Dr. Cook explains the process when delivering multiple babies and describes the risks associated with cesarean section (C-section) deliveries.
Well during the delivery process, if it’s three or more it is generally a cesarean delivery, not always. So if that’s the situation then we usually have a more planned procedure so we have all the adequate pediatric support staff - a neonatologist, we have a large OR availability with other places to put the children for initial evaluation, and we usually do it under a regional anesthesia so that mom is awake. She usually has one support person in there and usually the biggest worry we have is for bleeding issues because it’s an over-distended uterus that has to shrink back down to normal size rapidly to prevent heavy bleeding. That’s for triplets and beyond.
For twins, about 50% are born vaginally as the case will be hopefully today and about 50% are born by cesarean section.
Generally speaking, if you are at that 36 weeks and beyond gestational age, which would be common for twins, the babies typically stay with the mother. If you are talking about triplets or more when you are talking about early gestational ages, usually there’s an opportunity for the parents to initially see their children or even touch their children, but then they need to go to the nursery for stabilization and further evaluation.
Well for a cesarean delivery it is a major operative procedure so you have all the risks that go along with that – bleeding, infection, injury to other organs. It is a longer recovery period than a vaginal delivery. It does allow us to deliver babies that are in unusual positions more easily and that’s why more commonly see it with triplets and quads, but optimally, if it’s a good situation and she has twins, vaginal delivery is a preferred route.
About Dr. Curtis Cook, M.D.:
Dr. Curtis R. Cook, M.D., is a maternal-fatal medicine specialist and the Associate Director for Phoenix Perinatal Associates providing care for women with complicated, high-risk pregnancies. Dr. Cook received his medical degree from Indiana University School of Medicine and completed his residency at Butterworth Hospital in Michigan.