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So you are carrying twins! You may be excited and nervous at the same time. And, 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 Does Twin Delivery Usually Happen
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 into the world? 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 the 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 the 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 the case of monochorionic twins, your doctor may advise you to go for c-section if there are any complications. The possibilities of having a normal delivery may 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 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 well in advance with your doctor. The doctor would explain the process of twin birth and also give you insights into the birthing options you are most likely to be given at the time of delivery.
Let’s take a look at these options.
1. Vaginal Birth
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 the breech position, your doctor may either turn the baby externally or internally.
You may be recommended caesarean delivery if your first baby is in a breech position, if the twins are in a transverse position, or if there are some complications. 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 itself. The c-section of twins is the same as the 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% cases.
Many mothers-to-be want to avoid caesarean delivery. If you have been looking for ways to avoid it, you may want to read on before you speak to your doctor.
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 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?
Recovery from twin 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 delivery. Your back, knees and hips may feel achy for a while as they have borne so much of weight in the last trimester. 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 pregnancy fat much faster compared to the mothers delivering single babies.
Twin delivery may not be as easy as a normal delivery. You will have to keep in mind that there are risks involved. Your babies may have to spend a few days in the neonatal unit or be under special care for a while. 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 the pros and cons of both with your doctor.