Having twins may not be a very rare occurrence, but it could still cause you to panic.
How do you handle 2 babies at the same time? Will this affect you and your body in any way? Are there things you should know? Fret not, we’re here to help you go through it.
Here are some things you need to know if you’re expecting twins:
1. You may need extra folic acid.
Manju Monga, the Berel Held Professor and the division director of maternal-fetal medicine at the University of Texas Health Sciences Center in Houston, explains that women pregnant with twins may need more folic acid to help stave off birth defects. “We recommend 1 milligram of folic acid per day for twin pregnancies and 0.4 milligrams for singleton pregnancies,” she said. Folic acid is also known to reduce the risk of neural tube birth defects such as spina bifida.
2. You’ll be spending more time at the obstetrician.
Because double the baby means double the care. “We tend to do more frequent ultrasounds for growth in twin pregnancies, compared with one anatomy scan and one growth scan in a singleton pregnancy,” Monga says.
3. Morning sickness may be worse.
Director and chief of maternal and fetal medicine and surgery at Hackensack University Medical Center in New Jersey Abdulla Al-Khan explains, “One of the things that is postulated as causing morning sickness is high levels of human chorionic gonadotropin, and we know that levels of this hormone are higher in twin pregnancies, so women carrying twins have a higher incidence of nausea and vomiting in the first trimester.”
4. You’ll experience higher levels of pain.
Those pregnant with twins will also experience more back pain, sleeping difficulties, and heartburn compared to moms who are only carrying one child, says Monga. The former also have a higher rate of maternal anemia and a higher rate of postpartum hemorrhage (bleeding) after delivery.
5. Spotting may be more common.
“When you spot in the first trimester, you could be undergoing a miscarriage, and miscarriages are more common in mothers of twins, triplets, and quadruplets – so we see more spotting in first trimester with multiples“, explains Al-Khan. That’s not to say you should panic because a little spotting in the absence of cramps is reassuring. Unless you start cramping, passing clots, and actively bleeding – that’s when you should seek medical advice.
6. You may gain more weight.
“With twins, mothers gain more weight as there are 2 babies, 2 placentas, and more amniotic fluid. You also need more calories for twin pregnancies,” says Al-Khan. Monga further explains that the average weight gain is 25 pounds for singleton pregnancy and 30 to 35 pounds for twins. So if you find yourself gaining more weight, it’s perfectly normal.
7. You are at a higher risk of developing gestational diabetes.
However, you’re still less likely to develop gestational diabetes compared to if you’ve had a larger baby or went through a C-section. “While gestational diabetes is more common, the morbidity associated with it is less common because twin babies are not big babies,” Monga said.
8. Labor and delivery may come earlier.
Most moms carrying twins go into labor at 36 to 37 weeks, as opposed to 40 in a single pregnancy, Al-Khan says, and some may go even earlier. “Generally, if the twins are born after 34 weeks, there should not be a major concern, but a premature baby is still a premature baby. Twins are at higher risk of preterm labor and delivery and have higher degree of respiratory issues,” he explained. As a result of being born too early, twins may be born at low birth weights, and such babies tend to have more health problems than babies born weighing more than 5.5 pounds.