Most consider the only option for a twin birth to be surgery, but this was not always the case. Learn some of the common interventions surrounding twin birth, and if they are truly necessary.
By Danielle, contributing writer
Most would have you believe that you should schedule your c-section the day you find out you are expecting twins. But is that really the case, and what are your options?
Historically, a midwife would normally preside over all births, including twin birth. But when obstetrics took over, we lost the knowledge of how to safely deliver twin babies, as well as much of the natural birth wisdom. In the United States, close to 75% of twin deliveries are born by c-section. Interestingly, although it is normal practice, studies show that there is no benefit to scheduling a c-section for twin deliveries.
How to Prepare for a Natural Twin Delivery
Like any birth, a mom expecting twins wants to focus on a lot of whole foods, exercise, rest and emotional and spiritual balance before birth. There are some important differences though when it comes to twin pregnancy and birth:
- Most twins typically are born around 37 weeks, so be sure to get your supplies, home, other children, and plans together at least one month earlier than you would with a single birth.
- Your health will be of the utmost importance. Specifically, you will have a higher risk of developing precclampsia, gestational diabetes, preterm labor, low birth weight, and placental abruption. You can counter these by ensuring you get at least if not more than 8 hours of sleep a night, 2,300 calories per day of high quality, whole foods including plenty of natural fats and proteins, 10 or more cups of water per day, and lots of light exercise.
- You need a solid birth team around you this time, for sure. Find a doula who is also available for postpartum support. Get a meal plan going. Plan to have postpartum support in the form of babysitting, cleaning, and cooking for at least two weeks following delivery. You will also need a provider who is on board with a natural twin delivery, but we will cover that more in the follow section.
- Get a chiropractor. Your babies need to be in certain positions for a twin delivery to go smoothly, so don’t wait until 30 weeks to book an appointment with a chiropractor who is skilled in pregnancy, multiples, postpartum, and newborn chiropractic. Start going before 20 weeks, if you can, and definitely weekly after 28 weeks to ensure the babies are in the best possible birthing position.
- Take care of your emotional and spiritual well-being. Birth can bring a lot of emotions, especially fear. Birthing multiples can bring even more stress and fear. Negate those forces by signing yourself up for meditation classes or prenatal yoga. You can also take some time to journal or read inspirational writing or scriptures at home. Make yourself and your babies’ emotional status a priority.
How to Find a Provider who will Delivery Twins Vaginally
Obstetricians and midwives who are skilled in twin vaginal delivery do still exist. Since twin births are becoming more common, you may find an obstetrician who has delivered a number of twins vaginally. Quiz them on their number, and then ask around in natural mom groups in your area. Do not take their word for it. Some obstetricians will say they have and will deliver twins naturally but will be eager to roll you in for a c-section.
Your best bet is to find a midwife [in a hospital or at home] who has delivered numerous twins or multiples. They will be more educated on positioning and typically more eager to ensure you have the birth you want. Be sure to ask around and quiz the midwife on her twins delivery stats, as well.
Depending on the position, it will be easier or more difficult to deliver. Read up on the possible positions here, and keep talking with your chiropractor about getting your babies in the best position.
Getting the right provider is step one is creating the natural twin birth you want. It will be highly beneficial to complete your birth support team with an experienced doula and chiropractor as well.
Possible Complications During a Twin Birth
Having more than one baby simply can make things more complicated. Your body has double the work to grow two babies – so the best thing you can do for yourself is treat your body like it’s working overtime. You will absolutely need rest, quality food and water, and exercise to achieve natural birth.
Despite your best efforts, it’s possible that you may run into complications during pregnancy and birth. Multiple pregnancies are at a higher risk of these complications:
- Low Birth Weight
- Placental Abruption
- Preterm Birth
- Gestational Diabetes
- Fetal Death
You can successfully complete a twin birth naturally. Create a strong support group for yourself of friends, family, a doula, and a provider who believes you can birth these babies. Many women throughout history have delivered multiples naturally and safely, and you can too. Draw strength from the twin delivery stories below, build your team, and get [twin] birthing.
Here is a wonderful story of a natural twin birth in the hospital.
Here is a story of a natural twin birth at home.
Check out this breastfeeding twins information.
Here is a great twins resource list.
*Though this is a great start on educating yourself for a twin pregnancy and delivery, find a birth professional team that you trust, and make your own decisions for your specific birth.
Have you had a natural birth with twins?