Jacki Pautz, Senior Registered Nurse, NICU at Mediclinic City Hospital addresses the most common issues facing parents expecting twins.
Are twin pregnancies considered high risk?
Yes. There is a higher rate of complications with twin pregnancies than singleton pregnancies and the pregnancy is also not likely to carry to full term.
Is it possible to have a natural, unmedicated birth with twins?
Yes, however an epidural is more strongly encouraged in case it becomes necessary to deliver one or both of your babies by caesarean section.
Do all expectant mothers of twins require bed rest during their pregnancy?
No. Some expectant mothers are able to carry their twins to ‘term’, considered 37 completed weeks for a twin pregnancy, with no need for bed rest.
Are all twins admitted to intensive care once they are born?
No. It depends on the babies’ gestational age at birth, their birth weight as well as their condition at birth.
Is it unusual for twins to be born prematurely?
No. A twin pregnancy is considered full term at 37 completed weeks of gestation, three weeks less than a singleton pregnancy. By this time the babies are fully matured and developed. Many women will struggle to reach this 37 week mark with a twin pregnancy. Babies born at 32-34 weeks gestation have an excellent chance of survival, but may spend some time in NICU. Babies born at a gestational age of less than 28 weeks may have long term complications such as cerebral palsy, vision problems and breathing problems.
What does it mean for their health long term?
The mere fact that the babies are twins does not predispose them to more health risks than other babies. However, the gestational age at which they are delivered as well as any other complicating factors during pregnancy or at the time of delivery will determine any long term health problems the babies may experience.
In terms of sleep, should newborn twins sleep together or separately?
Newborn twins should sleep separately and in their own beds or cots. They should also be positioned on their backs. The reason for this is to reduce the risk of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS) or Cot Death. During the day, while somebody is able to watch over them, they can be placed in the same cot for short periods of time for bonding.
What are the most common issues facing parents of newborn twins?
Sleep deprivation, financial issues, personal time, leaving enough time for the marriage, double the equipment and double the supplies
What advice can you give parents of premature twins?
• Keep your babies in a regular feeding routine. This will have started in the NICU, so continue it at home
• Skin-to-skin contact or kangaroo care will help your babies to gain weight and help with feed regulation. It can be started in the NICU and should be continued at home. It is an excellent way for mum and dad to have individual bonding time with each baby.
• Do not overheat the room that the babies will sleep in. 22-24 degrees is recommended.
• Dress babies warmly, bodyvest with long sleeve onesie, and cover with light blankets.
• Accept help when it is offere
For further information visit www.mediclinic.ae.