You're pregnant, and SURPRISE! It's twins! Maybe even triplets! After moving past the excitement, and maybe a little fear, you're left wondering... how is this pregnancy going to be different than a pregnancy with a single baby? Will you have to eat more? Be on bed rest?
Here are a few things that might look different during a multiple pregnancy versus a normal pregnancy.
10 Ways Your Multiple Pregnancy Is Different Than a Normal Pregnancy
- More facetime with your obstetrician
- More folic acid
- Increased health risks
- Morning sickness can be worse
- Increased spotting
- Gaining more weight
- You'll need to eat more
- More discomfort
- You may deliver early
- C-sections are more likely
Thanks to the fact that you're having more than one baby, your pregnancy is now considered high-risk no matter how healthy you are. With that high-risk label come more doctor's visits. You'll also get more screen time with your babies via ultrasounds.
While it might seem annoying, those extra doctor's visits are an important way for your doctor to help keep you and your babies healthy throughout your pregnancy. Your doctor may also recommend you add a maternal-fetal medicine specialist to your team of doctors.
Folic acid helps prevent birth defects like spina bifida. Getting enough folic acid during pregnancy is crucial and can often be easily done by taking a prenatal vitamin. If you're pregnant with only one baby, you only need about .4 milligrams of folic acid each day. For twins, you'll need to up that dose to 1 milligram a day.
Whether you're pregnant with two babies or four, you should talk to your doctor about folic acid and other vitamin supplement needs.
Believe it or not, incubating more than one baby comes with some significant health risks. As a woman who's having a multiple pregnancy, you'll be at higher risk for gestational diabetes. While the effects of gestational diabetes (high birth weight) may not be as pronounced with twins, gestational diabetes also puts you at higher risk for developing diabetes later in life.
You'll also be more likely to develop preeclampsia during your multiple pregnancy. Preeclampsia is diagnosed by protein in your urine, excess swelling in your feet, hands, and legs, and high blood pressure. Often the first indicator of preeclampsia comes from a routine doctor's visit, so don't skip a visit. Preeclampsia can be dangerous for both you and your babies.
If you thought morning sickness was bad during a single pregnancy, you may cringe to hear it can be worse with a multiple pregnancy. Higher levels of human chorionic gonadotropin produced during multiple pregnancy means your chance of having morning sickness is increased. Thankfully, no matter how sick you get, you should see an end by the time your second trimester rolls around.
Miscarriages are more common with multiple pregnancies, so a little bit of spotting can be cause for concern. But spotting is also more common with a multiple pregnancy. In the absence of cramping or large clots, spotting doesn't mean the end of your pregnancy.
Talk to your doctor if you're having bleeding or spotting. Your doctor can answer your questions and help you determine what's happening with your pregnancy.
Gaining more weight is normal when you're pregnant with more than one baby. After all, you'll have the weight of two babies, plus amniotic fluid, and in some cases, more placentas. While the average weight gain for a normal pregnancy is 35 pounds, twin moms can gain much more, depending on your weight before you get pregnant. Women who start a twin pregnancy at a normal weight can expect to gain between 37-54 pounds. For multiples beyond twins, these numbers go up.
This might seem like common sense, but growing two (or more) babies requires more food. While you don't want to go wild and gain too much weight, your caloric needs are definitely going to increase. During a pregnancy with a single baby, you only need about 300 extra calories a day starting in the second trimester. If you're pregnant with twins, that number increases to 680 extra calories a day in the second trimester. Pounding junk food won't do it either. Your calories should be coming from healthy sources like proteins, whole grains, and healthy fats.
You could have guessed it. More babies = more weight gained = more discomfort. Moms pregnant with more than one baby tend to have more back pain, more heartburn, and even trouble sleeping. Talk with your doctor about how to deal with your expanding belly. Support belts and pregnancy pillows might be the key to getting more comfortable.
It's not uncommon for mothers of multiples to deliver their babies early. Where a single baby will usually be delivered around 40 weeks, twins are often delivered between 36-37 weeks, sometimes sooner. If your babies are born too early, they may have lower birth weights, respiratory issues, and will likely spend some time in the neonatal intensive care unit.
You should prepare for a cesarean section even if you don't end up having one. The chances of having a C-section with a multiple pregnancy are higher. If any of your babies are breech, it'll mean you'll probably need a cesarean delivery.