Most women who are pregnant with multiples (more than one baby) have healthy pregnancies, but the risk of complications is higher. If you're pregnant with more multiples, be sure to discuss your risks, pregnancy care and delivery plan with your doctor, including:
- Increased nutrition and rest
- More frequent prenatal visits
- Referrals for special testing or ultrasound evaluations, and, if needed, coordinate care of any potential complications during pregnancy or birth
- Testing to monitor the health of mother and babies
- Medications or procedures to slow or stop contractions in the event of contractions/preterm labor
How multiples are delivered depends on conditions such as the positions of the babies, how far along in the pregnancy, if pre-term and the health of the mother and babies.
In many cases of twins, if both babies are positioned head down and there are no other complications, vaginal delivery is possible. If one baby is head down, but the other isn't, it still may be possible to deliver vaginally; however, it is best to be prepared if an emergency cesarean delivery is needed.
Cesarean delivery is usually needed if one or more of the babies are in abnormal positions, for certain medical conditions or distress of the mother or babies, or for births involving three or more babies.
It is not unusual for multiples to be born pre-term. If this is the case, or there are other medical issues, it may be necessary for your babies to spend time in our state-of-the-art Level III Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU). Rest assured we have specially trained medical staff and technology to give your babies the highest level of care.
Breastfeeding your newborns
At Gundersen, we encourage and support breastfeeding. Breast milk has key nutrients and infection-fighting antibodies in a more easily digested form than infant formula.
Breast milk is particularly important for pre-term babies because:
- It protects immature tissues.
- It matures tiny digestive systems.
- Infants fed breast milk tend to spend fewer days in the hospital.
If you're unable to breastfeed or you don't have enough breast milk, donor breast milk is also available.
We also have certified lactation consultants who help breastfeeding mothers by:
- Teaching techniques that can help new mothers increase success with breastfeeding.
- Helping to prevent and solve breastfeeding problems and encouraging an environment that supports breastfeeding.
- Providing education and support throughout pregnancy, hospital stay and after discharge.