If you are pregnant with twins there is an increased risk of them being born prematurely. Here, Jane Hawdon, a consultant neonatologist at University College Hospital outlines some of the things you should consider just in case your babies are born early:
- You may need to move your care to another hospital with appropriate facilities if complications in your pregnancy indicate an early delivery. This may not be near to home if you want to ensure there are enough beds for both your babies in the neonatal unit.
- Ask if your chosen hospital has a transitional care unit. These units allow mothers to care for their babies if they do not need intensive care, and hospitals with transitional units are more likely to be able to keep you and your babies in the same place.
- Check if your hospital has cots that allow co-bedding if this is appropriate and how you want your babies to sleep.
- If you have one baby in the hospital and one at home, you will need to think about splitting your time between the two. Ask if your other twin can come with you on visits and if co-bedding is allowed during visits.
- If you want to breastfeed and only one twin can feed effectively, you may need to express milk in order to feed the twin who is having trouble feeding and then put the twin who can feed on the breast to encourage milk production in order to get enough milk to feed both babies.
- Check if your hospital offers support from a community neonatal nurse to allow for early discharge, for example if your baby is still tube fed.
- When attending clinics for follow up appointments ask them not to book you in for early morning appointments as getting out with two babies, particularly if one is unwell, can be very difficult.