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.
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.
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.
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 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: