Twins The Early Hours in Neonatal Intensive CareWhere 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. During this time you are likely to be either in the birth unit or in recovery. This depends on whether your babies were born vaginally or by caesarean.

It is difficult to have your babies separated from you so soon after birth. Remember that your twins are getting the very best care available. It is also important for you to ask questions. Why have your babies been transferred? How long are they likely to need to remain in the NICU? How can you spend time with them? Your babies stay in the NICU may range from a matter of hours to many weeks or months. This depends 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. This includes for the very premature babies. Parents and sometimes close family members can use the Kangaroo Cuddle or the Kangaroo Care method. This helps parents 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.

Breastfeeding

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

References

  • 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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