Twins and Multiple Pregnancies

Discovering that you’re pregnant can be one of the happiest and most exciting times in a couple’s life, but if the ultrasound showed two, three, or more little bodies floating around in there, you might be wondering, what comes next? With the advent of various fertility treatments, particularly IVF, multiple births are more common than ever before, and while they can be a little scary, the key to successfully navigating your multiple pregnancy and birth is knowledge and organization.

How Much Weight Will I Gain?
In single pregnancies, a mother can expect to gain 25 to 35 pounds if she was a healthy weight before pregnancy, 28 to 40 pounds if she was underweight and 15 to 25 pounds if she was overweight. In pregnancies involving multiple babies, though, weight gain will probably increase by about 35 to 45 pounds, but there is no hard and fast rule. Weight gain should be discussed with your doctor; only she will be able to tell if you’re gaining the correct amount.

How Many Extra Calories do I Need?
In every pregnancy, you will need to eat an extra 300 calories per baby. So if you’re carrying twins, you should eat an extra 600, triplets 900 and so on. During this time, your prenatal diet should be trying to increase the amount of protein, calcium, fruits, vegetables and whole grains that you consume. This will help to ensure the health of you and your babies. You should also increase your water intake at this time to ensure that you remain well hydrated.

Will My Prenatal Care be Different?
Throughout their entire pregnancy, mothers of twins and multiples are encouraged to see a board certified obstetrician instead of a general practitioner. Women experiencing complications in multiple pregnancies will probably also be referred to a perinatologist, who has special training for dealing with pregnancy complications. You may or may not have to attend more frequent doctor appointments than mothers of singles, but it is likely that you will be offered more prenatal tests. You will likely have more ultrasounds than you otherwise would. These more frequent ultrasounds will help to check on the development of each baby. You will also have to have your blood glucose levels checked.

Will the Birthing Experience be Different?
When you give birth to twins or multiples, the birthing experience will be different from that of an uncomplicated single delivery. For one, there will be more people in the room. Even if you have a vaginal birth, there will be about twelve people in the room with you: one or two obstetricians, an anesthetist (in case you need a c-section), two midwives and two pediatricians, plus your partner or birthing coach. It is also common for students to observe multiple births. If you prefer to keep the number of people in the room low, let them know beforehand.

Table of Contents
1. Twins and Multiples
2. Twins and what can go wrong
3. Twins: is baby at risk?
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