Giving birth to twins is often cause for more anxiousness compared to the birth of a singleton. However, Danish midwife Ditte Toft Heskjær has reassuring news for women pregnant with twins.
“There’s no need to be scared of giving birth to twins due to the fact that there are two babies to deliver,” Ditte Toft Heskjær says.
“The work with the contractions up until a woman’s uterus is 10 centimeter dilated is the same as for the birth of a singleton. The same goes for giving birth to the firstborn twin,” she says.
Ditte Toft Heskjær is employed in a Danish hospital team that specializes in twin births and birth anxiety.
Twins are born faster
A woman giving birth to twins will be monitored a bit more when her cervix is fully dilated. She’ll also get a drip to stimulate the contractions. This enables the other twin to be born in close proximity of the first twin – often within 15-20 minutes. However, there’s no upper limit to when the second twin should be born. Ditte Toft Heskjær points to the fact that twins are also often born a bit faster, because the active stage of labour – when the woman’s cervix dilates – takes less time. This is due to the fact that the babies generally are a bit smaller than singletons and because the woman’s body are under more pressure.
“However, giving birth to twins is not more painful than giving birth to one baby,” Ditte Toft Heskjær says.
Below she offers her advice on how to prepare for a twin birth.
Participate in a birth class
It’s a good idea to participate in a birthing class, so you have an idea about how a birth progresses and how to deal with the pain associated with it. Some women are fine with not seeking information and are comfortable taking it as it comes, but many will feel more confident if they prepare. Knowing how to respond, when the contractions become painful, is beneficial for many. Read about the phases of labour.
Align and manage expectations
Talk to your partner and the hospital staff about your expectations regarding giving birth to twins. Decide what role your partner will have in the delivery room – this is important for your partner to know as well. Will your partner for instance take care of your firstborn or support you, when you are giving birth to your second twin?
You also need to accept, that even though you may have a strong desire to deliver your children vaginally, it may be necessary to conduct a c-section. Read more about c-section and twins.
Sort out the practical stuff
For many soon-to-be parents, it becomes crucial to get all the practical stuff sorted out. When you found out, that you’re pregnant with twins, you may have realized that your house, flat or car is too small. Discuss how you will resolve these challenges. Find out if there are remedies you need specifically designed for twins. You can for instance get a nursing pillow with good support, so it’s easier for your babies to latch on.