Midwife suspended after delivering premature twins at home birth
Apparently, the mum did not have any scans during her pregnancy...
Home births are becoming a more popular choice among pregnant mums, who want to have more control over their birth experience from the comfort of their home. When home births are attended by experienced midwives, in general, they are safe. However, if the mother is giving birth to twins, then perhaps a home birth is not the best option.
This is because delivering twins is generally more complicated, and if not monitored carefully, may result in health risks to both mum and babies. Recently in Melbourne, Australia, one mum opted for a home birth, and was surprised with twin babies. But, she didn’t expect the backlash her surprise twin birth stories would garner after it was posted on Facebook.
Surprise twin birth stories: Melbourne midwife suspended over ‘positive’ surprise birth
Martina Gorner, a Melbourne midwife under Ten Moons Homebirth Services recently assisted a mum’s delivery at home. She never expected to deliver twins at just 35 weeks into the pregnancy.
Initially, the mum’s successful surprise twin birth stories experience was shared publicly in a positive light on the Ten Moons Homebirth Services’ Facebook page.
But now according to reports, the Nursing and Midwifery Board of Australia has temporarily banned Ms. Gorner from providing her services while investigations into the premature twin home birth are underway.
Here’s the full Facebook Post:
Why weren’t the twins detected during scans?
Arguments, concerns for the baby and congratulations soon flooded the Facebook post.
Most netizens were astonished that the surprise twin pregnancy happened at all, thinking that previous scans ought to have picked it up. But it was later revealed that the mum in question did not go for any scans at all during her pregnancy.
One person commented that their friend was scanned a lot during her pregnancy journey but she “never picked up she was having twins”. The mum wasn’t dilated much and it was only during delivery that “she had her surprise twin birth.”
Another mum shares her experience, saying that:
“I had undiagnosed twins. They were in such a position on palp one of the babies head was in the usual placement for a behind and the other was low. Heartbeats were heard one at a time throughout and I only measured 2 cm ahead —- a variation of normal. When they want to stay incognito they do it very well.”
Surprise twin birth stories usually come with a high risk to the mum
Other netizens also highlighted that a pregnancy without scans and a surprise twin birth could have resulted in severe consequences for the family.
Carrying twins heightens the risk of complications like hypertension, preeclampsia, preterm labour, and fetal death, contrasted with a singleton pregnancy. “The fact is that proper twin prenatal care improves outcomes,” continues the post.
One mum was happy for the family’s pleasant surprise. However, she did caution mums against one possibly fatal consequence of twin pregnancies: Twin-twin transfusion syndrome (TTTS).
The condition, she says, is “deadly in up to 90% of cases if not treated during the pregnancy”. She emphasises that “weekly scans are essential” and that our babies wouldn’t be alive today without it.
“Wake up to yourselves: Scans are needed”
Apparently, the mum had opted for a home birth and did not take scans during her pregnancy. However, mums who were previously pregnant with twins strongly recommended scans to track the health and development of the babies during pregnancy.
One mum said that her scans were necessary to give her twins a chance to survive from a condition called Twin-Twin Syndrome, which requires a surgical procedure:
“Wake up to yourselves if you think scans are not vital! Had I not had a scan and realised my twins contracted Twin – Twin Syndrome, then we wouldn’t have had the option to give them a fighting chance at life with the surgery to separate their blood vessels that they were sharing. Unfortunately for us, my girls didn’t survive, but for many, this procedure saved their children’s lives!”
It’s the mum’s choice
Some people were sure scans are a crucial part of pregnancy. Others argued that they were “VERY loud and disruptive” towards unborn babies and could lead to additional risks.
But, the majority of those who commented felt that it was the mum’s right to handle her pregnancy and birth as she wanted.
One user reassures others to relax as the babies were healthy. They continue to say that excess fear in pregnancy and birth “is more dangerous to a mother and child than undiagnosed twins.”
Another comment argues against the negativity that people are saying: “Can’t you people just congratulate this new mama with the birth of her beautiful babies?! … Her body, her kids, her choice.”
Midwife may have additional consequences
Meanwhile, the midwife under consideration will join a hearing to decide if there are additional punishments professionally.
“The role of the Nursing and Midwifery Board of Australia is to maintain public safety. The NMBA also ensures that practitioners are upholding the trust the public people have in them,” says an NMBA representative. They also say that practitioners are given a chance to prove that their punishment isn’t necessary.
Which scans should I take during pregnancy?
Pregnancy scans are there for a reason, and that is to make sure that your baby is developing just fine. Here are some compulsory scans in Singapore:
Dating and Viability Scan
This is the first scan you need to take while pregnant. Your doctor will advise a dating and viability scan within the first trimester – usually five to six weeks into your pregnancy.
This scan will enable doctors to have an idea of the baby’s appearance. Doctors would normally see an early pregnancy sac in the uterus with the fetus floating inside it. Your doctor should also be able to see your little one’s heart beating by the sixth week of pregnancy.
This scan is performed to find out:
- How long you’ve been pregnant.
- Your expected date of delivery (EDD), which helps doctors advise you better. Also it can help you handle employment commitments, such as maternity leave and organise for baby care ahead of your due date.
- Whether you are pregnant with twins or triplets.
- Whether your pregnancy is occurring in the right place.
Nuchal Translucency Scan
The next step usually comes when your baby is between 77 to 97 days old (i.e. 11 weeks to 13 weeks 6 days) or when your baby measures around 45mm (1.8 inches) to 84mm (3.3 inches).
‘Nuchal translucency’ (NT) refers to fluid beneath the skin at the back of your baby’s neck is known as nuchal translucency. This scan measures how much fluid your baby has.
This scan is usually performed with a probe over your the abdominal area. Still, if the your little one is positioned differently such that his physical traits cannot be observed, doctors may opt to carry out the scan through the vagina instead.
This test is also performed to examine if your little one has any physical irregularities (e.g. congenital heart defects) or genetic issues (such as Down’s, Patau or Edward’s Syndromes).
Foetal Anomaly scan
Next is the Foetal Anomaly (or mid-pregnancy) scan. It’s done 18 to 20 weeks into your pregnancy (about the fifth month).
By this time your unborn baby has grown big enough such that doctors can carefully observe his major organs. This scan is necessary to check if your little one’s organs are developing properly, or how to manage the situation properly if they aren’t.
Your doctor will check your baby’s full anatomy – including the brain, heart and liver. You may also ask them about your child’s gender.
Usually, irregularities in the appearance of these organs alone are enough for doctors to suspect that the baby has a genetic condition. If that’s the case, they will order more tests later on to confirm the diagnosis and advise you on how to manage it, if any.
The last compulsory ultrasound scan is done 32 to 36 weeks (or eight to nine months) into your pregnancy. This scan is important in that your doctor can keep track of how your little one is growing. Expect some baby height measurements during your visits to the doctor during this time, too.
At the end of your second trimester, your baby should be growing properly. This scan is done to affirm that.
The doctor will check:
- That the amniotic fluid levels are enough, which sheds light on if the baby is healthy or not.
- How the baby is positioned in the womb, and where the placenta is. This can help doctors decide whether you should give birth vaginally or if a C-section is needed.
Mums, we hope this article on surprise twin birth stories has helped you make better decisions during your pregnancy journey. If you like this article, share your thoughts in the comments section below!