Twins born to women in the early birth group at 37 weeks were significantly less likely to be small for their gestational age, according to a new study. The advice is based on the world’s biggest study addressing the timing of birth for women who have an uncomplicated twin pregnancy. Studying 235 women in Australia, New Zealand and Italy, researchers found that babies born to women in the early birth group (37 weeks) were significantly less likely to be small for their gestational age compared with babies born to women in the standard care group (38 weeks or later), the British Journal of Obstetrics & Gynaecology reported.
Jodie Dodd, professor from the University of Adelaide’s Robinson Institute and the Women’s & Children’s Hospital, who led the study, said: “Infants of a twin pregnancy are recognised to be at risk of problems during pregnancy, particularly from a slowing of the rate of growth in one or both twins.” ”This slowing of the growth rate can result in low birth weight, which is associated with an increased need for care in the neonatal nursery in the short term and increased risk of health problems in later life, including heart disease and diabetes. There is also the risk of one or both twins being stillborn.
“This is why we’ve taken such a great interest in the optimal time for twins’ birth. We found that at 37 weeks, elective birth is associated with a significant reduction in the risk of serious morbidity for infants, without increasing complications related to immaturity or induction of labour,” said Dodd. Dodd says there has been a lot of uncertainty in clinical practice about the optimal time for twins’ birth.
“We hope this study will help clinicians to make recommendations to women with healthy twin pregnancies that lead to less complications at birth, and therefore lead to happier, healthier lives for their babies,” added Dodd.