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Did Padme follow the Earthling Human gestation cycle? Were they born prematurely?

marked as duplicate by Chenmunka, Valorum star-wars Mar 23 '16 at 14:39

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  • Congrats on being over 9000 ! – Rand al'Thor Mar 23 '16 at 12:40
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    Roughly 0 days, 0 hours, and 0 minutes old. – phantom42 Mar 23 '16 at 12:41
  • @phantom42: Depends... did Star Wars use the Western Earthling system of deciding age from the time of birth? Or dd they perhaps use something like the Earthling Chinese tradition of starting at year 1 to account for gestation? – FuzzyBoots Mar 23 '16 at 12:48
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    I think people might be downvoting based on the title, which looks like a silly question with the western way of defining age. Maybe you should edit the title to match the question body? – Rand al'Thor Mar 23 '16 at 12:49
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    As to the specific question of whether they were born prior to natural labour occurring, the answer is yes, they were induced. - "“We need to operate quickly if we are to save the babies,” the droid continued. “She’s carrying twins.”" - RotS: Junior Novelisation. – Valorum Mar 23 '16 at 14:41

There is no official answer on this that I can find...so all I can provide is reasonable supposition.

Assumption: Padme and Anakin are humans, and Star Wars humans are very similar to Earth humans.

I'm going to try to avoid photographic evidence as much as possible...because Hollywood almost never accurately portrays pregnancy and childbirth. After all, it wouldn't do for them to have Natalie Portman tottering around and bracing her back...or to have actual newborns on set.

The best evidence we could have is to look for the last time Anakin and Padme were alone together. In the Revenge of the Sith novelization, p.123 we get this quote:

Skywalker was not the same young man the Council had sent off to the Outer Rim five standard months ago.

and then this, when Padme and Anakin are reunited

"Five months.'' It was almost a moan. "Five months—how could they do that to us?"

By that count, the last time Anakin saw Padme was 5 months ago, meaning Padme is, at least, 5 months pregnant when Anakin returns to Coruscant. The earliest 'major' sign of pregnancy (morning sickness) can show up anywhere from 2 to 8 weeks, and a woman on a normal cycle would have missed a period by the 4 week mark. Meaning Padme should have had suspicions of her pregnancy within 4 weeks of conception or shortly thereafter. There is the possibility that she suspected her pregnancy before he left, but this quote puts serious doubt to that...

Because while he has been away, everything has changed.

This gives us an upper edge somewhere around 6 months by the time of the battle of Coruscant. Though when he asks how long she knew, she doesn't answer him.

This runs us into our next problem: How long did the events of Revenge of the Sith take? We are given the definite impression that things happened very quickly during Revenge of the Sith, just by the pacing of the movie. It may have been days, it may have been weeks...but it certainly seems that it didn't consume months worth of time. On the other hand, if we base it off the physical changes in Padme throughout the movie, it appears that a significant amount of time has passed. Early on, she is barely showing at all, and by the end she is noticeably pregnant. But, as I said...appearance is radically unreliable when it comes to pregnancy in film.

We get a few more hints at the time elapsed from the novelization. Between the death of Dooku and the departure of Obi-Wan to hunt down Greivous is only a few days.

What he felt was a memory of hot pride at being the focus of so many eager HoloNet crews, anxious to get even the slightest glimpse of the man who had conquered Count Dooku. How many days ago had that been? He couldn't remember. Not many.

After this, the only true remaining downtime in the movie is a question of how long it took Obi-Wan to reach Utapau. Referring back to the old d20 Star Wars RPG is really the closest thing we have to hyperspace travel time calculations. It lists that traveling from the Core Worlds to the Outer Rim took 96 hours. So, 4 days.

Once Obi-Wan reached Utapau, it was a very short amount of time during which he snooped around to spy on the Separatists, and culminated in the execution of Order 66. By the time Obi-Wan returned to Coruscant (again, about 4 days if we consider those travel times accurate) Anakin had been dispatched to Mustafar, and Obi-Wan gave chase, with Padme stowing along.

So, based on this...we have at least 12 days of travel time in there, plus some indeterminate (though short) downtime. At the longest, we have 2, maybe 3 weeks between the Battle of Coruscant, and Obi-Wan and Anakin's confrontation on Mustafar. Furthermore, we know that labor was induced, based on the statement that they needed to "operate quickly to save the babies."

This estimate does contradict with some old (no longer canon) information that implies that the birth of Luke Skywalker happened only 4 days after the battle of Coruscant, but it still leaves it pretty clear...

Yes. Luke and Leia were premature. At the absolute longest, Padme was 7 months pregnant at the end of Revenge of the Sith. Again, they certainly don't look premature, but you can't depend on that when it comes to Hollywood.

In a civilized nation, babies born 2 months premature currently have a 95% survival rate, and so it stands to reason that they would be just fine in the much more advanced Star Wars universe.

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    Note that twin pregnancies are usually shorter than singletons: twins are born on average around week 35 rather than week 40. So twins born at 7 months would be premature, but not unusually so. Also, something that trips up many new parents-to-be as well as authors: gestation is counted from the woman's last period, not from conception. The difference can add almost a month, depending on the timings involved. – Martha Mar 23 '16 at 16:58

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