier the delivery is going to be, and that's usually due to spontaneous preterm birth which occurs without any inciting factor. The average gestational age for singleton gestation in United States is little over 39 weeks. But for twins it's about 35 weeks; triplets, 32 weeks; quadruplets, 29 weeks and even earlier for higher order multiples. Although that's for spontaneous preterm birth, multiple gestations are also at risk for indicated preterm birth due to problems with the baby's growth or moms might develop hypertension which is more common and they might have to be delivered even earlier because of those type of complications.

 

Multiple gestations carry a higher risk of preterm birth, and are therefore more likely to have a shorter duration than single gestations, according to the American Society for Reproductive MedicineOff Site Icon (ASRM). A single gestation can range from 37 to 42 weeks from the time of a woman’s last menstrual cycle, according to the ASRM.

The duration of multiple gestations depends on the number of babies that are developing, according to the National Institutes of HealthOff Site Icon (NIH). According to the NIH, the average duration for single-to-multiple gestations are:

Type of pregnancyWeeks
Single39
Twins35
Triplets32
Quadruplets29

Ask your doctor about the typical duration of a multiple gestation pregnancy.

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