33 weeks and 1 day pregnant
Your baby may well be head down by this stage. The head is the heaviest part and gravity plus the shape of your womb favours a head-down position. Ask your midwife or doctor at the next clinic visit if she can determine the position for you.
Premature labour is highly likely in a twin pregnancy, so your antenatal carers will be on alert and monitoring you closely.
There are still six weeks to go until the due date for a single pregnancy, but if you’re expecting twins they may arrive any time from now. Thirty-seven weeks is considered full term for twins, and about half are born before this date. Women expecting twins are at higher risk of high blood pressure, pre-eclampsia, placental insufficiency, gestational diabetes, and premature labour. That said, many women do go on to deliver twins naturally and many consultants will allow you to continue to 40 weeks, after which time an induction is offered.
If the babies are in any position other than “head down”, or the placenta is in an awkward position, such as near the neck of the uterus, a Caesarean may be recommended. Some consultants prefer to deliver twins by Caesarean because the second twin may run into difficulties during the delivery, particularly if she is not head down.Premature babies are more at risk of complications than those who go to full-term. A Caesarean delivery ensures the babies are delivered quickly without having to go through hours of potentially stressful labour.
If your babies share a placenta or a sac, induction or a Caesarean will be suggested at 34–37 weeks, possibly because one baby is not growing as well as the other.
If you know your twin pregnancy is going to be induced or you’re booked in for a Caesarean delivery, you have the advantage of being able to fully prepare for your babies’ arrival.
The average birth weight of twins is 2.5kg (5lb 8oz).
This is compared to 3.5kg (7lb 8oz) for singleton babies. It’s not unusual for there to be a difference in birth weight between the babies. The average weight of a triplet is 1.8kg (4lb) and of a quadruplet 1.4kg (3lb).
I’m having my twins in a couple of weeks. Can they sleep in the same cot?
Having shared the same tight space in the uterus for many months, it seems natural to allow twin newborns to sleep together and, in fact, research indicates that it may have some benefits. Not only has it been found to be safe for twins of roughly the same size to sleep together until three months of age, but one study found that putting newborn twins in the same cot helped to regulate their body temperature and their sleep cycles.
They can be placed side by side, or head to head. Ideally each should have her own set of covers, to avoid overheating. Like single babies, twins should be put to sleep in the safe sleeping position, on their backs.
You can purchase a double cot, which will last until your twins are old enough to move to a bed, but many experts believe that twins should be given their own sleeping space from three months, so that they can be given individual attention and the opportunity to develop their own sleep patterns.