Were your twins just born preterm? This is exactly what happened to me when my newborn twins arrived at 35 weeks of pregnancy.

In this article I am going to share what it was like having twins born at 35 weeks. This way you can be prepared for what to expect now that your babies made a little bit of an early arrival.

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How Common Is It for Twins To Be Born at 35 Weeks? (Percentage Born This Week)

35 weeks is actually the average length of a twin pregnancy, meaning it is quite common for twins to be born at 35 weeks of pregnancy. As far as the percentage of twin pregnancies that end at 35 weeks, it is difficult to find data on this exact timing. But, almost 60% of twin pregnancies end before 37 weeks of pregnancy.

Are Twins Born at 35 Weeks Considered Premature?

Yes, twins born at 35 weeks are premature or preterm. Any pregnancy that ends before 37 weeks is considered preterm. Keep in mind that each week of pregnancy that passes with babies staying in the womb (before reaching 37 weeks of pregnancy) is typically healthier for the babies.

What To Expect When Delivering Twins at 35 Weeks

If you find yourself going through labor and delivery at 35 weeks of twin pregnancy, you can expect it to be a pretty typical twin delivery. Other factors like the mother’s health and the babies’ health will impact what happens and how it goes.

One thing that would be different is that the hospital will be more alert to the fact that your babies might need to go to the NICU after delivery. For more information, you can read my detailed twin birth story, to learn all the details on what to expect for twin delivery at 35 weeks.

What Is The Survival Rate for Twins Born at 35 Weeks?

Twins born at 35 weeks have a very good survival rate. That is great news, but unfortunately it’s not all positive news.

A study was done on gestational age of twins at birth and compared with the risk for mortality. It found that that twins born before 37 weeks did have an increased risk for death. On the other hand, twins born at 37 weeks or later did not have an increased death risk.

For twins born at 35 weeks in the study, 1.7% of the twin births resulted in perinatal death. Meanwhile, the death rate for twins born at 37-39 weeks was less than 1%.

Average Weight of Twins Born at 35 Weeks

The average birth weight for twins born at 35 weeks is 5 lb. For me personally, my twins were just under 5 lb. One of them weighed 4 lb 12 oz and the other weighed 4 lb 13 oz.

How Long Are Twins Born at 35 Weeks In the NICU?

This is very dependent upon the health of each newborn at birth. If your twins or just one of your twins ends up in the NICU and was born at 35 weeks the average time range for a stay is 2-14 days.

It’s also very possible that twins born at 35 weeks will not have to stay in the NICU. In my family, both twins went to something called the Continuing Care Nursery upon birth. This is not technically the NICU, it’s like one step below that, but they were not healthy enough to stay in our room.

After they both stayed in the Continuing Care Nursery for one day, we had one twin graduate to our room and who came home with us on time. Meanwhile, her sister had to go to the NICU to receive intravenous antibiotics for 7 days. This was a stressful and exhausting time, but today both girls are healthy 9 year-olds.

Can Twins Born at 35 Weeks Go Home?

As alluded to above, yes twins born at 35 weeks might be healthy enough to go home. I hope that is the case for you, if you find yourself in that situation.

What To Expect from Twins Born at 35 Weeks

I thought it would be helpful to share my own observations on what’s different when you have twins born at 35 weeks versus bringing home a baby that is not born prematurely. My singleton was not premature, so the items below are the biggest differences I noticed.

1 – Adjusted Age for Milestones

Your twins will be expected to complete milestones like holding their head on their own, rolling over, etc. 5 weeks later than a baby that was not born prematurely. You will have two ages to keep track of for the first two years of your twins life.

The first is their chronological age, which is their actual age. The second is their adjusted age. Adjusted age is calculated by subtracting 5 weeks from the chronological age. Adjusted age is used to measure if your babies are progressing and growing as they should until they reach 2 years of age.

2 – Newborn Stage Is Longer (They Will Sleep A Lot)

In my personal experience, my premature twins took longer than my non-premature singleton to start being awake for periods of time besides then they were eating. At first newborns typically sleep, wake to eat, and then go back to sleep. Instead of this phase only lasting a few weeks, it lasted about 6-7 weeks with my twin babies.

3 – Be Prepared for a Possible NICU Stay

We discussed this previously, but if you find yourself in labor at 35 weeks, don’t be surprised if one or both of your babies end up in the NICU for some time. One thing that I found super helpful is I actually had a tour of the NICU at the hospital.

We took a twins class at the local hospital and we were able to tour the NICU as part of that class. If that’s something you can do I recommend it.

4 – One Twin Might Come Home & One Might Stay At the Hospital For Longer

This situation can be very hard, but it is a very real possibility. It happened to us, but the best thing was just being aware that it might happen. That at least made it a little easier.

We are lucky that the hospital is only a 15 minute drive from our house. That meant that between all the family members visiting we were able to go back and forth from the house to the hospital.

Personally, I also found it hard because I spent a week after delivery with spinal headaches. I was trying to care for my baby at home, pump as much as possible, and visit the hospital all while having severe headaches anytime I stood up. On top of that I was also dealing with general postpartum recovery. It was a lot!

My point is that if you can’t go to the hospital every day, but your partner or a family member can, it’s okay. And I had NICU nurses who were not always nice to me because they just didn’t know the situation. That was tough as a new mom.

One thing we did was request an extra bassinet for when we visited. This meant we had a spot for the new baby sisters to be near each other. It was cute because the nursing staff put a sign on the crib that said “reserved for my sister”.

5 – Nursing Will Be Difficult & You Might Pump Instead

I wanted to at least try breastfeeding, but I found out that breastfeeding premature twins was difficult. This is because babies born at 35 weeks typically don’t have the suckling ability yet to efficiently nurse. So, I ended up exclusively pumping for my twins instead.

Fair warning that so many experienced moms told me that once I could get my babies nursing my life would get easier. However, I did not find that to be the case because I had one baby that was willing to try nursing and one that was not.

It became quite overwhelming, so when they were 11 weeks old I decided it would be better for our family (and my sanity) to switch to only formula. One of the biggest factors for stopping pumping was I didn’t have enough time to pump and care for my twins all by myself. This meant I wasn’t producing all that much breast milk to distribute to two babies, so I didn’t think it was worth the extra effort anymore.

6 – Drinking From a Bottle Might Be Difficult For a While

Premature babies drink from a bottle even more slowly than a full term newborn. In both instances it takes a long time to finish up those 1.5-2 ounces of milk. But, be prepared for your twins to take 45-60 min to finish nursing or taking a bottle.

This might be shocking, but helps explain why babies this age pretty much are only awake to eat. It is also common for newborns to fall asleep while eating, and it is even more common for babies born early.

Besides the long feeding times, your twins might struggle to drink from their bottle without making a mess or spitting up. One of my girls, had a lot of problems with the milk leaking out the side of her mouth during the first 6 weeks of her life.

We had to test out quite a few bottles and find the one that delivered milk the slowest. For her, the Dr. Brown’s bottles worked best. On the other hand, her sister did well with the Philips Avent bottles.

I do prefer the Avent bottles because they are easier to clean and have less leaking problems, but Dr. Brown’s worked best for actual feeds because they deliver the milk more slowly using the preemie level nipples.

To top it off, not only are there feeding difficulties, but you are trying to feed two babies at once sometimes. This is one of the trickiest parts of having newborn twins.

>>More articles you might be interested in: How To Feed Twins At The Same Time & Bottle Feeding Newborn Baby Tips<<

7 – Digestion & Gut Problems

The stomachs of premature babies are not as developed as babies born later on in pregnancy. This can lead to gas and stomach problems.

Our little one that had to stay in the NICU for a week, struggled with what seemed to be stomach pains in the early weeks of her life. She would cry a lot and would go days at a time without pooping. Eventually she grew out of this as her stomach grew and got stronger.

If you are experiencing these problems, I recommend gripe water and also moving your baby’s legs in a bicycle motion. To visually see what you can do, check out this video. These remedies are not going to solve all the stomach problems immediately, but they do help a little bit.

Twins born at 35 weeks, the complete lowdown from a twin mom.

The good news is that twins born at 35 weeks are generally healthy in the long term!

If your twins are born at 35 weeks, there will be some obstacles to cross when compared with babies born further along. However, 35 weeks is actually the average length of a twin pregnancy.

I hope you learned some facts and tips about what you can expect. To help you out once your twins arrive or if they already have arrived, be sure to grab a FREE printable Newborn Twins Daily Tracker by filling in the form below.


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