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Carrying—and caring for—twins through pregnancy
Q: We recently found out we’re having twins. Yes, we’re happy, but we’re also feeling more than a little overwhelmed. So far, it’s been hard to sort through what we’ve heard and read about carrying twins. Will my wife’s pregnancy be treated differently by her doctors?
A: Congratulations! Twins are exciting … and a handful, to boot. From an obstetric point of view, twins require more monitoring than a singleton (one baby) pregnancy, but should not cause you to lose sleep. On average, twins are delivered three weeks early. However, a significant number of twins do come before this time, making prematurity a real concern. This makes it very important to choose the right hospital and doctor for your care. My article on this web site titled, “Where Will Your Baby Be Delivered? Important considerations for choosing the right hospital,” details the important services you need to have the best birth experience possible, including access to epidural anesthesia and a special care nursery to handle premature babies.

Obstetric care of mums carrying twins is typically uneventful through the first seven months. After that, your partner will become more uncomfortable and big. Some believe the physical size of the uterus triggers labor and, with twins, this happens much earlier. Twins need frequent ultrasounds to make sure they are both sharing mum’s nutrition fairly. Additional monitoring tests and office visits will make your wife feel very special. One more thing to mention: more twins rest in unusual positions in the uterus (butt or feet first), making cesarean section much more common.

If you make good choices up front, you will have a great birth experience. So ignore the horror stories, listen to your doctor, and buy a good double stroller!
Craig L. Bissinger M.D.