Twins Labour and Delivery

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Posted by vera | Posted in Birth, Twins or Multiple Birth Pregnancy | Posted on 06-06-2013

As discussed in more detail in Class 4 of our multiples prenatal course, it is often possible and even preferable to have a vaginal delivery with twins.

I recently had an email from a woman 31 weeks pregnant with twins. She was happy to discover that her babies were both head down, and wondered about her chances of vaginal delivery rather than the caesarean section originally planned.

Although recent research confirms that a vaginal birth is often preferable for twins, every multiples pregnancy is different. Some OBGYNs may still decide to deliver twins by C-section. This can happen for a number of reasons. 

If a vaginal birth is planned, once in the hospital, mom and babies will be closely monitored through labour to ensure all is going well.

Does “Head Down” = No C-Section?

While it is certainly true that having both babies head-down can make for an easier delivery, be aware that once Twin A is born, Twin B may flip around in his/her suddenly more spacious womb!

An experienced OBGYN may be comfortable turning one or both babies as needed, to accommodate a head-first vaginal delivery. That being said, if there is any sign of distress, the doctor may elect to perform a section delivery for one or both babies.

One Labour, Two Deliveries

In general, with twins, you (or your partner, if you are the non-carrying parent-to-be!) will have one labour, and two deliveries, probably in short succession (once twin A is born, the stage is already set for Twin B, who will follow shortly thereafter ).

One of Each?

Even with both babies head-down at or beyond 30 weeks pregnant with twins, there is some possibility that one or both babies will turn or move again before or even during labour — even though space is getting kind of tight in there! So even if your twins appear to be head down at this point, don’t be surprised if you end up with a section after all. (Although, as previously mentioned, breech presentation doesn’t necessarily mean a section delivery — many doctors are now very comfortable reaching in and turning babies as needed, so that you can still have a vaginal delivery.)

And yes, you may deliver one baby vaginally, and the other by section.

twinbabies.jpgDo Your Homework

Taking a multiples-specific prenatal class is an excellent way to begin preparing for the “big day”. Reading a good book or checking out a quality website that deals specifically with twins can offer additional information.

Two sites we like are: What to Expect and Baby Centre UK.

The first reviews stages of labour, and gives some different possible scenarios for twins deliveries. I like the second one because it is written in a very accessible Q and A format.

Once you’ve taken a prenatal course and done your reading, you can prepare a list of specific questions for your OBGYN. Coming prepared with intelligent questions that show you’ve done your homework can help the doctor take your questions more seriously, and respond more specifically in language you can understand.

Ask Other Parents of Twins

If you haven’t already done so, attend a meeting of your local twins club. It can be very helpful to chat with other parents who have recently (in the past two years) been through labour and delivery of twins.

People love to share their stories, and in person, you can ask many questions.

I would even go so far as to suggest stopping people in the mall, on the street or wherever you see the tell-tale sign of a twin stroller, to chat. Although we POMs sometimes dislike being irritated by nosy strangers, if you are pregnant with twins, you have instant access to our sympathy and our endless advice!

ImageFocus On The Things Over Which You Have Control

When thinking about labour and delivery with twins, it can be quite overwhelming to consider all the possibilities. For all the build-up throughout your twins pregnancy, the actual labour and delivery of your babies is only one small event in their  (and your) lives, and the truth is that it tends to be an event you have very little control over.

You are already taking good care of your babies by thinking about all this, by reading up on how to have a healthy twins pregnancy, by taking a prenatal course. And you’ve probably made all kinds of decisions during your pregnancy that are positively affecting your babies.

Once your twins are born, and you bring them home, you will have a lifetime to take care of them. So yes, the birth is important, but it is only one thing. Kind of like a wedding day in the life of a full marriage!

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