If you have discovered you are carrying twins you will undoubtedly have some questions and concerns about your pregnancy and labour. Although you may be lucky and experience no extra pregnancy symptoms, carrying two babies has its own set of challenges and as such it's best to be prepared for the effects it may have on you during your pregnancy.
You will probably feel tired more easily, especially as your pregnancy progresses. Although this may be a normal part of expecting twins, it may also indicate low iron levels so it's best to let a doctor check you over, and if needed, give you an iron supplement. The weight of carrying twins may make you extra tired too, especially if you have other children to look after. It is not recommended that you simply stop for 9 months, but it is best to rest as much as possible. Back pain is common in pregnancies with twins, you are carrying extra fluid and placenta as well as the babies.
Because your body is producing twice as much human chorionic gonadotropin (hCG), the hormone responsible for morning sickness, you may feel sicker for longer and you may also experience more heartburn and wind.
As your pregnancy progresses and your babies grow, you may experience shortness of breath from two babies pushing on your diaphragm and your blood pressure may be higher.
Perhaps the most serious complication is the increased risk of pre-eclampsia which can be dangerous for both mother and baby. If you are having severe headaches, vision problems, sudden swollen feet and hands or pain in your upper abdomen then seek medical advice immediately.
Hospitals and medical staff are becoming more familiar in dealing with multiple birth pregnancies due to the rise in IVF and assisted conceptions. Regardless of how your baby was conceived, you will be monitored closely and more often by your obstetrician.
Half of all twin pregnancies end in premature birth, but normally not by much. Most labours go smoothly, with both babies being delivered head down. The babies will find the position in your womb where they both have the most room, so they may well not be in the correct position when labour starts. You may be given a caesarean if one or both babies are not in the right position and if one baby is lying across your uterus, a caesarean is essential. One or both twins may have a low birth weight because they've had to share a womb and all its resources, and while this may make labour with two babies easier, you and your twins may need some extra care after the birth so you may want to pack for a longer stay in hospital. This will give you a chance to become more confident about the reality and practical aspects of caring for two babies, in a setting where you can seek assistance if you need it.
Twin pregnancy is hard work and has a whole host of extra symptoms and things to worry about. However, you will receive extra care and attention from your medical team and you'll end up with two little bundles of joy instead of one!