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Open Access Highly Accessed Open Badges Research article

What is the optimal gestational age for twin delivery

Ahmad F Bakr13* and Tarek Karkour2

Author Affiliations

1 Department of Pediatrics, University of Alexandria, Alexandria, Egypt

2 Department of Obstetrics, University of Alexandria, Alexandria, Egypt

3 Consultant Neonatologist, Welcare Hospital, PO Box 31500 Dubai, United Arab Emirates

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BMC Pregnancy and Childbirth 2006, 6:3  doi:10.1186/1471-2393-6-3

Published: 16 February 2006



The question about outcome in twins delivered early versus late remains unanswered. The objective of this study was to evaluate the association of the timing of delivering twins and the perinatal outcome.


A prospective cohort study was carried-out in Alexandria University Maternity Hospital. We planned to examine the records of twin deliveries over 2 years. The inclusion criteria were twin deliveries with gestational age at delivery at least 36 completed weeks. Twins of mothers with chronic illness and those with congenital anomalies were excluded. Perinatal outcome parameters (morbidity and mortality) were defined and evaluated.


Out of 273 twin sets, 197 (72.2%) met the inclusion criteria. They were classified into 3 groups according to the gestational age at delivery. Neonatal morbidity and maternal complications were higher in those delivered earlier. Twins electively delivered had worse outcome than those delivered spontaneously. In the elective group, there was no difference in the outcome between those delivered earlier or later.


Twins, when the pregnancy is uncomplicated, continue to grow and mature with advancement of the gestational age. In the absence of significant maternal complications, it is advisable to deliver twins only at 38 completed weeks' gestation or later to avoid neonatal complications.