When looking ahead to your twins’ birth, you’ll start to wonder how exactly they will arrive. The vast majority of twins arrive via Cesarean section. However, a natural birth of twins is still possible. There is a handful of factors that will determine your twins’ birth experience.
According to Dr. Luke’s When Your Expecting Twins, Triplets, or Quads, “about 28 percent of twin pregnancies end in a vaginal delivery.” So if you are hoping for a natural birth with your twins, all hope is not lost.
Preparation During the Pregnancy
You should discuss your wishes with your doctor so all arrangements can be made and expectations properly set. Even if you want to have a natural birth of twins, please learn about twin C-sections so you can be prepared if that is how you babies need to be delivered.
How Are Your Twins Positioned?
The most important factor in determining if you can have a natural, vaginal delivery of twins is how the babies are positioned inside Mom prior to birth.
Just like singleton babies, the twin closest to the cervix will need to be head down to be born naturally.
If your baby is breech (feet or rump down) or transverse (laying sideways), your c-section is all but certain unless the baby can be maneuvered into the right position.
Twin Delivery Contingencies
Even if you are attempting a natural birth of twins, your doctor and medical staff will monitor your babies very closely during labor. Mom will also likely be prepared for surgery just in case there are complications and an emergency C-section is required.
Occasionally, Baby A will be born vaginally but Baby B gets stressed or is stuck and has to be delivered via C-section. This is often called a “double whammy” because Mom has to go through the physical, mental, and emotional challenges of both a natural birth the major abdominal surgery of a C-section.
If all goes smoothly with the natural delivery, expect Baby B to arrive anywhere from a few minutes to half an hour or more after the first twin.
So if you are planning for a natural birth of twins, pay attention to your twins positions during your ultrasounds and discuss frankly with your doctor the possibilities for your babies’ arrival.
(RELATED: Don't reinvent the twin parenting wheel. Get my 7 Things Every Dad of Twins Needs to Know.)
Picture by Brian McGuirk