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?