Some things to consider

When carrying multiples, birthing the babies earlier than 40 weeks is very common. The average gestation for twins at birth is 36 or 37 weeks. For triplets it’s 32 weeks and for quadruplets it’s 30 weeks.

Women carrying multiples have a higher risk of developing the following during pregnancy;

  • Preeclampsia - high blood pressure.
  • Gestational Diabetes - high blood sugar levels.
  • Placenta praevia - a condition where the position of the placenta is at the bottom of the uterus, blocking the birth canal as it’s over the cervix. This can interrupt the want to birth vaginally. Women can be diagnosed with a placenta praevia early in the pregnancy, which can resolve itself. Other women however will experience a major placenta praevia which is a condition preventing women from birthing vaginally.
  • Placental abruption - a condition where the placenta detaches from the uterus wall before delivery.) This can decrease or block the baby’s access to oxygen and nutrients. It can also cause heavy bleeding in the mother.
  • Hyperemesis gravidarum - chronic nausea and/or vomiting during pregnancy. Some women who suffer HG may require hospitalisation for rehydration through IV fluid, where a IV cannula is inserted.

There is a higher chance (pending various circumstances) that a caesarean may be recommended by your care provider as the preferred method for birthing your baby. While caesareans are almost always the method of delivery for women carrying more than two babies, as your pregnancy progresses your obstetrician or midwife will have ongoing discussions with you regarding the recommended method for birth.

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How Your Birth Might Be Different

  • Given the increased risks involved in delivering multiples, it’s almost certain that more people will be present during the birth compared to if you were birthing one baby. Likely to be in the room will be a collection of midwives, an obstetrician and a paediatrician.

  • A caesarean is often advised and actioned, especially in the case that there are more than two babies (this is not to say a vaginal delivery is off the table!).

  • Multiples often require additional care after they’re born. They may be taken into the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) for extra support. This is almost always the case for triplets and quadruplets as the babies are smaller, due to their early delivery.

  • If you’re planning a home birth, unfortunately this is highly unadvised due to the greater risks involved. Being in very close proximity to medical staff and medical equipment should be prioritised.

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