Twins: Double the Trouble!

by Savannah Hernandez and Tabatha Jones

No one in my family had twins, so you can image it was a big shock when I found out I had two babies growing in me at the same time. Remembering the day the doctor told us always brings a smile to my face. As he was doing the usual ultrasound during my 3rd month, he says in a calm voice. "Here is the baby's heart," then moving to another location, "and here is the other baby's heart."

Just as I did then, I still stop breathing for a minute. Although extremely excited I was also very scared. I didn't know what to expect of the pregnancy, delivery, and oh my gosh how was I going to take care of two babies? No one can truly prepare you for twins but I am going to try to help.

Double the Symptoms

You are probably wondering what pregnancy symptoms you will have. The majority of twin moms had the same symptoms as a normal pregnancy, just multiplied.

Double the Nausea
Many women experience increased nausea and vomiting, referred to as morning sickness. If you have severe vomiting and can't keep any liquids down for over 48 hours you should contact your doctor. They may want to hook you up to an IV to keep you hydrated. Lack of hydration can lead to pre-term labor.

Double the Size
Maybe not exactly double but definitely bigger. One sure symptom for a twin pregnancy is a bigger belly. Expect to gain is about 1 pound per week, or about 40 pounds for a full twin pregnancy. Weight gain for a single pregnancy is normally 25 pounds. You may want to eat especially healthy when carrying twins.

You don't want to get too big. Too much weight can push you into pre-term labor. Many women complain that the sleepless nights were multiplied to what at the time felt like a million times. Since your stomach will grow significantly larger than a normal pregnancy you can expect to be pretty uncomfortable.

Double the Movements
Yes, you can expect more movement. Many women pregnant with twins experience more movement than normal. You may feel a kick at the top of your stomach and at the same time as one in your back.

My four-year-old and I used to love to lay on my back and just watch them move. "It's an earthquake in your tummy," he would say.

It is normal for the movement to slow down later in your pregnancy since there won't be much room for them to move. I highly suggest watching a movie on twin development in the womb. It is truly amazing to watch them interact. Consider getting a 3d ultrasound video done.

Double the Ultrasounds

One of my personal favorites was the extra chances to see the babies. Ultrasounds are used more often in twin pregnancy to check for potential problems. An early ultrasound with twins is needed to establish the due date and to see if they are developing in separate amniotic sacs. If they share the same sac there are more risk and complications. Fortunately, this is a rare occurrence with twins, only about 1% of all twins. Ultrasound is an excellent way to comparing the sizes of the twins. One baby may be slightly larger but hopeful not too much. Sometimes one baby will steal from the other.

Double the Complications

Twin pregnancies are at a much higher risk of premature labor. They are also at risk for low birth weight, gestational diabetes, high blood pressure, toxemia of pregnancy, and complications of delivery.

Premature Labor
Premature is anything less than 37 weeks completed. Over 60% of all twins will deliver prematurely. Most of these premature deliveries occur after 34 weeks, which lowers overall long-term risks to the babies.

Deliveries before 34 weeks, especially those before 32 weeks, can result in low birth weight, and increased risks of permanent disabilities such as cerebral palsy, mental retardation, hearing or vision problems.

The best timing for delivery of twins is earlier than the actual due date. Keeping them in until the due date may result in larger babies, but also further increases the risks of placental complications, labor-related complications, and delivery-related complications. The ideal timing for delivery of twins is from 37 1/2 to 38 weeks pregnancy.

Signs of premature labor include:

  • cramps, contractions, and menstrual pains
  • increasing pelvic or vaginal pressure
  • increasing low back pain
  • heavy vaginal discharge
  • vaginal spotting or bleeding
  • rectal pressure

If you experience any of these signs you should contact your doctor. Better safe than sorry.

Double the Delivery

The likelihood of a vaginal delivery with your twins is about 50%. In order for your doctor to consider a vaginal delivery both babies need to be head down, both should weigh more than 4-5 pounds, and be more than 35-36 weeks gestation. They should be similar in size with no evidence of growth problems. No other pregnancy complications should be present such as high blood pressure or low placenta.

Twin deliveries usually occur in an operating room with personnel standing by prepared at any moment for an emergency cesarean section. Twins born from cesarean section are usually both about 1 minute apart. Many consider cesarean section to be a better option for twin births since if complication arrives they are better prepared. This is however something you should talk about with your doctor.

I experienced toxemia, often referred to as preeclampsia, which led to an emergency cesarean section. I was scared out of my mind when all they wheeled me down to the operating room at 34 weeks. Five minutes after the epidural, my baby boys were born.

Everyone's experience is different. Just be sure to find a doctor you trust and who will keep you as informed as possible.

Double the Questions

Get prepared now. Everyone is going to want to know are they?

Fraternal Twins: Fraternal twins occur when a women ovulates more than one egg a month. Two babies are born of the same pregnancy that was fertilized by two separate eggs and two separate sperm. Fraternal twins may be of the same or opposite sex and will differ genetically as well as in appearance. Fraternal twins resemble each other the same as any other sibling. Two-thirds of twins are fraternal.

Identical Twins: Identical twins medically occur when an ovum splits during early embryonic development, resulting in two offspring of the same pregnancy. Identical twins are always of the same sex, have the same genetic makeup, possess identical blood groups and will resemble each other physically. Only one-third of all twins are identical.

Do twins run in your families?
When having twins, parents often find themselves subject to questions regarding genetics and the birth of their twins. Fraternal twins run in families since releasing more than one egg during ovulation is a trait that tends to run in families. Identical twins come from the same egg. There is no concrete link between a genetic inheritance and identical twins.

Savannah Hernandez and Tabatha Jones, founders of Mommy Appelseed Maternity Clothing, grew up together and have remained close friends ever since. They came up with the idea of starting an online maternity clothes boutique while discussing their decisions to expand our families. Remembering the dull maternity fashions during their first pregnancies compelled them to open an maternity clothes boutique that offered comfortable, sexy maternity clothes without sacrificing style.

Copyright © Mommy Appelseed Maternity Clothing. Permission to republish granted to Pregnancy.org.