The thought of giving birth to just one baby is enough to make many pregnant women panic. So, knowing that you have to deliver two or more babies can be extremely daunting. Read on to find out what you can expect when you give birth to more than one baby…
If you’re pregnant with twins, get set for an early birth – most twins are born on at 37 weeks. They are also more vulnerable at birth, largely because of their prematurity and weight – typically 2.5kg, a full kilogram less than the average single baby. In addition, 40 per cent of babies from multiple births need time in special care.
However, the birth won’t be twice as long or difficult. In fact, because the babies are smaller, birth can be easier. If both twins are head down, a normal vaginal birth is usually possible and even if one twin is breech, he may be able to be turned to be born head down. Otherwise, or if the first baby is breech, a Caesarean may be needed. In fact, up to half of twin pairs are born by Caesarean section and some hospitals always prefer to deliver twins in an operating theatre.
An epidural is usually given when delivering twins, although a general anaesthetic may be needed for a Caesarean. A drip is also usually set up in case it is needed and both babies are continuously monitored to reduce the risk of birth asphyxia. After the first baby is born, the position of the second is checked and if he’s well placed for birth, the waters are broken ready for delivery. So long as the second baby is being monitored, there’s no need to hurry him out: it’s rare, but some babies have taken days to emerge!