multiple births in pregnancy
The predominant factors that contribute to having a multiple birth pregnancy are heredity, race, number of previous pregnancies, delayed child bearing, and infertility treatments. In the past two decades, both the significant increase in older mothers and infertility treatments has caused the biggest increase in multiple births ....more
I once asked a friend of mine what it was like to give birth to twins. She said: 'First one came out and then the other.' I didn't both to ask her whether raising twins was as simple ....more
So you’re expecting twins. Congratulations! Are you still in shock? I sure was. The thought of bringing two babies into the world at one time scared the heck out of me, especially since I was already the father of two boys (ages five and three) ....more
The Miracle of Multiple Births in Pregnancy - by Julian Hall
The predominant factors that contribute to having a multiple birth pregnancy are heredity, race, number of previous pregnancies, delayed child bearing, and infertility treatments. In the past two decades, both the significant increase in older mothers and infertility treatments has caused the biggest increase in multiple births.
The types of multiples
There are two types of twins monozygotic and dizygotic. These are probably better known as identical and non-identical or fraternal twins.
Identical twins develop from one fertilized egg that has split in two halves and grown into two identical babies. Non-identical twins come from two separate eggs that are fertilized by individual sperm. They grow separately and are no more alike than other siblings born to the same parents. Super-twins is a common term for triplets or higher order multiple births. These babies can be identical, non-identical, or a combination of both.
Staying healthy during a multiple birth pregnancy Eating properly, getting enough rest, and making regular trips to the doctor are critical measures for any expectant mother to stay healthy. A woman with a multiple pregnancy might be scheduled for more frequent appointments with her obstetrician/gynecologist (OB-GYN) than women who are pregnant with a single fetus.
Your weight and comfort
Mothers who are carrying multiples are expected to gain more weight during the course of the pregnancy than mothers carrying a single fetus. Exactly how much weight you should gain depends on your pre-pregnancy weight and the number of fetuses. This should be discussed with your doctor so you know what is healthy for you. In general, though, you should consume about 300 additional calories a day for each fetus.
Although it might be tough to eat a lot when your abdomen is full of babies, it can help to eat smaller, more frequent meals. Expecting multiples probably means that youre experiencing the typical discomforts of pregnancy more intensely. Nurture yourself and help ease the stress of pregnancy. Relax as much as you can by reading, listening to music or walking can make you feel better.
Preparing for childbirth
Being ready for a multiple birth may seem overwhelming, and concerns about pre-term labour can be additional burdens for you to bear. The best reassurance is knowing that you have a network of support around you: capable doctors, a caring hospital staff, and hopefully a supportive partner, family members, and/or friends. Taking your babies home
The first days, weeks, and months are often the most difficult for parents of multiples, as everyone learns to get used to the frequent feedings, lack of sleep, and little personal time involved in parenting multiples. Enlist whatever help you can get from neighbors, family members, and friends for household chores and daily tasks. Having extra hands around can not only make feedings easier and help you rest and recover from delivery, it can also give you the precious time you need to get to know your babies.
Having a bonus baby - two or more? - by Wintergreen
I once asked a friend of mine what it was like to give birth to twins. She said: 'First one came out and then the other.' I didn't both to ask her whether raising twins was as simple. We all know the answer to that. As you know, New Zealand has a unique situation the envy of women and midwives worldwide. Here, pregnant women and their families have 'choice'. Over 85% of all pregnant women are cared for by one lead maternity carer - a midwife. Maternity care is paid for by the Government and women can give birth at home or hospital and have the same care provider with them throughout their pregnancy, labour and post natal period.
Yet, the caesarean rate has doubled since midwives became lead maternity carers in 1995 and women pregnant with breech babies and multiples are more likely to be strongly encouraged to have an elective caesarean. This is a huge paradox. On the one hand, birth is promoted as being a natural and normal occurrence of a woman's life and on the other hand, there are more medically assisted births. In Nelson 26% of all babies are delivered by caesarean. What does this mean?
Where does Common Knowledge Trust and The Pink Kit Method for birthing better™ fit into this and why would you want to read this article? First, it's important to know what the Trust is besides being a Nelson based Charitable Trust. The Trust was set up in 1996 by its founder, a woman who uses the name Wintergreen. She has worked as a natural health practitioner for over 30 years, many of those years were spent working with traditionally living cultural groups. In those communities she was always given a name and she has chosen to use this one. The common knowledge about birth came from work she did with ordinary families in the US in the early 1970s, not from traditional knowledge.
The basis of The Pink Kit Method for birthing better™ comes from this fact...we are all one humanity.
Although we all share one human body regardless of whether we are fat or thin, pregnant with one or three babies, are vegetarians or like to rip into a steak; we also have many differences such as our beliefs, health, religion, ethnic background etc. We seem to focus more on our differences than on our similarities. Yet, that's how The Pink Kit Method developed. We stayed focused on our universal human female birthing body. We then took this knowledge into absolutely every single birth. The Pink Kit Method also gave skills and tools to our birth coach who was, most likely, to be our partner/husband/father of our child or a friend or relative.
Men have the same body. They also have been born through a woman's body, so it's easy for them to learn about this common knowledge. When a woman's coach is another woman, then they discover their similarities and uniqueness. There are always variations on a theme and that's why this information has been so important. For example, women are often told that the best positions are... yet, once you've mapped your pelvis, learned how to relax your minnie mouse muscles, done Kate's Cat and prepared using the Internal Work from The Pink Kit, then you'll know which positions keep you open and relaxed.
For the past 30 years there has been a pulling apart of birthing beliefs. Now women believe and are told that they have a choice between midwife, home and natural versus doctor, hospital and medical births. Yet, the strength of The Pink Kit Method comes from the reality that no matter where you labour and give birth or with whom, you will have another contraction. You can learn positive birthing and coaching skills so that you breathe well, relax internally, stay open, override the natural reaction to pain which is to tense up, develop team work with your coach and manage your way to a positive birth experience. You still might not like the experience, but you'll be proud of the way you handled it. That's empowerment!
In the birth climate of today, where 'choice' and 'information' are the basis for childbirth education and care, Common Knowledge Trust offers 'skills' which have been terribly neglected to be passed on. Sadly, we hear women tell each other: 'There is no way to prepare for the experience.' It's true that labour is an unknown journey; however, there are many simple skills that are effective tools to work with that journey as it unfolds. Why have we come to believe that ignorance is bliss, that we should hope for a good birth and that 'natural' means we all know exactly what to do? Ignorance is not bliss, being skilled is. Hope is not a plan, nor is a birth plan adaptable, yet skills are. Birth is natural, it follows pregnancy; however, we do naturally tense up, labour is naturally intense. As human beings, we are gifted with our amazing minds. We have the ability to apply skills to natural physiological processes. We do it all the time. When we're hungry, we cook not just browse on the nearest bush. When we're randy we learn to make love if we really want pleasure rather than rut. When we have to pee or poo we wait until we get to the proper receptacle rather than right here, right now!
For some unfortunate reason, there has been a trend of thinking for 30 years or so, has let birthing skills lapse. Common Knowledge Trust is a change agent for that belief...one woman at a time, one father at a time....one contraction at a time. When we couple skills to choice, we are more likely to have a goal and steps to achieve it. When we marry skills to information, we are more likely to have mastery rather than intellectual knowledge. For 30 years, skills have been missing because the focus has been on who and where should women labour and give birth rather than what we can do to have a positive birth because we have the skills to manage our way through the process of labour as it unfolds. This is not rocket science. It's common sense, common knowledge.
You might be reading this, knowing that you are planning an elective caesarean. There's no difference between you and a woman who will labour to give birth. You and your partner can use these skills as well. You can have the pleasure of preparing your body for childbirth and the joy of working together to develop your teamwork. And you'll use these skills because you're still going to give birth.
Because Common Knowledge Trust is the collective voice of thousands upon thousands of expectant women and their partners, we can speak to whatever situation you find yourself. We've all used the information and have benefited hugely, been enriched tremendously, felt more connected, competent, capable and self empowered by becoming skilled at giving birth and coaching. Our self taught skills have grown positive parenting and developed closer partnership relationships.
When you are pregnant with multiples, you are in a situation with your birth provider that will require you to negotiate about your birth plans and in a trend climate of care. The management of multiple pregnancies has changed over the years. Regardless of the choices you have or the ones you make, you can still enjoy the preparation of your birthing body. Become Pink Kit parents!
Twins pregnancy...A father's point of view - by Dan Brunkow
So you’re expecting twins. Congratulations!
Are you still in shock? I sure was. The thought of bringing two babies into the world at one time scared the heck out of me, especially since I was already the father of two boys (ages five and three). I remembered how much work the first year was with both of them, with all of the diapers, the bottles, the sleepless nights, etc… I wondered how in the world we were going to do it with two babies? I immediately started stressing out about all of things that we were going to go through once the babies were born. Little did I know at the time that the most stressful part of having twins was already upon us…the pregnancy.
I did not know at the time that a twin pregnancy is not at all like a single pregnancy. With our first two pregnancies, it was relatively low impact for me (I know, all of the women reading this are rolling their eyes, especially my wife). But to my wife’s credit, it’s true. I figured I had about eight months to play as much golf as I could before the birth of the twins, and that’s when I would really have to become involved. After all, my work was already done for the time being, right? Boy, was I wrong!
There are many things that happened during the pregnancy that surprised me, or that no one told me about. I’d like to tell you about some of those things here, so maybe you’ll be a little more prepared for what happens during a twin pregnancy than I was.
First, pre-term labor is fairly common in a twin pregnancy. I didn’t even know what pre-term labor was until it happened to my wife. This was definitely the most stressful thing about the pregnancy, and it’s something that I don’t remember anyone warning me about. Maybe my wife mentioned it to me, but you know how it is, there was probably a ball game or something. My wife went to a routine check-up at about the 25th week of pregnancy. After being gone for an abnormally long time, she phoned me from the hospital and told me that they were keeping her overnight because she was having contractions. What a shock! I couldn’t understand how that could be so early in the pregnancy. The babies were less than 3 lbs. each at the time, so we were both extremely worried. They wound up giving her medication to stop labor and kept her in the hospital for a couple of days. This was the first of four trips to the hospital to stop labor. The good news was that the medication that they gave her successfully stopped the contractions each time, and she was able to carry the twins past 36 weeks.
Second, prepare for bed rest. My wife wound up going on bed rest for about the last four weeks of the pregnancy. This is a very common occurrence for a twin pregnancy, so you need to prepare yourselves for it. We were fairly lucky because my wife was a stay at home mother, so we did not have to worry about her taking time off from her job. We were also very fortunate that my mother-in-law was able to come and stay with us during that time to help with our two boys and to help out around the house. I’m not sure what we would have done without her. My advice is to recruit family and friends if you can to help out. But however you do it, take bed rest very seriously. Make sure you’re wife stays off of her feet. There’s a good reason why many mothers of twins are put on bed rest by their doctor, and that’s so she doesn’t go into labor too early. You want your wife to carry those babies as long as she can for the health of your twins. Oh, and needless to say, golf was just not an option while my wife was on bed rest.
Third, don’t expect a full-term pregnancy. It very rarely happens with twins. The goal of a twin pregnancy is to carry them at least 36 weeks. Once you reach that mark you are considered to be out of the ‘danger zone’. Even though 36 weeks is the target, many twins are delivered earlier. What this means is that you have less time to get everything ready for the new arrivals. I would suggest getting the babies room ready earlier, start buying those baby items that you need to purchase, get things done around the house that need to be done. During this pregnancy, you may not have time to wait until the last minute!
Finally, you are about to embark on an emotional and stressful, next few months. It was truly an emotional roller coaster for us. I’ll never forget our fourth trip to the hospital because of pre-term labor. My wife started having contractions again at around week 34. The babies were both more than 5 lbs., so we were sure that they would just let it go and we could finally deliver the twins. We thought that the twins were big enough and strong enough to be born safely, so I packed up the overnight bag and the camera and we headed for the hospital, positive that we were going to finally have the twins that day. After all of the other trips to the hospital, we were ready. Once we got to the hospital we were immediately put in a delivery room. And then the contractions stopped…all by themselves. We asked the doctor to induce labor, and he refused, for the safety of the twins. Of course he was right, but we were both devastated. We were just emotionally and mentally exhausted. My wife cried all the way home.
My best advice to you is to try to stay calm, help and support your wife (she truly is doing most of the work), and trust your doctor’s advice. Remember, you’re goal is to try and carry the babies at least until week 36, which will greatly decrease the chance of complications with the birth of your twins. Do everything you can to make this happen. Trust me, even though a twin pregnancy is a very trying time for the mother and the father, its well worth it once those twins arrive!
Multiple Births in Pregnancy