How to Minimize Pain and Enjoy Your Twin Pregnancy
You just got word you’re going to be a mamma of not one but two babies! Once you calm down over the initial surprise and the thrill of twins, you’ll want to start early exploring ways to assure a normal, healthy pregnancy. That means minimizing the typical aches and pains and increasing the chances of an uncomplicated, comfortable delivery of two healthy babies.
You may already know about the changes to your body if this isn’t your first pregnancy: muscle and joint aches, back aches, aches in your pelvic muscles and ligaments that are stretching to prepare for birthing, the sometimes twisting and pulling of pelvic and spinal structures caused by increased stress on several parts of your body. Whether it’s your first pregnancy or second or third, carrying twins means you need to be doubly proactive to keep your muscles, tissues, and joints functioning in good shape.
Moms, chiropractic adjustments are perfectly safe, not only for single but for twin pregnancies, from first through third trimester. Gentle spinal adjustments keep ligaments functioning at their best and ease the pain. Plus, chiropractic keeps mother and babies safe and healthy in preparation for the birthing process.
Regular chiropractic checkups during pregnancy can monitor the changes in your spine and pelvis caused by rapid weight changes. Many moms report that it helps reduce morning sickness, reduce back, round ligament, pelvic and rib pain, and sciatica. Chiropractic has also demonstrated success with preventing premature contractions.
Let’s look at some of the ways “multiples” can affect your health and your twins’ health for the remaining months until delivery. A chiropractor specializing in prenatal and infant care can show you how to stay healthy, stay on top of any discomfort, and keep your body in alignment, which has been shown to decrease labor time.
Proper Positioning at Time of Birth
If your babies are positioned correctly in labor, you’ll both have an easier and safer delivery. With twins, the chances increase that one or both of the babies may not be optimally positioned in the womb. Misaligned pelvic joints can pull the uterus off center and can, at times, affect fetal position.
Hormones that cause your muscles and ligaments to relax can cause them to misalign. Factoring in that, the increased weight gain, and a change in weight distribution, it’s common for twins to present in breech prior to birth.
One head may be down and the other breech; both may be breech, or one or both of the babies may be sideways or are pointed toward the hip rather than the cervix.
But that doesn’t mean a breech position can’t be corrected. Chiropractic spinal adjustments like the Webster Technique (used specifically in breech pregnancies) have helped many mothers get into better alignment and have resulted in a baby – and even twins – get into the correct position for birth. Several local OB/GYNs and midwives refer families to Dr. Parker to perform the Webster Technique to treat breech, posterior, and asynclitic conditions.
A case study reported in the Journal of Pediatric, Maternal & Family Health showed that with 5 adjustments over 3 weeks a set of breech-presenting twins were properly positioned and the mother went on to have a normal vaginal birth.
Many prenatal chiropractors believe the key is balance. Balance the mother and the baby will have the optimal room to get ready for birth.
Carrying Twins to Term
A question many multiple moms-to-be ask is whether they’ll be able to carry their twins to term. Here are some statistics to give you an idea of your chances. Keep in mind these are averages based on pregnant women who may or may not be seeing a prenatal chiropractor.
A typical single pregnancy is 39 weeks. Preterm is considered a delivery before 37 weeks. This typically decreases with each additional baby. On average most single pregnancies last 39 weeks, twin pregnancies 36 weeks, triplets 32 weeks, quadruplets 30 weeks, and quintuplets 29 weeks.
In 2005, the American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology published a report regarding fetal growth rates and the delivery of preterm twins. In their study, more than 1,600 women were followed between 1979 and 2002 across the U.S. Women in this study delivered their twins at the following rates:
28-30 weeks: 5.3 percent
31-32 weeks: 8.5 percent
33-36 weeks: 40.1 percent
So, according to these statistics, most woman pregnant with twins may not be far off from the 37-week cut-off considered normal for full-term babies.
Any pre-existing health conditions moms may have put them at risk for preterm delivery. In the case of multiple births, all it takes is one existing health condition to be considered high risk for preterm.
Effects of Weight and Diet
Being overweight or obese also puts multiple mothers-to-be at a much higher risk of complications like gestational diabetes and hypertension, which can lead to earlier births.
It might be worth a try to follow a diet developed by a physician and nutrition expert, Dr. Tom Brewer, who developed a diet he said helps twin moms go full term. The diet isn’t very different from a normal balanced diet of high nutritional food, other than certain foods are to be eaten daily, and the diet places emphasis on the number and weight of servings.
Even if Dr. Brewer’s diet for twin moms doesn’t have any effect on bringing your baby to full term, eating a good diet has other advantages:
- Increases the chances for healthy babies
- Helps you maintain optimal energy levels
- Reduces the chances of C-sections due to the babies’ weight
- Keeps you more positive during stressful times
The Link Between Back Pain and Labor Duration
Chiropractic studies are showing there may be a relationship between back pain throughout pregnancy and a longer duration of the labor and delivery process. Women giving birth to twins or other multiple births are naturally concerned about longer labor. One study showed that pregnant mothers receiving chiropractic care for back pain have on average a 31 percent shorter labor. So getting your back pain under control with regular chiropractic visits can shorten that time.
More About Multiples
Dr. Michelle Parker can answer all of your questions about twins and other multiples and help you:
- Reduce discomfort or pain during pregnancy and labor
- Improve quality of life
- Help keep the body, muscles, and ligaments balanced
- Decrease the chance of a preterm delivery
Dr. Parker has special training as a pediatric chiropractor certified through the International Chiropractic Pediatric Association and is the only chiropractor with this certification in Parker County. Located in Aledo, Texas in East Parker County, Dr. Parker serves moms and their children in Tarrant, Parker, Erath, Palo Pinto, Hood, Wise, Denton, Dallas and Johnson counties.