What to expect when you are expecting twins
Having one baby can be overwhelming enough – so what happens when you’re expecting two at the same time?
A woman has a comparatively higher chance of having twins if she has a family history of twins. A family history of twins on the mother’s side increases this likelihood more than a family history on the father’s side. However, this only applies if conception takes place without the use of fertility treatments.
If you’re thrilled, scared, extremely anxious (or all three), it’s natural to have mixed emotions and is understandable.
What exactly are twins?
We all know that twins mean two babies BUT there are actually three different types of twins.
Your doctor will be able to explain this to you at your appointments but in a nutshell it comes down to whether two eggs were fertilised around the same time or whether one egg was fertilised and then split into two (babies).
There are three different types of twins: –
- Dichorionic diamniotic (DCDA) twins – each has their own separate placenta with its own separate inner membrane (amnion) and outer membrane (chorion)
- Monochorionic diamniotic (MCDA) twins – share a single placenta with a single outer membrane and two inner membranes
- Monochorionic monoamniotic (MCMA) twins – share both the inner and outer membranes.
Depending on the type of twins ; you may require fortnightly to monthly scans from as early as 16 weeks
Many mums-to-be find these extra scans reassuring, keeping a close eye on your baby’s growth and development as the pregnancy progresses.
Your doctor will also guide you regarding appointments frequency depending on the type of twins.
There are no surprises in the fact that moms who are expecting twins will have a visibly larger belly than moms with singleton pregnancy. A mom of twins is possibly to see more severe morning sickness symptoms with twins, and earlier in the gestation period. You’ll gain more weight than if you were carrying one baby but there’s no definitive answer as to how much you’ll put on.
Moms who are pregnant with twins should exercise as it will help to tone up muscles and ward off aches and pains, not to mention strengthen your body for labour . Exercises that won’t overstress your joints, such as walking, swimming, pregnancy yoga, or tai chi are suggested by the doctors during this period.
You’ll feel big and uncomfortable in your third trimester but remember that you’ll most likely deliver the babies at 37 weeks, so you won’t be pregnant for as long as you would be with one baby.
The risk of complications do increase a little when you’re carrying more than one baby.
Pregnancy complications you need to be aware of are:
- Pre term labour
- Gestational diabetes
- Growth restriction – it will be detected in scans and you may need to deliver early as a result.
- TTTS(twin twin transfusion syndrome)- this affects roughly 1 in 7 pregnancies with twins where placenta is shared and one baby doesn’t get enough blood. Your doctor will monitor closely through out pregnancy.
You will also be advised by your gynaecologist to deliver the babies at or before 37 to 38 weeks to lessen the risk of complications at birth.
In terms of your giving birth to twins, you still will have both the options as are for delivering single baby
- natural vaginal birth
Luckily, despite being in a ‘high risk’ category; most mothers have healthy multiple pregnancies.