24. Will my multiples need to stay in the NICU, and if so, for how long?

Many babies born before 37 weeks gestation may spend a day or two on the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) nursery or the transitional (sometimes called step down) unit. Since almost all higher order mutliple infants are born before this time most spend at least some time in the NICU.

Time spent in the NICU depends on gestation at delivery, general health of the infant, and any complications. Infants must be able to maintain body temperature, breathe on their own, and in most cases feed from a bottle or breast. Though weight gain is important, premature infants are not released from the NICU based on a set weight goal. The MOST Birth Survey showed average NICU stays as follows:

 

Average days in the NICU by Multiple Type and Gestation

Gestation

Triplets

Quadruplets

Quintuplets

<25 weeks

60.8

18.9

68.5

 25 weeks

113.5 90.0 83.0

26 weeks

90.0

76.4

80.6

27 weeks

82.0

52.9

75.8

28 weeks

55.2

63.4

58.3

29 weeks

46.9

47.9

49.0

30 weeks

39.6

39.2

48.5

31 weeks

30.7

28.6

38.3

32 weeks

22.6

24.5

30.2

33 weeks

16.8

18.3

 

34 weeks

11.4

8.5

 

35 weeks

6.2

8.1

 

36 weeks

3.0

5.7

 

37 weeks

3.5

0.2

 
38 weeks 9.3    

 

*Note: Hospital stays for infants born after 35 weeks may vary depending on the size and overall health of the babies.

 

Resources

 

For more information on infant NICU stays, visit the MOST Supertwins Statistics page.

Going Home - A Parent's Checklist (PDF) Extensive checklist for parents of preterm infants to prepare for discharge.

For information on premature infants, visit MOST's daughter organization PreemieCare.org


Please Note:

MOST provides these FAQs for informational purposes and cautions visitors not to use the content below to make treatment decisions without personally consulting a qualified health care provider. Reuse of this content without proper citation is a violation of copyright. To obtain permission to use Supertwins 101 content contact MOST.

 

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Copyright 2005     Updated 5/28/09