How is a twin pregnancy different?

how is a twin pregnancy different

Being in the UK, the first time I got to see my twins was at the 12 week scan. This meant for 3 months I was blissfully unaware I was carrying two babies! Thankfully my symptoms weren’t too bad so I didn’t even suspect anything. However, once you know you’re having a multiple pregnancy your care does have to change a bit as it’s classed as higher risk.

Symptoms

At my first scan, the nurse asked what pregnancy symptoms I’d been having. She was surprised that I hadn’t been feeling worse with twins, and said herself – ‘double the hormones, double the symptoms!’ Apparently a lot of twin mothers suffer quite badly from sickness but luckily I was only actually sick once. I did however notice my sense of smell was extremely heightened, to the point it often made me feel very nauseous.

There weren’t any strange cravings, but I did find myself drinking a lot more milk than normal. I assumed this was my body needing extra calcium to grow all those little bones, but that’s just me guessing. I did have a lot of food aversions, and found myself disliking a lot of food I’d normally enjoy. Unfortunately mostly healthy food!

I felt very tired and low on energy throughout the whole pregnancy, partly due to having very low iron levels. My midwife actually suspected my iron levels were low just by looking at me, as I was extremely pale. They took my blood to test this and then I was prescribed iron pills to boost my levels. Along with the low iron, I felt very breathless a lot of the time and sometimes had heart palpitations. These were sometimes a bit scary but I was assured it was fairly common. Carrying around two babies really takes its toll on your body, and I definitely noticed I seemed a lot more tired a lot earlier on than other pregnant friends. I’d be completely worn out just climbing one flight of stairs.

Appointments

I had a mixture of appointments once it was known I was carrying twins – midwife, specialist consultant, and scans more regularly than normal. It felt like I was constantly at the doctors surgery or the hospital! It was very reassuring being checked up on a lot, but I did find sometimes the advice and care ‘overlapped’ and made some appointments feel unnecessary. Throughout the pregnancy I had scans every 4 weeks. Once I reached around 28 weeks I started seeing the consultant every 2 weeks, and also having a scan every 2 weeks to keep a close eye on their growth.

Movement

Feeling two babies kicking inside your belly is truly amazing! However it can also be a bit confusing and end up causing concern. I often couldn’t tell which baby was which. Sometimes I would worry I hadn’t felt one of them kick for a while. The NHS asks you to keep track of the movements, but it’s actually quite hard and time consuming to try doing this with two. I would give myself half an hour of dedicated time before bed each night to be still and really notice their movements without any other distractions.

There was one occasion where I was really concerned I hadn’t felt one of them move for a while, so we called the hospital. They immediately invited me to come in for a check. They hooked me up with a couple of heartbeat monitors and kept me in for a few hours, before allowing me to leave feeling relieved and knowing everything was fine. If you are in any doubt about movement, I would advise doing the same.

Birth plan

I was told my pregnancy would not be allowed to continue past 38 weeks. At 37 weeks I would have been booked in for an induction (if I’d made it that far). This is very standard practice with twins, as most come early anyway! I went into labour naturally at 35 weeks. (video: What I packed in my hospital bag for twins) An epidural is also recommended for twin births, so everything is already in place in the case of an emergency cesarean section. This is also fairly common with twin births. This meant I was not allowed to have a water birth, or give birth at my smaller local hospital because they didn’t provide the right care for multiple births.

Attention

You will suddenly get a lot more attention once people know you are pregnant with twins. Most people think it’s exiting and special, but do prepare yourself for some odd or even rude comments about twins. Your bump will most likely grow bigger than a singleton pregnancy, which can add to the attention you receive. Take every opportunity you can to pamper and look after yourself throughout pregnancy – it’s hard work growing two humans!

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