SafeMotherhood
safe motherhood

SPECIAL CIRCUMSTANCES

TWINS AND MULTIPLE BIRTHS

Being pregnant with twins is unusual and means you are more likely to have more frequent antenatal visits as you are more likely to have some medical problems, but if you are healthy and your pregnancy is normal, you are likely to be able to give birth vaginally without medical intervention.

The first stage of labour with twins is no different from that of a woman who is expecting just one baby, although if you choose to have electronic monitoring, you will need a special twins monitor to record both babies' heartbeats. Some doctors will suggest that you have an epidural, in case the need for any procedure requiring an anaesthetic (such as turning the second twin internally) should arise.

The birth of the first baby is usually straightforward. The second can be more complicated. Because the baby can slip round into virtually any position he likes. However, he needs to be upright, either head or bottom down, in order to be born.

Many midwives would advocate you being in an upright position after the birth of your first baby in order to encourage the second to get into a head-down position, but you may find yourself asked to lie down while a doctor checks the position of the second baby and adjusts it if necessary.

The interval between the births varies, but as long as all is well with the second baby, there's no need for the delivery to be hurried.

There will be at least three midwives in the delivery room (one for you and one for each baby) and nearby, an anaesthetist in case you have to have a caesarean, a doctor and perhaps (if you agree) a couple of student doctors or midwives.

Triplets can be born vaginally, but if you're having more than two babies, the likelihood of complications needing a caesarean is higher.