Twin pregnancies are definitely different from being pregnant with one baby. If this is your first pregnancy or your first twin pregnancy, you may be wondering if the process of your water breaking will be different than that of other pregnancies.
Does your water break twice with twins? This is a common question from many expecting twin mamas. If your twins are in individual amniotic sacs, both will break during the labor process. They will often break at the same time, but it is possible for them to rupture at different times causing your water to break twice.
Every twin pregnancy and labor is different; however, it is comforting to be informed so that you can prepare for anything. Let’s take a deeper look at what you might be able to expect during your twin labor.
Water Breaking With Twin Pregnancy
Water breaking is one of the most well-known and anticipated signs of labor. Is it the same process for a twin pregnancy? Yes and no.
There will be some things that are different but also things that are similar to a normal pregnancy.
Do Twins Have Separate Amniotic Sacs?
Twins can either share or have separate amniotic sacs. It really just depends on the type of twin pregnancy.
Fraternal twins are two separate fertilized eggs and usually develop in different amniotic sacs. Identical twins may share a sac, or each may have their own depending on how early the fertilized egg split into two.
What Causes Water to Break?
When a woman is in labor, her “water breaks” when the amniotic sac around her baby ruptures or tears, and the amniotic fluid begins to leak.
In most cases, the membranes are ruptured naturally as labor onsets. Progressing contractions and the baby moving toward the birth canal cause a tremendous amount of pressure that eventually causes the sac to break.
If you are being induced, a doctor will more than likely artificially rupture the amniotic sac using a plastic amniotic hook. While it sounds scary, this is painless and helps the labor to progress.
Sometimes, the amniotic sac can rupture prematurely before labor begins. This is known as a premature rupture of membranes (PROM) and can be dangerous for your unborn baby if it happens too early.
While the exact cause of PROM is unknown, there are risk factors including infection of the cervix or uterus, excessive stretching of the sac from carrying more than one baby, smoking, or previous surgeries on the cervix.
How Does Your Water Break With Twins?
Every pregnancy is different, and this is especially true for twin pregnancies. There is no way to predict when or how your water will break if you are pregnant with twins.
Many twin moms go into labor prematurely and may have their waters break before 37 weeks gestation.
There are a variety of reasons why some twin pregnancies result in preterm labor and delivery including hypertension, preeclampsia, growth restrictions, and PROM.
There are also plenty of twin moms that do not go into labor naturally and need to be induced! That was me!
In these cases, their doctor will break their water if their body doesn’t do it naturally during the induction process.
When I was induced with my di-di twins at 37 weeks, my doctor went to break my water and realized that my contractions had already caused my water to break on its own.
Will My Water Break Twice With Twins?
Yes — two amniotic sacs equal two breakages! If your twins have separate amniotic sacs, they may break at the same time, or one may break shortly after the first.
Does Water Break on Its Own With Twins?
A woman’s water can certainly break on its own with twins, just as it can in any other pregnancy.
Many twin moms experience preterm labor and their water breaking before their due date. Others need to have their water broken, especially if they are being induced.
Chances of Water Breaking With Twins
Many twin moms report that their water did not break until after they were induced or when they went in for their scheduled c-section.
However, there is always the chance of your water breaking early or on its own, especially with the weight and pressure of two little ones inside!
About 8-10% of pregnant women experience PROM (premature rupture of membranes), and 15% experience their water breaking before they get to the hospital.
When Your Doctor Might Intervene
If your water hasn’t broken on its own when you arrive at the hospital and you are five or more centimeters dilated, your OB will likely decide to break your water by hand, especially if your cervix seems to be making slow progress.
The reasoning behind this is to jumpstart labor and cause serious contractions to help the mother move into a more consistent pattern and lessen the need for a c-section.
Doctors may also perform an amniotomy for internal fetal monitoring or to identify signs of fetal distress.
When the amniotic sac is ruptured, a monitor can be placed on the baby’s head in order to measure and record fetal heartbeat during extended or high-risk labor.
Doctors can also examine the amniotic fluid to determine whether a baby has passed meconium, which will help them determine the next steps.
What Does It Feel Like When Your Water Breaks?
The feeling of water breaking is different for every mom. It doesn’t always happen the way it does in the movies with a big gush and a puddle of water on the floor!
While some women do experience a gush of warm fluid coming out of them, most describe it as a slow leak or trickle. Many women report not having any idea that their water had broken until they arrived at the hospital with contractions.
One thing is the same across the board, however, and that is that your water breaking should be painless.
How Long Can You Stay Pregnant After Your Water Breaks?
Ideally, your baby will be delivered within 24 hours of your water breaking. After 24 hours, the risk of infection increases greatly.
However, there are several courses of treatment that your doctor may take if your water breaks early, including premature delivery or delaying labor and using antibiotics, steroids, and supplements to help the baby continue to develop safely while in the womb.
Twin Pregnancy Labor Signs
The labor signs for a twin pregnancy are the same as those expected of a singleton pregnancy — they may just come a lot sooner! If only we knew exactly when and how twin labor would happen… but it is extremely unpredictable.
There is no one-size-fits-all answer; however, there are some common signs that you can look for to know that labor and the arrival of your little ones are near:
- Tightening in the uterus/ Braxton Hicks contractions
- Menstrual-like cramps
- Increased vaginal or pelvic pressure and backache
- Constipation and gas
- Increased vaginal discharge or fluid leaking
- Nausea, vomiting, diarrhea
- Less movement or kicking by your babies
Labor With Twins: When To Go To The Hospital
For moms carrying twins or other multiples, delivery could come at any time.
Some women experience preterm labor and feel all of the normal labor signs. Others may go to a routine checkup and find out that they will be delivering that day. It is wild and unpredictable!
If you happen to be one of the twin mamas who go into labor naturally early in your pregnancy, call your doctor if you experience any of the following preterm labor signs:
- Contractions every 10 minutes or more often that do not go away within an hour after changing your position, relaxing, and drinking water.
- You have any of the warning signs listed above, and they get worse.
- Pain is severe or persistent.
After discussing your signs of premature labor, your doctor will likely tell you to go to the hospital. If you are unable to get in touch with your doctor, go to the hospital! It is always better to be safe than sorry!
If you are close to full term for twins (37 weeks) and you notice labor signs, you will likely be able to labor at home for a few hours and treat it like a normal full-term labor.
Twin labors typically take longer than labor for a singleton pregnancy. Wait to go to the hospital until you are experiencing regular, long contractions that are happening at least every 5 minutes for more than 2 hours.
Can Your Water Break Twice?
Fun fact: your water can break twice! The amniotic sac is made of the amnion and the chorion, which are like two balloons inside of one another.
When your water breaks, both typically rupture at the same time. However, one could rupture before the other, causing your water to break twice.
Do Twins Share a Placenta?
Not all twins share a placenta. Depending on the type of twin pregnancy, twins may or may not share a placenta. Fraternal twins will each have their own amniotic sac and placenta while 70% of identical twins will share a placenta.
Any Warning Before Water Breaks?
There are no signs that your water is going to break. However, most women are already in labor and experiencing contractions before their water breaks.
As much as we would like to, we cannot plan out our labor, especially when we are pregnant with twins! It is so unpredictable and can happen when you least expect it.
It is also such a different process for everyone. The best thing you can do is be informed of the signs and trust that your doctor will know exactly how to help you and your precious babies!
Charlynn is an educator and mom to fraternal boy/girl twins. She loves learning through the experiences she has with her littles and using her knowledge to help other moms as they embark on the journey of motherhood.