The labor and delivery of your twin babies can be a daunting thought.
Antenatal or Lamaze classes are a great way to be prepared for birthing twins, there are classes that specialise in multiple births.
Listening to your body is important as a twin pregnancy averages at 36 weeks, one reason a twin pregnancy is classed high risk.
Every birth is different whether you are having twins or just one baby. Though a cesarean section (c-section) is more common with multiple pregnancies, many women expecting twins have a perfectly natural birth.
If you are writing a birth plan, it’s a great idea to plan for both as anything can happen with your twin labor and delivery.
The location for the delivery of your twins is most likely to be in hospital, this is due to complications that can arise. Some women when all is favorable have been known to have a planned home birth for their twin babies.
Cesarean section verses a vaginal birth really depends on the presentation of your babies, any complications during pregnancy and/or labor, like high blood pressure. Averagely 50% of multiples are born naturally (vaginal birth) and the other 50% via c-section.
If your twin babies are positioned beautifully with both heads down (known as the vertex position), there is every reason a natural birth is possible. When the leading twin is head down and the other is breech (feet first) or transverse (sideways) a natural birth can be possible. A your doctor can turn the second baby by pushing on your uterus, though this can be difficult a cesarean section may need to proceed.
Twins are recommended to be delivered by the 38th week, if the pregnancy goes much further the placenta may start to diminish with terrible outcomes. Usually an induction or c-section will be scheduled.
It is important to always talk with your physician with any questions and concerns you may have.
Labor and Delivery – Stage 1
The first stage of labor is when your contractions start and is the longest stage in giving birth. These are working to soften then open your cervix (dilating) this may last for hour’s or even days, especially if this is your first pregnancy. The first thing to remember is not to panic when things start to happen and to contact your doctor or midwife.
First stage of labor has three phases these include Early Labor, Active Labor and the Transition Phase.
Early Labor – where the
cervix gradually thins out and starts to dilate (begins to open). Often
this will start with a bloody show and period like pains as your cervix
starts to stretch. This stage can be painful but if you are able to talk
through your contraction then you are still in early labor.
A warm bath can ease the pain also a massage from your birthing
partner can be of great help. When contracting try leaning on a wall
with your forearms, positioning your feet apart then rock your hips side
to side, don’t forget to breathe. This will ease the pain and make
those contractions work at their very best to thin and open your cervix.
Active Labor – This is when the contractions become stronger, lasting longer and happening more frequently. Contractions will go from about 10 minutes apart lasting 30 – 40 seconds then to every five minutes lasting about 1 minute sometimes progressing to 2 – 3 minutes apart. Contracting will continue until you are dilated to 10cm. During this stage your cervix will be dilating more quickly and you will not be able to talk at all during each contraction.
How to Cope:
If you feel the need for pain relief don’t be afraid to ask for it. Many women feel like they have failed if medication has been taken, especially if they had planned not too. It is tough delivering your baby twins, maybe even the hardest thing you will ever do, but absolutely one of the most important and special moments a mother can have, meeting her twin babies.
The Transition Phase – Your labor contractions will be extremely intense at this stage, thankfully it’s also the shortest part lasting anywhere from ½ hr – 2 hours. Your cervix is nearly there with about 3 centimeters left before you reach 10cm, your goal. Twin A will be descending into the birth canal and getting ready to be born. Try to stay focused, calm and don’t forget to breath. Your babies are on their way and are nearly ready to come into the world.
Labor and Delivery – Stage 2
Stage two is the delivery of your twins, delivering two babies is much the same as with one, the difference being pushing two babies out.
As your uterus contracts your baby moves down the birth canal this is a great time to push. To push with every contraction will help move those babies down; if you have had an epidural labor will last longer as you are unable to feel anything making it harder to push. Find a comfortable position for you to bare down. During this stage the contractions could seem more bearable, try to focus on pushing during each contraction.
It is important to listen to your physician when pushing, they will let you know when to stop or start pushing and how hard, this could help with possible tearing.
Once baby twin A has been delivered routine checks will be done and you will be getting ready for baby twin B. The amount of time between the deliveries of your twins varies women to women.
Labor and Delivery – Stage 3
The final stage is delivering your placenta(s). You will notice a few contractions, usually nothing compared to the hard labor ones. This is when the placenta(s) are dethatching form the wall of your uterus. I few little pushes and the placenta(s) is delivered.
Remember the labor and delivery of your twins is an experience like no other, everyone is different.
It is always important to contact your physician with any concerns and questions you may have.