Every pregnancy brings along bouts of immeasurable happiness, struggles, worries, and expectations and you should keep in mind that no two pregnancies are exactly the same. On top of that, expecting twins is a whole other level of special.
Did you know that twins are not as uncommon as you might think? In reality, one in every 34 children is a twin. There are factors that increase the chances of you expecting double.
Age plays a large part – the older you are, the more chances you have of having twins. Another factor you have to consider is heredity. If you have a history of twins or multiples in your family (especially on your mother’s side), you are a lot more likely to have more than one baby at a time yourself. Also, keep in mind that the number of pregnancies affects your chances of expecting more babies at once.
But what trouble can you expect when you’re expecting twins? There are several things you should do differently than when you just have one baby on the way.
Choose your gynecologist carefully
Carrying twins poses certain decisions you need to make. You might be perfectly comfortable with your regular gynecologist but you also might feel that a professional familiar with twins and multiple pregnancies in general, might be better suited to take care of your pregnancy. Keep in mind that healthy twins don’t usually require more special care than pregnancies with one baby. Another option for you might be to stick with your regular practitioner if that’s what you prefer and do two or three visits to a specialist just to make sure everything is going smoothly.
What you can also influence is what hospital you choose to deliver in. You mostly give birth at the hospital with their doctor’s admitting privileges. This means by choosing your physician, you also choose the hospital. But you can always research the hospital to see how they approach delivering and caring for multiples.
Expect more scans than moms with one baby
Get ready for more scans and more visits to your OB-GYN than if you were to give birth to a single baby. When expecting, you routinely have a dating scan (10 – 14 weeks) and an anomaly scan (18 – 21 weeks). The extra scans you’ll get are a chorionicity scan and a combined screening test (the same time as the dating scan), and growth scans in your third trimester to see if your twins are growing normally.
Twins sharing a placenta will be screened every two weeks beginning on the 16th week of the pregnancy. Twins with their own placentas will get a scan every month starting half-way at 20 weeks.
Facing your and your baby’s potential health risks
Having two or more babies places more stress on your body and that can create potential problems. You’re more likely to have pregnancy-induced high blood pressure. If you’re expecting twins, you’re also more likely to develop gestational diabetes. Your doctor will question your medical history, family history and depending on the assessment, you may have to undergo a glucose tolerance test (GTT) which detects gestational diabetes.
Pre-eclampsia is a condition closely linked to pregnancy-induced high blood pressure, more common amongst multiple pregnancies due to the strain on the placenta(s). It causes the flow of blood through the placenta to be reduced meaning the babies might not get enough nutrients and oxygen to ensure proper growth.
You may also face anemia, a deficiency of iron. All future moms face this problem because pregnancy causes the amount of blood in their system to expand and become more diluted. This is even truer when you’re looking forward to welcoming twins or even more children at the same time.
If you’re asking yourself what the chances are of you giving birth prematurely when you’re expecting twins, the answer is very probable. Premature labor is one of the main complications connected to multiple pregnancies.
Twins are considered full-term at 37 weeks (compared to 40 weeks for a single baby). More than half of all twins are born before 37 weeks, and 10% are born before 32 weeks. There is also a high chance of twins needing to spend time in special care after their birth due to the fact that twins tend to be born prematurely.
What can you do to prevent complications?
There’s not much you can due to affect when your babies choose to enter this world earlier than expected but it never hurts to aim for the healthiest pregnancy you can. Here are tips for keeping your pregnancy as problem-free as possible:
- Visit your gynecologist for all scheduled appointments
- Pay attention to your body and let your doctor know if you show any signs of anemia, pre-eclampsia or other pregnancy-induced diseases
- Eat a healthy and well-balanced diet
- Stay hydrated and drink plenty of water
- Exercise gently
Tags: expecting twins, multiple pregnancy