Twice the Joy, Twice the Care
Medikoe Health Expert
Koramangala, bengaluru, karnataka, india, Bengaluru Feb 9, 2017
You’ve got a bonanza — you’re having twins! Your babies are busy developing and going to meet you, and you’re also on an exciting journey approaching the day you’ll take them home.
There are very few experiences in life which are more magical than being pregnant, especially when you are pregnant with twins. Being able to birth two beautiful angels at one time is a blessing, but twin pregnancy needs more care and monitoring.
According to a study, a twin pregnancy is more expected to occur when you are in the age group of the 30s or 40s. During this period, your ovulatory periods tend to be variable, as such you are likely to ovulate two follicles simultaneously, which could biologically begin to formulate twins.
Use of ART or assisted reproductive technologies (such as in-vitro fertilisation) also increases the chances of twins or other multiples.
Types of twins
Fraternal (non-identical) twins
The fraternal twins are born when two different sperms fertilise two distinct eggs and implant in the uterus during the same time. These twins may either be of the same or another sex.
The identical twins are born when the same egg fertilises and splits into two, creating the same genes. Hence, identical twins are mostly of the same sex and also tend to look alike, as they have the same chromosomes.
Twin Pregnancy Symptoms
If you see any early symptoms of pregnancy, a home pregnancy test might clarify you, being pregnant. But, only your healthcare consultant can unveil if you’re pregnant with twins or not, usually during an ultrasound scan at 12 weeks.
Managing a twin pregnancy can be strenuous and hence, the challenges of bringing the twins will gradually grow from the first week of pregnancy.
1-4 Weeks Pregnant With Twins
Implantation bleeding. Light spotting can happen around when the fertilised eggs attach to the uterine lining, usually around two weeks after fertilisation.
Breast tenderness. Hormonal changes can cause swollen breasts and may occur with more severe pain when you're pregnant with twins. An extra amount of the hormone hCG (human chorionic gonadotropin) is produced in your body.
5-8 Weeks Pregnant With Twins
Frequent urination. The amount of blood increases in your body during the fertilisation stage, and even more when carrying twins. The kidney processes this extra fluid and ends up with more fluid in your bladder, hence, making you urinate more. But, you need to keep yourself hydrated even in this case.
Fatigue. You may feel fatigued as there’s an increase in the hCG and progesterone hormone levels. Try to take rest whenever it’s possible.
Nausea and vomiting. Morning sickness can be more severe in case of pregnancy with twins than with a singleton pregnancy, but this is not the same in every case.
9-13 Weeks Pregnant With Twins
Enlarged breasts. Milk organs and fatty tissues in your breasts develop to feed not one but two babies.
Increased vaginal discharge. As twin pregnancy involves an increased level of blood and hormones in your body, you might also begin to see more vaginal discharge. This is absolutely normal as long as it’s odourless and white or clear.
14-17 Weeks Pregnant With Twins
Weight gain. You might need to gain between 37 to 54 pounds of weight if it was already a healthy weight. It is recommended to add about 600 calories to your diet per day when you are carrying twins.
Lower back pain. You can experience strain in your back as your uterus and belly expand due to which your posture changes. You can do some safe stretches or exercises to ease the discomfort and strengthen your back muscles, after consulting your doctor.
18-22 Weeks Pregnant With Twins
Difficulty sleeping. It might be harder to get a good night’s sleep. You can try sleeping on your side, using pillows to support your belly.
Stretch marks and itchy skin. Your skin stretches in this phase, and as hormonal changes lose the elastic tissue beneath your skin, stretch marks appear which can make your skin itchy. Keeping yourself hydrated with plenty of water and using a gentle moisturiser can help with the itchiness.
Dizziness. Try to move slowly and lie down on your side as you may feel lightheaded.
Quickening. When you can feel your baby's movement for the very first time, it is called quickening.
23-27 Weeks Pregnant With Twins
Hot flashes. Generation of more heat than usual during pregnancy is often the result of hormonal changes and a speedier metabolism. Wearing comfortable clothes and being hydrated can help keep you fresh.
High blood pressure. With every prenatal check-up, your blood pressure will also be checked. A severe blood pressure disorder called preeclampsia, which is a bit more common in twin pregnancies than in single pregnancies, will be reviewed by your healthcare specialist.
28-32 Weeks Pregnant With Twins
Hip and pelvic pain. After your babies are born, this pain will possibly go away, but if you feel any insensitivity in your feet or legs, do let your doctor know about it.
Braxton Hicks contractions. You may feel contractions this trimester, but these do not inevitably mean you are going into labour! These tightenings could be false labour contractions, or Braxton Hicks contractions to help prepare your body for the real deal but don’t open the cervix. It usually occurs irregularly, can stop when you change positions, and typically do not increase in intensity as true labour contractions do.
Haemorrhoids. Increased blood flow to the pelvic region along with the pressure of a larger uterus can result in haemorrhoids, which are painful veins around the rectum. Eat high-fibre foods and take warm baths to help alleviate any discomfort.
33-36 Weeks Pregnant With Twins
Leg swelling or pain. Sudden swelling in your feet might be because of fluid retention or preeclampsia. Let your consultant know if you have swelling.
Fatigue. If you’re feeling extra tired or dizzy, take some nap daytime and do some easy exercise to keep your energy levels up.
Deep vein thrombosis. This is not the most common condition during twins pregnancy; this blood clot can occur if you’ve been suggested to rest on the bed by your doctor.
37-40 Weeks Pregnant With Twins
Snoring. If you snore while sleeping, try wearing nasal strips or using a humidifier at night.
Difficulty moving. As you carry two babies, it would be challenging for you to move around. Take things gently and make yourself relaxed whenever you can.
What do you need to do when expecting twins?
More frequent check-ups to track your baby’s growth and development, monitor your health, and watch for signs of preterm labour. You might need numerous ultrasounds or other tests, especially as your pregnancy progresses.
More emphasis on specific nutrients like folic acid, calcium, iron, protein and other essential nutrients. If you’re already eating a healthy diet, keep it up – and be sure to take a daily prenatal vitamin. Your health care provider might recommend an iron supplement as well.
More weight gain. Gaining the right amount of weight can support your baby’s health. It also makes it easier to shed the extra pounds after delivery. For twins, the recommendation is often about 17 to 25 kilograms (37 to 54 pounds) for women who have a healthy weight before pregnancy – which might require about 600 extra calories a day, depending on your activity level. Work with your health care provider to determine what’s right for you.
More precautions. Check with your doctor at motherhood who might ask you to curtail activities such as work, travel and physical activity as your pregnancy progresses. Although bed rest isn’t proven to be an effective way to prevent preterm labour, it’s sometimes suggested as a precaution to encourage foetal growth and reduce the risk of complications.
How to care for twins?
While pregnancy elevates your joys into motherhood, it comes with a set of extreme precautions that you need to follow. Once your body is healthy and has sufficient nutrients to enable good growth of the foetuses, you deliver healthy babies.
As you are likely to deliver early during a twin pregnancy, make sure to plan and ask your doctor about prenatal health care and also about hospitals that have facilities with Neonatal intensive care units.
Healthy multiples have the same needs as other newborns. Yet with twins, you’ll have a double dose. You might need more rest and support than you imagined, especially if your babies are born prematurely or require special medical care after birth. Take time to enjoy your babies — and ask friends, loved ones and others for help when you need it.
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