Risks v. Benefits carrying twins over 38 weeks?

Cynthia - posted on 06/12/2010 ( 35 moms have responded )

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I did not expect that I would carry the twins this far but here I am, 37 weeks and 6 days today! The pregnancy has been surprisingly smooth, and I am still able to sleep for 7 or 8 hours at night. The worst discomfort I had was PUPPP and a stiff neck, which are still manageable.

So just wondering if anyone knows the risks v. benefits of carrying them over 38 weeks? My doc said there's no definitive research showing either way.

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Nicole - posted on 06/13/2010

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I carried my twins for 38 weeks and 3 days. I was showing no signs of labour... babies alone were nearly 7kg. Apart from obvious ailments as being sleep deprived etc etc. I don't think there is such "tragedies" that can occur from being 38 weeks pregnant with twins. Every woman is different as is every situation. Even tho I was ready to have them out at 7 months, (not that I ever would have!) my ob said the longer in the oven, better it is for the babies!

Kelli - posted on 06/30/2010

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I carried my babies to 38 weeks. They were 8lb 5oz and 7lb 1oz. I did not have a c-section. My doctor did induce...I think he felt sorry for me. I probably would have carried them till I exploded:) No bed rest..uncomplicated pregnancy. They are such blessings.

Jennifer - posted on 06/15/2010

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There really isn't any significant risk to being 38 weeks pregnant with twins, unless you have high blood pressure or your twins have twin-to-twin. If you don't have either of these, keep them cooking for as long as possible! I went into labor with my identical twins at 30w, but labor was able to be stopped. They were born at 32w via emergency c-section (my first one was coming out one foot at a time..boo!), and at 16mos. have no problems, and are even testing ahead on all of their developmental tests. My cousin delivered her fraternal twins at 40w5d, and she and her boys were just fine. My sister delivered her identical twins at 36w, and they are doing great also.

[deleted account]

According to my doctor (at University of Michigan in Ann Arbor), they never let any twin mom go past 38 weeks. He said the risk of a "tragedy" outweighs the benefit of two more weeks in the womb. I took his advice and had a scheduled c-section at 38 weeks, even though I had no signs of labor even approaching and have no doubt I could have carried them to 40 weeks. In hindsight, I regret that choice and wished I had let nature take its course, primarily because my milk didn't come in for over two weeks after birth because I hadn't actually gone into labor and my body wasn't "ready" to give birth. It caused an enormous amount of stress for me and the boys. If you doc is willing to let you go farther, go as far as you can!! BTW, I don't know how you can sleep for 8 hours without getting up to pee -- I was up every 20 minutes!! Congrats on being 38 weeks pregnant with twins!!

Sara - posted on 06/15/2010

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The "rule" that twins don't get to go 40 weeks is, to some extent, a self fulfilling prophecy. Like many doctors expect to do, my OB scheduled me for a c-section at 37 or 38 weeks, and I called back and canceled it. A huge whining arose from the doctor, but I ignored it and rescheduled the c-section for 40 weeks out. I had identical boys in separate sacs. They were big and healthy. The last few weeks add brains and body fat - both of which are very helpful for newborn babies. A baby born at 37 weeks is unfortunately premature, whether s/he's a twin or not. And there is no mystery to the many problems caused by prematurity. Hang in there and keep waddling to the bathroom til you and they are ready for birth.

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Vicks - posted on 04/24/2014

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HI there....thanks a lot for all the useful information...however i am not sure if i can carry my twins till 40 weeks because I am very short....I am only 5 feet.I want to check with you about your experiences.Can short height be A hurdle in the way of carrying twins to full term?

Naajia - posted on 06/17/2011

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Wow!! This is 2nd time ever blogging, but I had to stop by to say thanks to everyone that left a message here, because I was sooo worried and felt like I didnt have enough information to make me want to be induced right at 38 weeks with my fraternal twin girls. I am sick as heck of carrying them b/c of the pure uncomfort that I am experiencing. However I have realized that my body handles stress very well and inspite of a few contractions and the fact that I am 4 cent. dilated, I have not experienced 1 complication. Thank God. However, I saw my wannabe doc today and then they called me back after I left to let me know they wanted to induce on Monday morning at 6:00 am. My boyfriend wants us to wait (really b/c the babies room is completely a mess and nothing is together, lol) But eventhough I do not want to wait, I think I am going to cancel the appointment because I want to naturally go into labour and have a vaginal delivery. I am ready for the fight of my life with the docs on this one. But like I said earlier, thanks for all your comments, because neither of my 3 docs could give me a straight answer on why I would need to deliver at 38 weeks... the only thing I kept hearing was something about risks (but they never went into detail). So I guess I will be holding on a lil while longer! Thanks!

Cynthia - posted on 06/30/2010

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I am 40 weeks and 3 days today!!! Monday Dr. wanted me to induce (and they refused to see me at the office but the hospital) because I had a small leak for a few days - we weighed the risks and decided to give the boys a few more days - if nothing happens, we will get induced on Friday! We are carefully monitoring the heart rate and also preventative measures for infection, this morning the plug felt out, the labor should start very soon :)

Sara - posted on 06/29/2010

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Here they come! Once the babies are here, you won't want to look at anything else for quite a while. But let us know how it went when things quiet down.

Tali - posted on 06/28/2010

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Congratulations on carrying those babies so far. :) Good luck with your delivery and I hope it goes smoothly for you and your babies!

Cynthia - posted on 06/28/2010

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Well we changed at 30th week and today I am 40 weeks and 1 day. Just returned from the OB, they confirmed there's a very small leak of amniotic fluid for 2 days, and suggested that we go to the hospital right away, get antibiotics and pitocin. But after talking to our naturopathic doc and midwife, we decided to wait another day or two since we think the babies are coming soon anyway. I hear you, I do not like the way OBs (this one is actually the best and the one we saw today is a certified nurse-midwife) scare their patients by demanding them w/o giving an alternative, yes there's a chance of infection but its such a small leak and for us, we are the ones who ultimately decide what should be done, given that knowing what the risks are. I am sure they are not happy right now but virtually anything in life carries some risks, so we will see how this goes.

Tarina - posted on 06/28/2010

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The risks are that the placenta stops functioning and your babies will stop getting the nourishments they need from your body on the inside.... Ultrasounds can verify this. Let your body tell you when its time, your dr will keep a very close eye on both you and them and will let you know if it becomes medically necessary! Im currently @34 weeks with mine, and am simply put scared out of my mind trying to figure out when we will be delivering. My dr is very.... pushy? as far what she thinks has to happen and when (she's been using the "C-word" as she puts it for months now, while i silently pray for the baby on the bottom to turn head down cuz i really really want to have them naturally) Unfortunately in my situation, the dr change thing isnt really an option and im scared to piss of my dr since i cant change lol

Nicole - posted on 06/26/2010

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my obs advice over 36 weeks was weekly scans and resting as much as prossible she said if there's no reason they medical reason we should just wait I was induced at 36 weeks with healthy b/g twins as the person doing the scan got the measurements wrong and said that twin 2 wasn't growing and twin 1 was a big size when they came into the world twin twin 2 was bigger and there was only an ounce difference, the next day a lady delievered twins at 37 weeks and got to take them home 5 days later i had to stay for 2 weeks so the longer inside the better i say and wish i had lasted a little longer!!!! good luck!

Cynthia - posted on 06/25/2010

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We had to switch OB because the first one suggested induction and C-section at 38 weeks pregnant with my twins despite the fact that they've been both head down from 30th week and wasn't happy when we asked to move around during labor. The current one is very supportive of natural birth so we are trying for a medication-free natural delivery, and we are very excited about it!!! It definitely can be a struggle for fight for what you want though... and still be caught off guard, it will be nice if the docs explains the risks and benefits to patients before they go ahead and perform the "routine", unfortunately the norm is otherwise.

Sara - posted on 06/25/2010

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Great idea to have a doula. I wish I had done that, but I thought with a c-section, what could go wrong? But on this journey there is a surprise around every corner, so it's great to have other moms to talk to.

Cynthia - posted on 06/25/2010

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Wow, there are always so many surprises, never thought this would happen! I wish we could have a home birth but weighing the risks we still decided to go to the hospital, although we hired a midwife to be the doula, hopefully things will smoothly. Thanks for the tip!

Sara - posted on 06/25/2010

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They also can give it to you if your blood pressure goes up to prevent pre-eclampsia. Big surprise, on the most exciting day of my life when I was going to have the twins, my blood pressure was slightly elevated, though it has been low my whole life. My STUPID doctor put me on magnesium after the birth, when there is absolutely NO reason to do it because there's no such thing as post-eclampsia. He was just a complete idiot. I looked and felt queasy drunk with muscle spasms for about 24 hours until I told the nurses I did not consent to having that needle in my arm for another minute and touching somebody without their consent in Georgia constitutes criminal assault. They found a doctor, I repeated myself, and they took it out. But it was awful and I was totally unprepared to deal with it, so that's why I mentioned it. I hope your have an easy and fantastic birth experience. Being a mom of twins is amazing.

Cynthia - posted on 06/25/2010

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I thought the magnesium drip (or magnesium sulfate) is to stop pre-term labor, I searched online a bit and don't understand why they would use it on you???

Sara - posted on 06/25/2010

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Go Cynthia! Way to keep your doctor from being premature ;) I also recommend trying to avoid the magnesium drip. Find out what it is and what it does so if your doctor wants to put you on it "just in case" you can have a say about that too. I fought 'um off when they wanted to deliver early, but nobody warned me about the magnesium....yuk!

Cynthia - posted on 06/25/2010

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Hi Ladies, I am still intact, my doc is very supportive also, I am 39 weeks and 5 days today and we are not going to discuss about induction unless I go into 42nd week!

Linda - posted on 06/17/2010

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i carried my twins 40 weeks and 1 day....they werer healthy and weight was 7 lbs 6 oz and 6 lbs 7 oz...

Rolla - posted on 06/17/2010

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Hi Cynthia, i think that as you and the babies are fine its OK to be 38 weeks pregnant with twins and there is no risk on your life and their so every thing is fine don't worry

Mary - posted on 06/16/2010

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I carried my twins until 38 weeks, and a few days!! The only reason I delivered then was because of high blood pressure. My doctor told me the longer the better. I had to have a c-section and i remember my doctor telling me that they were not ready to be born, they hadnt even started moving down yet. But they were healthy and ready to go home the following day. Good Luck!!!

Dalia - posted on 06/16/2010

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I carried my babies 38 weeks and two days the doctor said no more time should be

Emily - posted on 06/15/2010

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My twins were born at forty weeks and three days. The doctor decided at that point to a c-section. I never went into labor. At 5'1 I just didn't have the room to contract. Do you go in weekly to have their heart rates monitored? I did this (as per the request of my doctor) and I must say it was helpful at easing any anxiety I might of had. Try not to worry... your babies are strong and healthy, and when they are ready your body will let you know.

Rebecca - posted on 06/14/2010

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my identical ( one placenta 2 sacks) not at risk for ttts cuz they have there own sack were born at 39weeks via c section i had a good pregnancy except the pupps rash and bed rest for a bit but everything else was great... my doc said i could have went till 40 weeks!

Cynthia - posted on 06/14/2010

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Thanks Ladies. Ours are fraternal boys, I guess the identical twins may have the Twin-to-Twin Transfusion Syndrome? We just returned from the OB's this morning (at 38w1d). I am .5 dilated and Baby A isn't fully engaged yet, but my doc said I could go into labor any time so the dilatation doesn't really mean anything (wondering why they do the cervix check anyway? Glad this was my first). They said I am doing really well being 38 weeks pregnant with twins so we don't need to talk about induction unless I go past 40 weeks. I am glad that they don't make me second-guess myself. The nurse I saw today had her twins at 40 weeks!

Tiffany - posted on 06/13/2010

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I am assuming you are carrying fraternal (two placenta twins.) There is a huge risk for identical to go past 36 weeks.

Jenn - posted on 06/13/2010

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My first set was taken at 39 weeks due to preeclampsia via c-section. Otherwise my doctor would have let me continue. This last set was set to be delivered at 37 weeks with a planned c-section but my water broke 4 days early. Both sets very healthy and no problems. I think you are lucky to have carried them for so long!!

CHERYL - posted on 06/13/2010

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hi i only got to 32 wks but a lady i no went to 41wks with twins against the midwifes wishes as she wanted a home birth so didnt want to be induced, she got what she wanted both born very healthy.goodluck

[deleted account]

If they are both head down, I would definitely hold firm on waiting until you go into labor. My first "out" was a complete breech, so I would have ended up having a c-section anyway, but I think it should have been when my body was ready. The lactation consultants and my OB all told me after (of course) that delays in milk coming in were very common with scheduled c-sections. Would have been nice to know that bit of info ahead of time!!

Cynthia - posted on 06/13/2010

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I have been searching for the "tragedies" but haven't found any. I think we will let them stay as long as they want, provided they are growing healthy and everything is going well. Thanks for the response, I never thought about the milk problem. We will also try the vaginal birth since both of them are head down still.

Quilty - posted on 06/12/2010

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I'm a HUGE fan of letting Mother Nature decide, unless there is a defined problem with the mother or the baby.

Cynthia - posted on 06/25/2010

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We had to switch OB because the first one suggested induction and C-section at 38 weeks pregnant with my twins despite the fact that they've been both head down from 30th week and wasn't happy when we asked to move around during labor. The current one is very supportive of natural birth so we are trying for a medication-free natural delivery, and we are very excited about it!!! It definitely can be a struggle for fight for what you want though... and still be caught off guard, it will be nice if the docs explains the risks and benefits to patients before they go ahead and perform the "routine", unfortunately the norm is otherwise.

Rolla - posted on 06/17/2010

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Hi Cynthia, i think that as you and the babies are fine its OK to be 38 weeks pregnant with twins and there is no risk on your life and their so every thing is fine don't worry

Cynthia - posted on 06/14/2010

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Thanks Ladies. Ours are fraternal boys, I guess the identical twins may have the Twin-to-Twin Transfusion Syndrome? We just returned from the OB's this morning (at 38w1d). I am .5 dilated and Baby A isn't fully engaged yet, but my doc said I could go into labor any time so the dilatation doesn't really mean anything (wondering why they do the cervix check anyway? Glad this was my first). They said I am doing really well being 38 weeks pregnant with twins so we don't need to talk about induction unless I go past 40 weeks. I am glad that they don't make me second-guess myself. The nurse I saw today had her twins at 40 weeks!

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