You are certainly curious about what to expect for a twin pregnancy labor and delivery. Especially if this is a first pregnancy. Being well informed about twin birth will surely help to calm any fears or doubts you may have. Even though twin pregnancies are considered high risk, there is an overwhelming percentage of normal, healthy births of twins these days. Depending on how your
goes will determine many aspects of labor and delivery. Because there is much to consider, we will cover the essential things you should know about birthing twins.
Keep in mind that your twin labor and delivery will be unique, extraordinary, and special. You should always talk to your physician or midwife about any questions and concerns that you have. Perhaps you want to make a
twin birth plan
ahead of time as well. And don't forget to get your hands on a good
twin pregnancy book!
First, let's talk about location. Where you will actually undergo labor and delivery with twins depends largely on your doctor and/or hospital's protocol. Because of complications that may arise (more so than a singleton delivery) you will most likely find yourself in an operating room, regardless if you have a vaginal birth. Even if your particular hospital offers "family birthing rooms", the growing standard for twins is a delivery in the OR.
It will be highly technical, with lots of bright lights, machines, and medical staff. But, try not to let this overwhelm you. Just consider all of the special care and attention you will be receiving to ensure that your twin birth goes favorably.
Be sure to discuss your birthing options with your doctor. There are many women who have had successful, natural, unmedicated twin births in a hospital setting.
A home birth for your twins may be another possibility. The health of the mother, position of the babies, and the expertise of the midwife or other practitioner, will better determine if this is suitable for your twin delivery.
Find out more on choosing a doctor or a midwife.
What To Pack For A Hospital Delivery
If you know you will deliver your twins in a hospital you will need to bring some necessities for your stay. It is a smart idea to have a bag packed well in advance (around your 28th week is a good guideline). You might go into labor unexpectedly early with twins, so better to be prepared.
Below is a sample list of items to consider:
Toothbrush & toothpaste
Shampoo and face/body soap
Razor (if your feeling hopeful!)
Basic make-up items
2 or 3 nightgowns or nursing gowns (you will not likely be able to wear pants for a day or two)
A robe! You will definitely need this for going back and forth to the NICU
Pair of slippers
A couple pairs of socks
A nursing bra (if you are going to nurse)
2 - 4 "comfortable" pairs of underwear
Maxi-pads of your choice (for when you graduate from the hospital's gigantic pads)
An outfit to wear home (think sweats)
Outfits for your new babies to go home in along with blankets
Consider bringing a folder or other case for all of the paperwork you will receive in the hospital
The hospital will provide many of these items for you, so don't worry if you forget something. Most women like to bring their own familiar belongings and toiletries as they are usually of better quality than what the hospital offers. It is best to use mild products for washing and moisturizing, so keep in mind when packing. And don't forget to have the infant car seats ready to go as well!
Vaginal Birth vs. Cesarean Section
What about vaginal birth vs. cesarean section with twins? Many physicians recommend delivery of twins by 38 weeks. And in fact, many women carrying twins do go into labor naturally during this time. However, when a twin pregnancy goes too long there is a possibility of depletion of the placenta which may lead to devastating consequences. Because of the significant load that is put on the placenta during a twin pregnancy your physician may want to induce labor or plan a cesarean twin delivery.
If the mother is in good health and the babies are
, a vaginal birth of twins usually goes fine. If you have high blood pressure or other complications, and especially if the babies are not positioned well, you will likely need to deliver your twins via a c-section to ensure a healthy outcome...For mother and babies!
Please take a moment to watch this inspiring video about natural twin pregnancy labor and delivery
Medications and Epidurals
We will now cover medications and epidurals during your twin pregnancy labor and delivery. If you have a strong inclination to go natural (no medications or epidural for vaginal birth), just be prepared. An un-medicated, natural birth of twins is not unheard of, yet you should remain flexible. Even if your pregnancy has gone smoothly and the babies are in the perfect position for delivery, complications may still crop up. Remember you are birthing two babies. The first twin could deliver without a hitch while the second twin has turned to an
or the placenta has started to detach prematurely. Having an epidural will make the transition from vaginal delivery to emergency c-section much less difficult, but again, is something you should thoroughly discuss with your healthcare provider.
is common with twin pregnancies. Preterm labor happens when you have regular contractions and effacement of your cervix before your 37th week of pregnancy. There may be several reasons for labor to start early besides just carrying twins. However, this will likely be the biggest worry during an otherwise healthy twin pregnancy and it should be discussed thoroughly with your doctor or midwife. You need to be well informed on the signs and symptoms of preterm labor, as they can vary greatly. Preterm labor, left untreated, may lead to serious complications with