I’m still pregnant! At 38 weeks with twins.

38 weeks and still pregnant

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 Especially when the rules are a little outdated and apply to all twin pregnancies, not only twins like mine with their own placentas and sacs.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. 

24 thoughts on “I’m still pregnant! At 38 weeks with twins.

  1. Well, how interesting about their individual sacs & placentas! Wow. Does this mean they are “not identical.. but fraternal?” And that’s a “funny” term for 2 girls! Anyway.. I love your attitude! I also know that you are going to do all you can to make however things go, be the best for babies & you! I’m a rule keeper (typical first born & teacher) so admire you even more for your determination. I also better understand why your bag isn’t packed!! By the way, names chosen yet?!! D xxxx

    1. It’s interesting Denyse, they might still be identical if the egg split in the first few days after conception. But it’s only a 30% chance. I’m a first born too, but I’ve always had a rebellious streak. No names, but that’s pretty standard for us. We like to meet the babies before naming them!

      1. Claire as a fellow twin mum EVERY single one of my twin mum friends who had same sex twins with their own placenta and own sac even ones that don’t look very alike have turned out to be identical in the DNA sense. The only way to truly know Denyse is DNA testing with same sex twins that is.
        Wowsers I can only imagine getting to 38wks my girls were born at 34wks after a very very difficult and even more medicalised pg than yours. I just started reading your birth story and realised that you have moved to Canberra! I thought you were in Sydney lol. I have been under a rock it would seem Claire!

        1. Oh wow Cathy, perhaps we should get the girls tested!
          We only moved from Sydney to Canberra at the end of December so you’ve not been under the rock for too long!

  2. Good on you for being stubborn and sticking with what you believe.

    I had to turn off my phone and my computer the last weeks of pregnancy (both girls were born 41+3 – one induced, one not) as the constant questions about arrival got too overwhelming and a little bit frustrating. Like, yes I am just as excited and impatient as you all are!!!

    1. 41+3, that’s amazing! Mine have been 40, 40+5 and 40+6 so I am not at all surprised that these babies haven’t made an appearance yet!

  3. I’m all for individual care and personal choice. Self-advocacy is something to be admired and something we should all aspire to (even if you are seen as ‘that’ patient or, in my case, ‘that’ parent!) Good luck with the coming weeks x

    1. Thanks Kirsty, I feel almost rebellious even suggesting individual care, yet it’s so important. Cookie cutter care isn’t appropriate for anyone! I’d be ‘that’ parent too if I needed to be!

  4. Good luck for the birth and everything afterwards when they decide to join us. I guess you won’t be coming to Frocktails next week, though. We will raise a glass to the three of you!

    1. Thanks Lynne! Unfortunately there won’t be any Frocktails this year, but it looks like it’s going to be a fabulous event!

  5. Hello, all the best with your babies. I ended up having mind by section as little miss was breech and I wasn’t game to try a vaginal birth. The big boys had used the traditional exit so I’ve had them all ways. I remember being so thrilled to be able to take a really deep breath. Good luck.

  6. I just had my 4th little boy last Friday, he came on his own at 40+3. Throughout my pregnancy I measured 5wks smaller than ‘expected’ this required an ob to get involved and began 2 weekly scans to check growth and fluid (fluid measured in the low side but still within range). Scans said baby was very small but cord and placenta were perfect – I knew he was just fine – this is just how I carry my babies, close and compact. Doc wasnt convinced, the final 4wks were filled with 3x weekly ctg monitoring, hospital visits and constant talk of induction..no way I said, he’s huge I said, this is not a small baby I said!! I managed to push induction to 9 days over and thankfully he came on his own, a nice 3.92kg!! Small baby?? Well, he was MY second smallest, but in no way ‘underweight’.
    I believed in trusting my instincts and knowing my body, obviously I also believe in the professionals but Mumma’s can know best too. All the best to you and your sweet babies.

    1. Kimmy that is an amazing story! Good on your for trusting your instincts. 3.92kg is not a small baby at all, surely above ‘average’. Thank you for sharing your experience and congratulations on the arrival of your precious son.

  7. I have just gone 38 weeks with dcda (separate everything frat twins) and have the doctors suggesting I can be induced but it’s up to you. My other two were natural spontaneous labour around 40 weeks. I’m getting pressure from family to be induced ‘as there’s no room in there’s and ‘the risk of stillbirth increases’ where as this is the case for other types of twin pregnancies not mine. Im tired of people assuming they know better and have been informed. The medical world is over clinical and invasive and it makes me mad that given my history, the fact that one is head down, my own instincts are being undermined. They are both going to be well over 3 kilo when born but I feel like this will come on naturally and I don’t think I will have any pain relief! Wishing you all the best, they will come when ready if they haven’t already, if I am still waiting at 40 weeks then will look into getting things going.

    Jen from Melbourne

    1. Jen, I absolutely hear every word you say! I’d love to know if your twins have arrived and how they entered the world. Our girls arrived at 40+1, labour started spontaneously.

  8. Claire am so happy you stood your grounds, am 38 weeks pregnant with fraternal twins and my doctor is suggesting induction, which i objected am waiting patiently for my babies arrival.

    1. Oh I remember all too well the pressure of induction. Fingers crossed your babies arrive very soon, they’ll know when they are ready. Good luck lovely.

  9. Wow. This is something I would have written, word for word.

    My first I was 42w1d when I came into the hospital for induction, but was already at 4cm. Only need some pitocin to get things going and had her at 42w2d. No epidural and 18hrs of labor.

    I am now with twins and 38 weeks along. My doctor is allowing 39-40 weeks as long as things are still looking good. She knows I want to go on my own! Planning no epidural again as both are low and head down.

    It’s reassuring to know still birth isn’t as common as they say? Even after 38 weeks? Huge fear…as it is for any mother.

I'd love to hear your thoughts!