If you are expecting twins and don’t know what to expect, you are not alone. Many women pregnant with twins have no idea what to expect, but that doesn’t mean you can’t learn. No two pregnancies are the same, however, here is more information to help you understand a few key things when you’re expecting twins. If you haven’t read part one of this series, you can find it here.
Twins can make you more uncomfortable than usual during pregnancy because the uterus becomes much larger. Resting during the day will help give you energy. Avoid standing for long periods and lifting heavy objects. Talk with your doctor about your job or your work at home. Some women will be told to restrict activity because of pregnancy complications, you may even need to stay in bed for several weeks. Talk to your doctor about what kind of activity is right for you.
The risk of certain complications is higher in a twin pregnancy. The mother is more likely to develop high blood pressure or anemia and the babies are more likely to be born small. The mother is also more likely to go into preterm labor. Sometimes these problems can be prevented with early detection and care.
Preterm labor is labor that starts before the end of 37 weeks of pregnancy This can result in preterm birth, the most common problem of multiple pregnancy. About half the twins are born preterm. When babies are preterm, they often have problems breathing and eating. They will have to stay in the hospital nursery longer than usual. Extremely preterm babies can die, even with the best care. In others, problems can occur as they grow and develop. If preterm labor is found early enough, delivery can sometimes be postponed. This will give your babies extra time to grow and mature. Even a few more days can make a big difference. Because of the risk of preterm labor, you should be alert to the early signs of preterm labor. If you have any signs, don’t wait. Call your doctor or go to the hospital right away. Warning signs of preterm labor include:
- Change in type of discharge from your vagina (watery, bloody or mucous)
- A feeling of pressure in your lower abdomen or pelvic area
- Constant low, dull backache
- Mild abdomen cramps like a menstrual period, with or without diarrhea
- Regular contractions or tightening of your uterus
- Ruptured membranes (your “water breaks”)
It may also be helpful to talk with others who have twins. There are organizations and support groups that provide services for parents of twins. Contact us if you have any questions or to set up an appointment.