If you’re expecting twins, you’re not alone. In the U.S. about three in every one hundred pregnant women give birth to twins and by many accounts twin pregnancies are on the rise.
Why are twin births increasing? There could be a couple of reasons. According to the National Center for Health Statistics women are waiting longer to have children. Older mothers have more twins. From 1980 to 2009 twin births doubled. Among women 35-39 rates increased by nearly 100%, and for women 40 and over rates increase by a whopping 200%.
Another reason may be the increase in use of fertility drugs. As women age, it sometimes becomes more difficult to become pregnant so many women have turned to fertility drugs to increase their chances.
If you’re expecting twins it can be a double blessing but it may also put you in the high-risk pregnancy category. High-risk doesn’t automatically mean you’ll have a problem pregnancy, but you will need to be monitored more closely. The majority of twin pregnancies progress without problems.
Pregnant women carrying twins may need twice the folic acid than a singleton pregnancy. Folic acid is known to reduce the risk of neural tube birth defects such as spina bifida. Talk to your obstetrician about folic acid requirements if you are carrying multiples.
Unfortunately, morning sickness may be a little worse. One of the reasons postulated for morning sickness during pregnancy is that certain hormone levels increase causing nausea and vomiting. These hormones rise more with twins. The good news is that morning sickness usually abates within 12 to 14 weeks of pregnancy.
While most twin pregnancies go well, there can be added difficulties that arise. Twin pregnancies require more tests than single pregnancies. If amniocentesis is required, the chance of miscarriage is higher.
Spotting may be more common during twin pregnancies. But a little spotting is no reason to hit the panic button – even with twins. However, bleeding can also indicate a miscarriage if you begin having cramps, passing clots and actively bleeding. It may not mean anything if you see a few small spots of blood, but let your obstetrician know anyway.
Most likely you’ll gain more weight with twins than a single pregnancy. But that is as it should be. There are 2 babies, 2 placentas and more amniotic fluid. The average weight gain for a single child pregnancy is about 25 pounds - with twins it’s more like 30-35 pounds. The Institute of Medicine's provisional guidelines for weight gain in women expecting twins say:
- Women of normal weight should aim to gain 37-54 pounds.
- Overweight women should aim to gain 31-50 pounds.
- Obese women should aim to gain 25-42 pounds.
Because every pregnancy is unique talk to your health care provider about how much weight gain is best for you.
Proper nutrition and hydration is very important all the time, but particularly during pregnancy. You’re going to be hungrier than usual, and may even crave foods you never liked before. That’s ok. Pay attention to your body and what it wants. Just make sure that cravings high in salt, fat and sugar are kept to a minimum.
An optimistic but careful attitude will help your mental state. Weight gain, hormonal changes and the enormity of bringing a new life into the world can be overwhelming. Deep breathing and relaxation techniques can help with anxiety. Every extra day in the womb will help your babies once delivery time arrives. Be sure and get plenty of rest and don’t push yourself too hard.
Once your twins are here, don’t be afraid or shy about asking for help. Relatives and friends are usually willing to lend a helping hand. There are lots of parents-of-twins organizations that can offer support and answer your questions. Many of these organizations can be found online.
Twins offer their own rewards to parenting; a few are twice the love, twice the kisses and twice the shared accomplishments.
When you see your belly getting bigger and bigger – and it will- smile and remember that you’re creating twice the beautiful miracles.
Sources: : http://www.healthychildren.org/English/ages-stages/prenatal/Pages/Having-Twins-How-to-Stay-Healthy.aspx