CHAMPION STRATEGIES – PUBLIC Speaking Workshop – June 23, 2021 – PT.1
Twins are more likely to be born early, often before 38 weeks, so it’s important to understand your birth options. Less than half of all twin pregnancies last beyond 37 weeks.
Because of the likelihood that your babies will be born early, there is a good chance one or both of them will spend some time in special care.
As twins are often born prematurely, it’s a good idea to discuss birth options with your midwife or doctor early in your pregnancy.
You should also discuss where you would like to give birth. You will most likely be advised to give birth in a hospital because there’s a higher chance of complications with a twin birth.
It’s common for more medical staff to be involved in the birth of twins, such as a midwife, an obstetrician and two paediatricians – one for each baby.
While the process of labour is the same as when single babies are born, twin babies are more closely monitored. To do this, an electronic monitor and a scalp clip might be fitted on the first baby once your waters have broken. You will be given a drip in case it is needed later.
About one third of all twins are born vaginally and the process is similar to that of giving birth to a single baby. If you’re planning a vaginal delivery, it’s usually recommended that you have an epidural for pain relief. This is because, if there are problems, it’s easier and quicker to assist the delivery when the mother already has good pain relief.
If the first twin is in a head down position (cephalic), it’s usual to consider having a vaginal birth. However, there may be other medical reasons why this would not be possible. If you have had a previous caesarean section, it’s usually not recommended you have a vaginal birth with twins.
If you have a vaginal birth, you may need an assisted birth, which is when a suction cup (ventouse) or forceps are used to help deliver the babies.
Once the first baby is born, the midwife or doctor will check the position of the second baby by feeling your abdomen and doing a vaginal examination. If the second baby is in a good position, the waters will be broken and this baby should be born soon after the first as the cervix is already fully dilated. If contractions stop after the first birth, hormones will be added to the drip to restart them.
You may choose to have an elective caesarean from the outset of your pregnancy, or your doctor may recommend a caesarean section later in the pregnancy as a result of potential complications. You’re nearly twice as likely to have a caesarean if you’re giving birth to twins than if you’re giving birth to a single baby.
The babies’ position may determine whether they need to be delivered by caesarean section or not. If the presenting baby – the one that will be born first – is in a breech position (feet, knees or buttocks first), or if one twin is lying in a transverse position (with its body lying sideways), you will need to have a caesarean section.
Some conditions also mean you will need a caesarean section; for example if you have placenta praevia (a low-lying placenta) or if your twins share a placenta.
If you have previously had a very difficult delivery with a single baby, you may be advised to have a caesarean section with twins. Even if you plan a vaginal birth, you may end up having an emergency caesarean section.