I’ve hit an unusual twin pregnancy milestone, 38 weeks! I’m still pregnant. The text messages, calls and emails asking ‘have you had those babies yet’ are coming thick and fast. The question that follows is ‘what’s the plan’? I have no plan! I’m at the whim of these babies.
Apparently the average length of a twin pregnancy is 35 weeks. I’m being hassled by well meaning people because 38 weeks is often the latest a twin pregnancy is ‘allowed’ to go. If the babies haven’t arrived by 38 weeks most hospitals will either induce labour or schedule a c-section.
Here’s the thing, I’m not fond of following rules. Especially when the rules are a little outdated and apply to all twin pregnancies, not only twins like mine with their own placentas and sacs. I understand that, generally, twins are born prior to 38 weeks because the risk of still birth increases at that point. But I need to know how that risk applies to my pregnancy and my babies. I’ve simply expressed a need for individualised care for myself and the babies. The assertive lawyer in me emerged. I told the OB at the public hospital I would not consent to induction unless medically necessary. I’m sure that put me at the top of the ‘pain in the butt’ patient list.
After the ‘one size fits all’ treatment in a public hospital, I’ve found an OB who fully supports my decision not to be induced. Shockingly, he’s supportive of me going into spontaneous labour. He’s happy to monitor the size of the babies, the health of the placentas and amount of amniotic fluid. We’ll have the induction conversation if we make it to 40 weeks.
The medicalisation of a twin pregnancy can be daunting, especially if you have had other children. Here’s what I’ve learnt. If you aren’t comfortable with a hospital policy, query it. Ask how it applies to you, what the risks are, basically get the information you need to make an informed decision. Always remember a hospital cannot force you to undergo any procedure. They need your consent. I’m not suggesting you ever do anything (or not do something) if there is a risk to you or your babies health. But, you are allowed to ask, and be told, the pros and cons of a medical intervention.
This pregnancy has been the tough, but I’m not ‘over it’ or begging to be induced, as many people assume. I’m content with letting these babies arrive when they are ready. While these babies remain in my belly the more developed their brains, livers, and lungs will be. They’ll have more brown fat to regulate body temperature and their sucking reflex will be well formed. I’m excited to meet them, when they are ready to meet us.
There you have it, because I’m stubborn, and my babies seem comfortable, I’m still pregnant at 38 weeks! The wait continues. Hot tips for dealing with persistent questions about the arrival of a baby?
As a note: these are my personal views. I accept and respect that often women are comfortable with induction. Each women should make decisions based on medical advice and their personal experiences.