Congratulations on finding out you’re expecting twins; we bet you can’t wait! We also imagine that you have lots of questions that need answering. This article is – c-section with twins: what to expect.
Some expecting parents may have done lots of research about different birthing methods. Others may prefer to wait until closer to the due date. It’s completely up to you how much you look into birthing methods. You will likely find out you’re having twins at your 12-week scan. Before this, your HCG levels will be tested. HCG levels with twins are typically higher than in a single pregnancy range.
This article includes:
- What is a c-section?
- What are the chances of a c-section with twins?
- How long does a twin c-section take?
- Planned c-section with twins: How many weeks?
- Why have a c-section with twins?
- C-section with twins recovery
- C-section with twins: What to expect after
What is a c-section?
A c-section is a shortening of the word cesarean section. It involves a cut being made across the stomach so a baby can be born. In your case, it’ll be two babies being born!
A c-section cut is typically around 10cm – 20cm long and is usually done horizontally. There are a few instances where the cut is made vertically.
C-sections can be planned, or they may be done in an emergency. It all depends on your pregnancy and keeping you and your babies safe.
During the c-section procedure, you won’t be able to see what’s going on. Some women report feelings of tugging, but they are not in pain. When your babies are delivered, they may be held up for you to see.
Having a c-section means you won’t need to wait until you are fully dilated like you would with a vaginal delivery of twins.
What are the chances of a c-section with twins?
When delivering babies, the most important thing is to keep you and them safe. Therefore, you may be offered a planned c-section. C-sections are used in around 60% of twin births. This is because sometimes a vaginal delivery is not the most appropriate option.
Before any surgery, you’ll be informed of any c-section risks or complications that can occur. C-sections are safe and are more common than you may think.
There are various types of twins that you may have, and these include: di di twins, monochorionic monoamniotic twins, and monochorionic diamniotic twins. Some of these twins are identical, and some are non-identical (fraternal twins). Some twins are referred to as mirror twins, though there is no test to confirm this.
How long does a twin c-section take?
Depending on your circumstances, you may be in the hospital for a while before the delivery takes place. You may also have to stay for a while afterwards. The doctors and healthcare professionals will inform you of this.
A c-section with twins typically takes no longer than delivering just one baby. You may be in the operating room or prepping for delivery for a few hours. However, a twin delivery will likely take no longer than 10 minutes!
In some instances, you may be unable to hold your babies immediately after birth. The medical team will advise you on what’s best and do all they can to keep your babies safe.
Planned c-section with twins: How many weeks?
A planned c-section with twins will typically be scheduled when you are between 37 and 40 weeks. Despite this plan, there are reasons why your twin babies may need to be delivered sooner than this.
One example is Twin to Twin Transfusion syndrome. This occurs when identical twins do not share nutrients equally from the shared placenta. The placenta is responsible for delivering essential nutrients during pregnancy. If one baby is taking more than the other, this baby can become much stronger.
This syndrome can be diagnosed reasonably early on in pregnancy and must be monitored closely. Regular growth scans can give your doctor and midwives a better idea of your circumstances. They may recommend changes to your birth plan based on the syndrome.
Why have a c-section with twins?
Sometimes, a c-section with twins is the most appropriate labor option. Just because you plan a vaginal delivery does not mean it will actually happen. Professionals will give you the best advice on labor.
There are some reasons why women are advised to have a c-section with twins. This is because a twin birth can be high risk. These include:
- Shared placenta
- One/first baby is not in the ideal position (breech, transverse position)
- Low-lying placenta
- Previous birthing history
A baby in a head-down position is ideal for a vaginal birth. However, even if you can have a vaginal birth with the first baby, sometimes it’s not possible with the second twin. So you may need to have an emergency c-section with the second baby.
Women who give birth vaginally may be asked to have a clip attached to the first baby’s head. These are used to measure babies heartbeats and are a method of being monitored internally.
C-section with twins recovery
A c-section is a major surgery, so you will need to give yourself time to recover afterwards. You aren’t allowed to do some things after a c-section, such as driving. Find out why can’t I drive after giving birth.
A c-section with twins recovery requires a lot of resting, drinking plenty of fluids and eating a balanced diet. Additionally, you should avoid lifting anything heavier than your baby.
Immediately after having a c-section with twins, some women report finding it difficult to walk. This is because of the anaesthetic used while you give birth. This will wear off.
If you remain in hospital for a few days after birth, take advantage of the support available. Becoming a new parent is a huge thing, and it can often feel overwhelming.
Some women can feel a little low after birth or may feel disheartened about things such as breastfeeding. The professionals are there to help you and make you feel comfortable. Make sure you ask for advice if you need it, regardless of whether it’s your first baby or second child!
C-section with twins: What to expect after
Take time to think about what’s happened
Pregnancy can often feel like a long time, but when you look back, it feels like it was over in a flash! When you first discovered that you were pregnant, a c-section with twins would have likely been a distant thought.
Your body goes through some amazing changes to keep your babies safe for nine months. So with that in mind, it’s important to sit back and think about it.
Dealing with changes and medication
After a c-section, your body will be different but even more incredible! Some women can experience side effects from medication or may have the shakes. There are a few reasons why this can happen.
C-section scars can hurt sometimes, and no one expects you to deal with it alone! If you are struggling, ask for some pain relief. Depending on your pain, they may conduct tests to check everything is doing fine. Like all cuts, they can get infected, but medication will usually sort them out.
Learning to feed
Whichever method of feeding you choose, it’s important that you feel comfortable with it. Some women want to try breastfeeding first and may need support learning how to pump. It’s a good idea to get this advice during your hospital stay. However, you shouldn’t worry if you need support afterwards.
You will need to rest for at least the first six weeks after a c-section. When you feel ready, you may want to start doing some light exercise, such as walking. These can be slow walks and even just around the garden or house if that’s all you feel you can do.
Don’t push yourself too far, and make sure that you follow the guidance from your doctor and midwife. They will monitor your recovery and give you advice.
Caring for your scar
You will be told how to care for your c-section scar before you leave the hospital. You’ll usually be advised to:
- Clean the scar area every day, making sure to dry it afterwards
- Use pain relief if you need to; you don’t need to suffer (check the labels first)!
- Only wear comfortable clothing that’s not too tight
Before taking any medication, check that it is suitable for you, for example, if you are breastfeeding.
Caring for your c-section scar is very important. It can take time to heal, but you will usually have regular check-ups. This means your doctor can confidently tell you when it’s a good time to start doing certain activities again.
Forget the movies
Like most things depicted in the movies, they aren’t realistic! Pregnancy and giving birth are no different. Don’t be expecting to do everything you could do before you were pregnant straight after having a multiple birth. There are many people around to give you advice and lots of books or blogs to read on birth.
Having a c-section with twins may be the safest option for you and your babies. However, you can always ask for further guidance if you feel unsure. We hope this blog has been useful and wish you all the best with your labor and new twins!
Hey there, I’m Abigail!
I recently graduated with a degree in Marketing. I’m currently a freelance blogger and Marketing Assistant. I love learning new things and hope that you find my blogs useful and informative.
See you in the next article!