Medical professionals use a lot of terminology that can sometimes be hard for us to understand. If you have had complications throughout your pregnancy you will have a lot of different phrases and abbreviations to learn. And if your babies are then born prematurely, they will be given two ages: an actual age and a corrected or adjusted age.

Babies born before 37 weeks are classed as preterm.  Twins born after 37 weeks will not usually be given a corrected age. A triplet or quad pregnancy will always be born before 37 weeks and so your triplets and quads will be given a corrected/adjusted age.

The corrected/adjusted age is worked out by calculating how many weeks preterm your babies were and taking it away from their actual age. For example

If your triplets were born at 32 weeks gestation, they were born 8 weeks early (from a 40-week due date) and so whatever their actual age is you subtract 8 weeks and you get their corrected/adjusted age.

Table explaining actual and corrected/adjusted age

This is particularly useful when looking at developmental milestones as your babies may be 4 months old actual age but were born 8 weeks prematurely, so it is normal for them to be displaying the developmental milestones for 2-month-olds.

It is always important to remember that babies all develop at different rates, and you will notice that each of your multiple birth children will do things at different times. If you are concerned about anything to do with you babies’ development, please seek advice from you health professionals. 

This corrected/adjusted age is particularly relevant in the first 2 years of the babies lives and after 2 years of age it is unlikely the prematurity will still be having a significant impact on their development, however a study found it can have an impact on their readiness for potty training but doesn’t affect the amount of time it takes to compete the potty training process once it has started.  Again, if you are concerned about your toddler’s development, please do seek further medical support.

Our play booklet has some general guidance about what you can expect at different ages but as mentioned above please look at the babies corrected age especially if they are under 2!

The Early years foundation stage is also another useful resource when it comes to checking on developmental norms in children under the age of 5.