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Twins The Early Hours in Neonatal Intensive Care

Twin in neonatal intensive care

Where your twin babies are preterm and/or experiencing difficulties, they will be transferred to either the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) or special care nursery. Your partner or designated support person can generally accompany the babies while you are either in the birth unit or in recovery depending on whether your babies were born vaginally or by caesarean.

It can be difficult to have your babies separated from you so soon after birth but it is important to remember that their welfare must come first. It is also important to ask questions about why your babies have been transferred, how long they may need to remain in the NICU and how you can spend time with them. Your babies stay in the NICU may range from a matter of hours to many weeks or months depending on maturity and complications.

Skin to skin contact

Today’s NICUs are well versed in the importance of supporting skin to skin contact for babies, including the very premature. Using the Kangaroo Cuddle or Kangaroo Care method, parents and in some cases close family members, will be encouraged to have skin to skin cuddles with the babies. This can be achieved even where your child is still in a humidicrib. Regular skin to skin contact has been shown to substantially increase the survival rate, and reduce the rate of complications, experienced by preterm babies.


Whether birthing twins or a singleton, breast milk is considered the best food for your babies. If breastfeeding is your choice, work with your practitioners to ensure your babies can either be breastfed or offered expressed breast milk where feeding is difficult due to prematurity. Seeking the support of a lactation consultant, versed in feeding twins and/or premature infants, will help to establish feeding positions and methods effective and appropriate for you and your babies.


  • multiples.about.com/od/pregnancy/tp/Why-Twins-are-Born-Early.htm
  • www.birth.com.au/Twins-triplets-or-more/Twin-positions
  • www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1481670/
  • www.ivillage.com/must-i-have-epidural-when-i-give-birth-my-twins/6-n-145601
  • healthy-mother.com/in-a-twin-birth-how-long-to-wait-for-the-second-twin

This article was published 22nd January 2012

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