What You Should Know
Finding out you are pregnant is always a surprise and a dream come true for many couples. However, finding out you are pregnant with twins might fill you with fear and anxiety in regard to the pregnancy and how you will handle two infants at the same time. Or, you might simply be overjoyed at the prospect of an instant family. Regardless, there is no need to worry and you should learn all there is to know about a twins pregnancy, possible medical problems increased when carrying twins, and how to prepare for a double rather than single birth.
The differences in a twins pregnancy and a single pregnancy may or may not be noticed by the mother-to-be. Some signs and symptoms, however, do exist. For example, some women pregnant with twins have an intuition or simply feel as if they are pregnant with more than one baby. Of course, this is not a definitive sign or symptom but many women's intuition turns out correctly. Another sign is increased morning sickness or quicker weight gain. While a single pregnancy can result in increased morning sickness or quicker than normal weight gain as well it is more common with a double pregnancy. Other more telltale signs include results of blood tests for HCG and/or AFP. If these results are abnormally high they are generally indicative of double occupancy. Around 20 weeks your obstetrician may feel your belly and find two heads. Of course, this is not always the case even in a twins pregnancy, but it is a possible. Increased uterus size is also a sign, but can also occur in singles pregnancies for a variety of reasons as well. Ultrasounds are the most reliable form of detecting two babies and generally are not accurate until 7-8 weeks and still a second baby or second heartbeat may be missed.
There are some health risks that exist or are increased when carrying twins although this does not mean that if you are pregnant with twins you will develop complications. Although risk is increased, most women have healthy twin pregnancies and deliver healthy babies. However, the risk for miscarriage of one baby is higher, although the second baby normally survives and is born happy and healthy. Pre-term labor is another risk that is increased due to a double pregnancy, not to mention preeclampsia and fetal growth restriction. Preeclampsia is a condition where the mother's blood pressure is too high and can be more severe and develop earlier in a twins pregnancy. Fetal growth restriction occurs when one of the twins is not growing at the proper rate. However, if you experience any of these problems during your pregnancy you should not worry and simply follow your doctor's instructions.
Typical treatments for these complications that occur during a twins pregnancy are treated with bed rest, medications or even hospitalization. However, when problems are detected early in a pregnancy treatment is generally more successful. Also, when the pregnancy reaches 36 weeks regardless of complications you are no longer considered to be in the danger zone and as a result can relax and await your new babies.
A double birth is really no different than a single birth except that labor is generally a little longer because you have to give birth twice, rather than just once. Although, the pain and general feelings associated with labor are practically the same. There is no difference in how you will feel with a twin c-section as compared to a single section, either. The best thing you can do to prepared for delivery of twins is to rest up, eat healthy, exercise moderately and follow all of your doctors directions. You will need all the rest you can while you are pregnant because when you give birth to twins you will not get much rest at all.