Vaginal delivery is encouraged if babies are in an optimum position, usually head down. A caesarean section may be recommended if your doctor feels that a normal vaginal delivery could threaten your health or the health of your babies. It is important to discuss with your obstetrician and midwife, letting them know your hopes and expectations for the birth.
No two births are the same and you will have your own unique experience of labour.
Signs of impending labour:
- A show – a plug of mucous with blood staining.
- Braxton hick’s contractions – weak, irregular contractions.
- Nesting instincts – some mum’s to be feel like cleaning out the oven and dusting the skirting boards.
- Waters breaking. Contact your hospital if this happens, you will more than likely have to go in, try and get a sample.
- Labour pains – These pains are usually strong, regular and painful. They limit your ability to talk and move around.
If you are worried at all, contact the hospital, with any queries. They are only too happy to help.
Stages of labour:
- First stage( thinning and dilation of your cervix)
- Second stage(pushing your babies out)
- Third stage(delivery of the placenta)
You will more than likely recognise the first stage of labour by painful contractions. The pain will get more intense and regular as you cervix thins and dilates. It is wise to contact the hospital for advice once your labour pains start.
You may be induced into labour by your doctor. This may be necessary if your doctor feels your babies or your health may be at risk. This involves starting labour artificially with either a vaginal pessary or gel, which softens the cervix. If labour has not started, after a period, they may decide to break your waters. This typically is uncomfortable, but not painful. If contractions have not commenced in a few hours, an oxytocin drip will be started to induce contractions. Your doctor and midwife will discuss the reasons for induction with you thoroughly.
During labour you can expect to have your babies monitored. Usually one is monitored externally and the other baby/ babies internally using a metal clip attached to their head. You will be offered pain relief – gas and air, pethidine or an epidural. The choice is yours and something that you should think about and investigate during your pregnancy.
In second stage labour, you get to meet your new babies for the very first time. When you are fully dilated you will be ready to push your babies out. The second stage is in two parts: birth of twin one and clamping of the cord and followed a little while later with the birth of twin two.
There is plenty time for love and cuddles before the beginning of the third stage. You will be given a injection of a oxytocic drug to contract your uterus and expel the placenta. The placenta is closely examined to reveal if your twins are identical and for any abnormalities.
Well done your babies are finally here.
A caesarean section can be either planned or an emergency. There are a number of factors involved in the decision to have a caesarean section, and your doctor will discuss these with you. Hospital procedures differ in different hospitals but typically involve:
- Fasting from food and drink from midnight before your operation. You may have to take a liquorice tasting medicine before you go to theatre to neutralise stomach acid.
- Your birthing partner may accompany you to theatre, and will be called in to the theatre prior the delivery of your babies. They will have to put on theatre scrubs.
- A consent form will have to be signed by you. The doctor will explain what the operation involves and any complications that may arise.
- Your heart, blood pressure and the amount of oxygen in your blood will be monitored and you may have to wear a oxygen mask.
- Usually the anaesthetic given will be a spinal or epidural. The anaesthetist performs this. An injection is given of local anaesthetic in your spine in the case of a spinal anaesthetic. In a epidural, a tiny tube is threaded into the epidural space in your spine and a local anaesthetic is injected via this. You will not feel any pain, but will feel sensation. The lower half of you body will feel be dull and heavy. You will feel gentle rummaging and tugging during the section.
- An intravenous (IV) drip will be inserted into your arm, so that IV fluids and other medicines may be given.
- A tiny tube (urinary catheter) will be inserted into your bladder, to empty it. This will remain in place for 24 hours.
- A screen will be placed across your chest, so that you will not see the operation.
- The obstetrician will clean your abdomen with a antiseptic solution and make an incision across your bikini line. The babies will then be lifted out of your abdomen, there cord cut and handed to the paediatrician for some quick checks. They will be handed to you then for a cuddle.
- When the placentas are delivered the obstetrician will stitch you up. You will be taken to recovery for an hour or so and then brought back to the ward.
An emergency section is fairly similar to the procedure described above, but the decision to operate is taken quickly.
- Front opening nighties
- Hair bobbins and brush
- Usual toiletries
- Nursing bras, breast pads.
- Maternity pads (green ones from chemist very good)
- Dressing gown slippers/ cheap flip flops for shower.
- Dark towels
- Coins for parking meter and vending machine.
- Mobile phone and charger/ phone credit.
- Big Knickers (cheap ones from penney’s, you can throw away, more comfy than disposable ones).
- Lansinoh cream if breastfeeding.
- Lip salve as they can get dry.
- Bottle of water with sports lid, useful if you have sutures.
- Plastic bags for sending things home.
- Earplugs and an eye mask.
- Make up.
- Babygros, vests, hats, cardigans, mitts, socks, bibs, blankets, muslin squares, towels.
- Nappies, cotton wool and Vaseline.
- Going home clothes for babies.
Fix car seats in car prior to babies’ arrival, if possible. This saves daddy struggling in the car for 40 mins.
Pre made formula bottles with sterilised teats can be bought in most hospital shops, this beats wrestling with the steriliser on your first day or so home.