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Taking Multiples Early…

mire March 31, 2012 From the Pros 3 Comments

Recently I taught a breastfeeding class at a university medical center. One of the participants was pregnant with twins. For some reason, obstetricians are very afraid to let labor and birth happen to multiples. So, she said that her doctor had set her c-section date at 38 weeks. I asked her why 38 weeks and she responded that her doc was doing the c/s to prevent overcrowding of her uterus. Overcrowding of the uterus. That’s a new diagnosis for me. I hadn’t heard that one before. I guess our bodies are just not made to handle a full term pregnancy with twins. Aside from the ridiculous and fake diagnosis that requires surgery, the doctor in question is creating problems that, if she went into natural full-term twin labor, would likely be avoided.

The problems are that one or both twins can (not always) be a wee bit smaller than singletons and sometimes need a bit of growth catch-up in the first weeks. So they need to be able to nurse well from the get-go. At 38 weeks, it’s common to see these babies function less like full-termers and more like late pre-term babies, and find suckling more of a challenge. The pediatricians are going to be hovering over them like hawks watching for weight loss or gain. If they don’t gain in the first days/weeks the way they “should,” it is highly likely that supplementation with formula will be suggested or imposed. Once supplementation has begun, unless the mother has excellent support and information about lactation, there is a downward spiral of events that leads to either overwhelm in the mother who decides it’s not worth the effort to continue breastfeeding, or her milk supply gets diminished from the over use of formula.

So, without thinking twice about the effects of surgically extracting babies early just because they are twins, this doctor has created unnecessary problems, difficulties, and hardships for a mother who already has double the work ahead of her in the best of circumstances.

Why do obstetricians do this? What are the evidence-based, scientifically researched data that support the idea that twins shouldn’t or can’t be born vaginally, or at full-term? If there is some reason they shouldn’t be born vaginally, why not wait until labor begins and then do the surgery? Why do obstetricians turn a blind eye to the effects of their actions on the baby and the family after birth?

And they have the audacity to call home birth risky?

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3 Comments

  1. Mrs. Suhas June 5, 2012 at 9:01 am

    Thank you for this. I’m expecting twins and will be giving birth to them at home. I come from a ancient line of midwives who never had a problem giving birth and breast feeding their children no matter what the so-called “risks” were. I feel deeply empathetic for those being misled by the cruel insensitive hospital system in place for births and newborn baby care and hope the awareness that our bodies know exactly how to deal with the events of natural life spreads everywhere so women can give birth and breast feed with joy and pride and freedom.

  2. Manita June 21, 2012 at 7:34 pm

    I just had identical twin boys in July! I found out when I was 8.5 weeks and it hneaeppd naturally so I never thought there was a possibility before finding out!! I was very excited and terrified because it was my first pregnancy. I tried to do a lot of research on the Internet but I don’t know that I really found a “great” website. I probably read the most on webmd and the hospital I delivered at offered a multiples class that I took around 24 weeks (wish I had taken it sooner!) the class was amazing and taught me things about twin pregnancy that is above and beyond a single pregnancy. One of the most important things I found out is that water and protein are VERY IMPORTANT in multiples pregnancies. I drank close to 120-160 ounces of water a day and tried to eat a lot of protien every chance I got! Being high risk because of two, I had ultrasounds done every two weeks to check fluid levels, blood flow, and to make sure they were “sharing”. The nurses always asked me what my secret was because of how well the boys were growing and having such great checkups. PROTEIN & WATER! My 40 week due date was 8/12/11 but I was scheduled to have a c-section at 36 weeks, July 15th. My boys shared a placenta but had their own sac which is how we know the were identical and because of the shared placenta they opted for Caesarian. My pregnancy was pretty great. I had morning sickness the entire time but took zofran once a day in the morning and that made a world of difference! Towards the end I had some swelling and side cramping, but I never had back pains or any other problems. My blood pressure went 1 week before my scheduled delivery, so they decided to send me to the hospital July 7, and I delivered at 2:34 that day! It was a great experience and the best part was feeling them both moving! Their personalities in the womb are the same as they are out and it’s so neat to see!! If you have any questions feel free to ask! Sorry about the book ….

    • Onur September 8, 2012 at 8:11 am

      I agree absolutely. That’s why I alwyas caution women to look for another provider if you and your provider are not philosophically compatible. I’ve seen too many times where a provider tentatively agreed to a birth plan, but when labor began found a multitude of reasons why the plan needed to change. The ideal situation is to find a provider whose routine practices are what you would want on your birth plan. Such things might be encouraging freedom of movement, intermittent checking of the baby’s heart rate, encouraging you to eat/drink as desired, supporting freedom of position for birth and spontaneous pushing, limited vaginal exams, and immediate and undisturbed bonding with the baby following birth. If these are your provider’s routine policies, you can feel fairly confident he or she will support your birth plan without reservations.