Vaginal twin birth

Exciting new research has shown that vaginal birth is as safe as caesarean for twin births.

It has long been thought that twins are best born by caesarean, with some care providers declining to offer a vaginal twin birth service.

A new Canadian study shows that, in fact, the rate of complications is no greater with vaginal birth than with caesarean, and in fact, in minimising the need for caesarean, we are minimising the risks to the woman and in her subsequent pregnancy/ies.

The research involved 1,398 women who are assigned to caesarean, and 1,406 women who were assigned to vaginal birth.  Vaginal birth only proceeded if the first twin was head-first, so in eventuality, slightly less than 50% of the vaginal birth group actually gave birth vaginally.  This represents quite a high caesarean rate (just over 50%), but with a care provider who is skilled in vaginal breech birth, there is no reason to believe that this high rate of caesarean needs to occur in practice.

The researchers found that the risk of serious complications was virtually identical in the two groups, being just over 1%.

Curiously, the risk of death was slightly higher - 0.4% - in the caesarean group.  It was 0.3% in the vaginal birth group.