Pregnant with Multiples: what to expect
Written by Super User   

Finding out that you are expecting twins may come as a shock: here's what to expect during your pregnancy.

 How will I feel during my pregnancy?
Finding out that you are expecting twins may come as a complete shock, and it may take a while for it to sink in. You may worry about how you will cope with two babies at once, or be concerned about complications with the pregnancy or birth.
As your babies grow, you will probably become tired easily and need to rest quite a bit. You will put on more weight than if you were pregnant with just one baby, and this may sometimes get you down.
Finding out as much as you can about your antenatal care may ease your worries. You'll be offered more regular checks and scans than if you were carrying one baby. This is to monitor the health of your babies.
Keep in mind that the majority of mums expecting twins or more give birth to healthy babies, and complications are relatively rare. Having a caesarean is more common with twins, but many women still have a vaginal birth.
Mums of twins are more likely to feel anxious or depressed during pregnancy and after birth. This may partly be due to worry about the increased risks involved. But this doesn't mean that this will happen to you. Going to a twins-specific antenatal or parenting class may help you to prepare.
To gain the energy you need during and after your pregnancy, try to eat a healthy diet and take gentle exercise. But check with your doctor or midwife before starting any new exercise programme.

 Are pregnancy symptoms worse with twins?
You may suffer more from some of the usual niggles and symptoms of pregnancy if you are expecting twins. But this is not always the case.
Nausea and vomiting can be more of a problem with twins. You will have higher levels of the pregnancy hormone human chorionic gonadotropin (hCG), which may trigger morning sickness.
In the early stages of pregnancy, higher levels of the hormone progesterone can make you feel short of breath. Later on, having two babies pushing up against your diaphragm can also make breathlessness worse.
You may also be more likely to have constipation, heartburn, indigestion, wind and bloating.
Later in your pregnancy there is more of a strain on your muscles because you are carrying additional weight, so back pain may be a problem.

 Will I gain more weight if I am expecting twins?
You are likely to gain more weight than mums who are expecting one baby. As in any pregnancy, try to eat a healthy diet to provide you and your babies with the nutrients you need. Eating healthily will also ensure that you gain enough weight for your babies to grow well.

 Will I have extra antenatal care?
Yes. You'll be offered extra scans and antenatal appointments if you are expecting twins.
The exact number of appointments and scans depends on:
    - your individual situation
    - whether you've experienced pregnancy complications
    -  whether or not your babies share a placenta (identical twins)
Twins who share a placenta are more likely to experience complications than twins who each have their own placenta.
These extra scans will monitor your twins and check how well they are growing. Scans will also pick up any complications that may be developing. You'll have regular blood pressure and urine checks, because pregnant women expecting twins have a higher risk of developing:
    - high blood pressure
    - pre-eclampsia
    - gestational diabetes
    -  anaemia
You should be offered an extra blood test for anaemia when you are between 20 weeks and 24 weeks pregnant, and a repeat test at 28 weeks.
Your health professionals should offer you and your partner extra practical and emotional support if you are having twins. Your doctor or midwife should explain why you may need extra tests and scans.

 How will I cope?
You'll need plenty of rest, as you will be tired while carrying two babies, though bed rest is not recommended. You may find it hard to sleep at night, which will add to your tiredness.
Getting help with errands and household chores before your babies are born should ease the burden. If you have older children, ask a friend or relative to look after them occasionally, so you can rest. Grab daytime naps when you can, and if you have a toddler, join her when she has her naps. Make rest a priority.
If you are working, consider taking maternity leave as early as you can. This makes sense anyway because carrying twins is hard work, and most twins arrive earlier than single babies. More than half of twins arrive early, before 37 weeks.
Talk to your midwife or doctor if you are feeling down about your pregnancy. They will understand how you are feeling and offer suggestions or support from a specialist, if you need it.

 Where else can I find support?
If you're having twins, it's important to ask for help. If friends and family offer to lend a hand, let them. If they don't offer to help, ask. Consider contacting a support group for advice and to meet other mums of twins.
Multiples2Multiples society offer information and local support networks for families with twins or more.

 What danger signs do I need to watch out for?
The danger signs to look out for are the same as in any pregnancy. But do be alert to any unusual or worrying symptoms, because the risk of complications is higher when you are expecting twins. Try not to worry, and don't let it spoil your pregnancy. Remind yourself that complications are uncommon and that the vast majority of twins are born healthy.
Trust your instincts, and if you're not sure about a symptom, or just don't feel right, call your midwife or doctor.
Premature birth, before 37 weeks, happens in more than half of twin pregnancies. Call your midwife if you think you are in labour, or if you are really worried, go straight to hospital.
Pre-eclampsia is more common in women who are expecting twins. It is a potentially serious complication that needs immediate medical attention. Pre-eclampsia is usually picked up by blood pressure and urine tests which take place during your antenatal appointments. In between appointments, symptoms to be aware of include:
    - severe headaches
    - vision problems, such as blurring, or flashing lights before your eyes
    - pain in your upper abdomen
    - vomiting
    - sudden swelling of your feet, ankles, face and hands
    - excessive weight gain because of fluid retention
Feeling tired during your pregnancy is a normal part of expecting twins. However, make sure you mention how you feel to your doctor or midwife, so they can help. Tiredness could be sign that you are lacking in iron, as anaemia is more common in women expecting twins.


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