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So you are carrying twins! You may be excited and nervous at the same time. You may be wondering what to expect from a twin pregnancy and labour. Well! Worry no more; in the following article, we shall make endeavours to give you information about all that you need to know as a twin-mommy-to-be.
When Do Twins Usually Come?
One of the many questions that may be popping up in your mind if you are carrying twins is, when should you be expecting your babies to come? Well! It mostly depends on how your pregnancy progresses and on your health condition. If you have no health concerns and there are no complications involved, you may expect to deliver your twin babies any time after 37 to 38 weeks of pregnancy. The risk of stillbirth may increase if the babies are born later than 38 weeks, as the placenta in twin pregnancy may not support the babies later than that. You may have induced labour or a caesarean section for the delivery of your twins. Your doctor will help you decide what the best-suited delivery option for you is.
Do You Need to Have C- Section If You Are Carrying Twins?
If you are carrying twins, you are more likely to have a c-section as compared to a mother who is carrying a single child. But it is not necessary that you will have a c-section if you are carrying twins. However, your doctor may advise you for twin caesarean birth, under following circumstances:
- If your placenta is covering the opening of the cervix or your placenta is praevia.
- If you have had caesarean delivery before
- If your babies are smaller (closer to the date of delivery)
You may have to undergo an emergency c-section, if you are in labour, under following circumstances:
- If you have high blood pressure or preeclampsia
- If your labour gets complicated
- If one or both the babies become distressed during the labour
- If the umbilical cord falls into the birth canal
- If your labour is not progressing or is slow
In case of monochorionic twins, your doctor may advise you to go for c-section, if there are any complications. Your chances of having a normal delivery increase if one of your twins is in a head down position. Your doctor may talk to you about your chances of having a normal delivery in case there are no complications involved.
Do You Need to Go Through Labour Twice for Twin Baby Birth?
No, you will not be going through labour twice. Twin birth or giving birth to twin babies is similar to giving birth to a single baby. The only difference is that in twin delivery you will be pushing out two babies out. But the first stage labour or dilation of your cervix will happen only once.
Your doctor may have extra help to assist your delivery as most twin deliveries are associated with high risks. Even in case of normal or vaginal delivery, medical intervention may be required.
What Happens During a Twin Birth?
Twin babies are born pre-term or prematurely. In most cases, you may go into labour before 38 weeks of your pregnancy. Therefore you may discuss your delivery options with your doctor. Your doctor may explain to you in detail about how to give birth to twins and also suggest you your birthing options that are whether to go in for normal birth or c-section:
In case of a vaginal birth with twins, you will be experiencing first stage labour only once. As your cervix opens up, you will have second stage labour with each baby having its pushing stage. Though you will be pushing twice the second baby comes easily. The second baby is born soon after (17 minutes on an average) the first one. If the second baby is in breach position, your doctor may either turn the baby externally or internally or deliver the baby in a breach position only.
You may be recommended to for a caesarean delivery if your first baby is in a breech position, your twins are in a transverse position, or there are some complications involved. You may be advised of a date for the surgery, and in case you go into labour before that, you will undergo the caesarean delivery on that day then. The c-section of twins is same as c-section of a single baby.
In some cases of normal twin delivery, you may deliver one baby vaginally and another baby through a c-section, although this is a rare condition and happens only in 5 percent of cases.
What Can You Do to Avoid Caesarean Delivery?
Many mothers-to-be get jittery when it comes to caesarean delivery. Caesarean delivery is suggested to you in case there is some threat to you or your baby’s health. Not all twin deliveries are cesarean deliveries rather half of the twin babies are born vaginally. Therefore, there may be good chances for you to have a vaginal delivery if there are no other complications involved. You may try doing the following if you wish to avoid c-section or cesarean delivery:
- Stay Active: Staying active in pregnancy improves your chances of having a normal delivery. Though, staying active in the later months of pregnancy with twins can be quite challenging.
- Staying Healthy and Fit: It is imperative to stay healthy in your pregnancy, more so if you are carrying twins. Carrying twins does not mean that you keep on piling kilos. Maintaining a healthy lifestyle, by eating healthy food and regularly exercising will help you to have a normal delivery.
- Try Positioning Your Babies: You may try to settle your babies in a head down position towards the end of pregnancy, for standard delivery. Optimal fetal positioning helps you to position your babies. It also helps the babies to turn during labour efficiently, if the need arises, although there isn’t concrete scientific proof to support that.
- Avoiding Unplanned C-Sections: Sometimes when you are in labour, you may have to go in for emergency c-section. Support from your partner, family members and even your doctor, may reduce your chances of having an unplanned or an emergency c-section.
What About the Recovery?
The recovery from a twin pregnancy delivery, whether it’s vaginal or c-section, is more or less the same as it is from a single delivery. However, you may lose more blood during the delivery. Your back, knees and hips may feel achy for a while as they have borne so much of weight in the last trimester or towards the end of pregnancy. Your breasts and belly may take a little longer to come back to its shape. You may experience more postpartum blood or lochia compared to a woman who has given birth to a single baby. You may also have gained more weight with twin babies.
The mantra is to keep calm and be patient with your body. After about six weeks or so, your doctor may allow you to do some mild exercises. Breastfeeding is the best way to come back to shape and lose all that pregnancy fat. Breastfeeding will not only release the feel-good hormone called oxytocin in your body, but it will also help you lose the pregnancy fat much faster than the mothers with single babies.
Giving birth to twin babies is a fantastic feeling. Twin delivery may not be as easy as a normal delivery. You may have to keep in mind that there are risks involved. Your babies may have to spend few days in neonatal units or special care. However, if proper care and caution are exercised during pregnancy, there are minimal chances of complications. It is recommended to be in regular touch with your midwife or your doctor. If you are opting for normal delivery or caesarean delivery, discuss in detail about the pros and cons of both, with your doctor.