Twin Birth: Top Ten Things to Know

March 23, 2018

helpful twin birth article on twin blog

If you are pregnant with twins, you are probably both nervous and excited.  Becoming a new parent is an amazing experience, but what is it going to be like to actually have the babies?

While some people believe ignorance is bliss, many people find that informing themselves about what to expect can help quell their fears and make them feel prepared for the road ahead.  If you fall into this latter group, read on.

We've gathered some basic facts you may want to know so that you won’t be caught off guard.  File these little tidbits away, and you can be calm when the craziness gets real.

The Hollywood Birth

We’ve all seen the films.  A woman is standing in a public place, a whoosh of water comes streaming out, and about an hour later she gives birth to a perfect little person.  It rarely happens like that. 

The fact is only about 15% of women experience a membrane rupture before labor begins.  That means 85% of women will experience rupture during labor, delivery, or even pre-term.  You may even find yourself dilated and laboring on and off for days before you get to the final act.  

The bottom line is there are many different ways that your labor and delivery may go down, and it probably won’t be like what you would imagine on the silver screen (and that’s okay).   

A Little Snip, a Little Tear

This is probably one of the least favorite things to discuss, but your vagina may need a little repair work after your babies make their grand entrance.  Because it will have to stretch to accommodate your babies exiting the birth canal (presuming you deliver vaginally), there is a chance that it could tear a bit in the process. 

It used to be that doctors would preemptively make a small snip (an episiotomy) to minimize a potential tear.  These days, more doctors tend to let the vagina tear naturally and stitch it up so that it will heal more easily.  Sometimes these tears can be severe, but most times they are minor and heal up quickly.  We’re sorry you had to hear it from us.   

You’ll Probably Poop

While not painful, this one can be embarrassing.  The chances that you will defecate during your labor are pretty darn high. After all, you are pushing babies out of your body and pushing down pretty hard on that colon.  

This certainly isn’t glamorous, but to be honest, you’ll be so busy with the work of pushing babies, you probably won’t even notice it happening. Plus your birthing team is accustomed to this side effect, so don't give it a second thought if it happens to you. 

Post-Partum Poop is Serious

Speaking of poop, the struggle can be real after labor and delivery.  Especially if you have had a C-section, you will likely be on medications that can make it hard to use the bathroom.  You will probably also feel a little nervous to have anything coming out of you, so taking a poop after birth can feel a bit traumatic (especially if you have stitches down there). 

If you try to hold out on having your first bowel movement, it can make it harder to deal with.  Keep up your fluids, consider stool softeners, and relax.  Once you have that first BM, you’ll be back to your normal routine in no time.       

A Messy Few Weeks

It’s probably been great not having your period during a challenging twin pregnancy, but unfortunately you are going to feel like you have your period for the next 6 weeks. 

As your body adjusts from pregnancy to the post-partum state, it will be clearing out all of the tissue and blood of the uterus over the first few weeks after birth.  We’re sorry but you are unfortunately going to need those super unattractive mesh underoos they issued you at the hospital for at least a couple of days.  And yes, you’ll want to stock up on maxi pads thereafter. 

The good news is that once your body clears this all out, if you are nursing you probably won’t get your regular period back for a little while.  So there’s that.  But yeah, this sucks. 

Two Deliveries (Even for Single Births)

Surprised to hear that everyone has two births?  You will actually have three!  Here’s the deal.  You will deliver your babies as well as the “after birth.”  The placenta will come out with a gush of blood from a few minutes to a half an hour after the babies arrive (for a vaginal birth).  Your birthing team will check to make sure it is intact and that nothing has been left in the uterus.  Experiences of pain for the placenta delivery can vary, but just be aware that you aren’t done quite yet when the babies come.   

Twin Birth Audience

Because twin births are considered a bit more unusual, don’t be surprised if there are several people observing your birth, particularly at a teaching hospital.  You may want to discuss this ahead of time with your provider so that you will know what to expect.  No matter how many people are there, you probably won’t pay much attention because you will be busy with the business of giving birth. 

You’ll Still Look Pregnant

You’ve pushed out your baby cantaloupes, but why do you still look like there is a watermelon in your belly?  The truth is, it will take some time for your body to adjust from pregnancy to the post-partum stage.  You are probably swollen, full of fluids, and your uterus is still enlarged.  It will take some time for everything to shrink back to normal.  Be patient and don’t expect to leave the hospital with flat abs.

Milk Takes Time

While you may begin nursing your sweet twins immediately after birth, it might take a while for your milk to come in.  The first few days your body will be producing a yellowish substance called colostrum (also known as liquid gold). 

This substance is amazing for your babies, but don’t expect to see creamy white milk dribbling from their mouths for a little bit.  Your body will take a bit of time to begin the process of being a milk factory for two chubby cherubs.  Sometimes milk might not even come in for a week (and this is totally normal)!  The less you stress, the better it will go.

Hormone Roller Coaster

Giving birth is probably one of the most amazing things you will ever experience, but you may feel so confused in the process.  It is totally normal that you feel on top of the world with those feel good endorphins, and down in the dumps and totally overwhelmed.  You will feel up, down, hot, cold, angry, happy, basically all the things.  Just expect it and embrace it.  Your body is transitioning back to normal and it will probably be a wild ride.

You are not the first lady to feel like this, and you will not be the last.  Savor the good moments, remember the crazy moments, and don’t fret over the bad moments.  This will pass, and probably all too quickly.

We hope we have enlightened you on what you can expect when your twins arrive.  Breathe.  It's going to be alright.  We’d love to hear about your birth story and which of these stuck out to you the most.  Please tell us!