Of all the surprises you may experience during your pregnancy, hearing your physician tell you that you're having twins may be one of the biggest shocks. On one hand, it's an uncommon enough event that you may be overjoyed by the news. On the other hand, you have a lot more responsibility when raising twins. There's no denying that they're harder to take care of than one child. You'll need to take everything you were expecting to do, then double it. You'll have to change twice the diapers, feed twice the mouths and burp twice the babies.
You'll also have to take twice the care during their week to week fetal development. During the first few days of your pregnancy, twins can develop in different ways. They can be identical or not, but there are a few other changes going on in your body that your doctor may need to monitor more closely. One situation that can occur with identical twins is known as monochorionicity. This is when your twins share a placenta. While non-identical twins always have their own placentas, and many identical twins do as well, if embryo division occurs after three days, they'll share a placenta. If it occurs after nine days, they'll also share an amniotic sac - though this only occurs in 1 percent of all identical twins, according to Radiopaedia.org.
Test early, test often
If you're having twins, your doctor should perform a chorionicity scan between 11 weeks and 14 weeks. Making sure you have this scan is important, since a number of complications can arise when your twins share a placenta. One of the most significant problems is that one baby can get too much blood, while the other receives too little. Too much blood can put strain on the developing fetus' heart, while too little can cause growth problems.
While you may not want to know the sex or other traits about your child, Ob.Gyn. News stressed the need to have a chorionicity test and to follow up on it every two weeks.
"This is one of the times that I have to say that ultrasound makes all the difference," Larry Rand, M.D., told Ob.Gyn. News. "The single most important ultrasound finding in the entire pregnancy is going to be the chorionicity."
Ob.Gyn. News noted that if you're having twins, asking about this test should be the first question you ask your physician because of the risks involved. During your first trimester, doctors have a relatively easy time finding a singular placenta, but this becomes more difficult as your twins develop. If the condition's identified, your amniotic fluid should be tested every two weeks until week 28, and your fetal growth should be monitored every four weeks until week 32.
Are you having twins? If you already had them, did you learn any tricks about raising them both at the same time? Let us know by leaving a comment below!