Labor and delivery when you're having twins.
Going through the process of labor and delivery of your twins is easier when you feel you are at least somewhat prepared for the big event. Taking childbirth classes can provide you with valuable support and information to give you the knowledge and confidence you'll need - especially if you have never given birth before.
Having your partner share in the information with you will help both of you get through it ( guys like information and knowing what to expect !) Have him carry a cell phone with a secret code or a pager to make sure he is with you for the big event. Remember with twins, they don't always come when you are expecting them to and more often than not, they'll be arriving early!
Watch this beautiful video about twin pregnancy and labor and delivery with twins.
Some of the signs and stages of labor to watch for and understand
If you feel the babies have 'dropped' somewhat and you are able to breathe a little easier - this is what is referred to as lightening. This pressure is what starts the cervix to open.
Another sign of impending delivery is the 'bloody show', where the mucous plug that has been sealing your cervix shut for so many months, finally lets go . Yes , it's as gross looking as it sounds - but hey - this means that your cervix is starting to dilate !
Your water breaking is a big one - we all hear about it happening in strange places like taxi's and restaurants. Chances are it won't be quite that dramatic but you never know. If this does happen , especially if you are weeks before you should deliver, call your OB immediately. This is called rupture of the membranes and sometimes the doctors will do it for you with a large hook in the hospital to move things along - more so with a singleton pregnancy.
Contractions You've probably experienced contractions on and off throughout your pregnancy. These are called Braxton-Hicks and they are normal - your body's way of practicing for the real labor and delivery of your babies. They are NOT regular, they usually happen if you are slightly tired or dehydrated and generally are just in front of your belly. They should go away with rest and fluids.
Pain relief options
I think it's wise to educate yourself on the various methods of pain relief BEFORE you're actually in labor! Here's a quick rundown of some of the usual options. Everyone is different in how they react to the various drugs and how aware they want to be during labor and delivery.
Demoral this is a narcotic and it is given through the IV or by a needle. It tends to make you very drowsy and take the edge of- some women say it makes them feel nauseous.
Epidural Block This is very common now for pain management - a small tube is inserted by needle into the lumbar space below the spinal cord. ( My hubby said watching this was far worse than watching labor!)The amount of medication is easily controlled and is commonly used for cesarean section deliveries , allowing the mother to remain awake and alert.
General Anesthesia this knocks you out completely and is usually only used for emergency deliveries.
From what I've read, about half of all twin pregnancies are delivered vaginally and half by c-section. You may have your heart set on a natural vaginal delivery but sometimes those babies have other ideas. You may wish to have a birth plan written out for labor and delivery of your twins. Depending on their positioning especially for the baby closest to your cervix - that baby needs to be HEAD DOWN ( called the vertex position.) If that baby is breech ( feet or bum first) then you will likely be scheduled for a c-section.
If the first twin is able to be born vaginally, it frees up more room for the second baby who may also be able to be born this way. The doctor may try to turn the baby from the outside called external version- OR , like in my case, just reach up and grab the feet of the second one and pull her out ! ( I always said it was the worst pregnancy but the best delivery ! 5 minutes - the bigger one came out head first and baby #2 was pulled out right after. Now sometimes, the second baby may need to be delivered by c-section so you really do need to be mentally prepared for that to happen - just in case.
Possible situations where a Cesearean section is necessary for safe labor and delivery
More on Labor and Delivery with Twins
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