Your Pregnancy with Twins or Triplets (or More!)

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You may know from previous pregnancies, or from friends, that pregnancy itself can be an eventful journey. It can be surprising, frightening, uncomfortable and emotional. So if you are carrying two babies, can you expect twice the trouble?

What are the side effects of carrying multiples?

Firstly, let's remember that every single pregnancy, multiple or not, is different. There are women who sail through their pregnancies with few, or even no problems, and there are those who seem to encounter no end of obstacles and really don't enjoy it at all. Both experiences are possible when carrying twins, but it is fair to say that, in general, mothers of multiples tend to report more acute side effects than mothers of single babies. This is a logical outcome, given that you are carrying more weight and that you are producing a greater number of pregnancy hormones. These are the two most common causes of unwanted pregnancy side effects.

One of the earliest symptoms of pregnancy is nausea (although of course not everybody is affected by this). It is caused by the sudden release of pregnancy hormones in your body. As these hormones are released in a greater volume during multiple pregnancies it is common for mothers of twins or triplets to experience a greater degree of nausea.

Fatigue is one of the other most commonly talked about symptom of pregnancy, especially during the first and third trimesters. It is very likely that mothers of multiples will experience fatigue to a greater extent than mothers of single pregnancies. For starters, it takes more energy to grow more babies! On top of this, you are carrying a greater weight, which is tiring. In addition, your increased size can make it harder to get decent rest towards the end of your pregnancy. So all in all this could be set to be a rather tiring affair, but worth it in the long run.

Digestive discomforts are often a problem during pregnancy, and it is no wonder, seeing as your ever growing uterus puts increased pressure on the surrounding organs. With multiple babies comes a bigger uterus, so it is quite common to experience increased heartburn, indigestion and constipation. These may begin quite early in pregnancy as the uterus grows more quickly than in single pregnancies, but you will be likely to experience them more severely towards the end of the pregnancy when the uterus is at its biggest.

Also, be ready for that internal pummelling. Nearly all women report feeling as though their insides are being used as a punch bag at some stage during their pregnancy, and multiples are no exception. If you have twice the number of babies, you have twice the number of limbs to put up with.

The most obvious difference with expectant mothers of multiples is their size. Inevitably, most women carrying more than one baby will have a bigger bump than those carrying just the one. As with all other side effects though, this is not to say that you will be enormous. Size and weight gain varies a lot between all pregnancies.

Just remember that each and every pregnancy is different, and there is little way to accurately predict how yours will go. As with single pregnancies, it is important that you do everything you can to help yourself. Slow things down, give yourself as much rest as possible, and follow your doctor's orders on your diet and exercise through your pregnancy. Try taking a look at this article explaining what it is like giving birth to multiples.

Elated or terrified?

Finding out that you are pregnant (whether it comes as a surprise or not) is always big news to digest. To find out that you are expecting more than one baby usually comes as even more of a shock, even if you know that there are twins in your family, or that you were more likely to conceive twins due to other factors.

Just as with single pregnancies, it is common to find that you swing from feeling over the moon about the news to being upset and worried about it. In part, this is due to your hormones, but more significantly, expecting twins (or more) represents a big life change.

The biggest worry for expectant parents of multiples is the increased risks of miscarriage and other complications. It is helpful to have a clear understanding of these risks and of what you can do to increase your chances of a healthy pregnancy, however, worrying is not beneficial for anybody's health. While it is easier said than done, you must try to relax and remain positive about what lies ahead of you. You should definitely make sure you get the right antenatal care for your multiple pregnancy.

Another concern is likely to be the lifestyle change associated with having more than one baby, especially if you already have one, or more, children. Two babies means two cots, two car seats (and possibly a bigger car), a double pram or buggy, twice the nappies, twice the washing, and twice the feeding! The list is probably endless, but there are some rewarding things in there too. While twins represent less than 2% of births in the UK, they are common enough for you to be able to find other mums and mums-to-be of twins in your area and online. Networking with these mums can be a huge help. as you will probably find that you all have the same concerns. Also, once the babies are born, knowing mums in the same position can provide a great support for you.

Announcing that you are expecting more than one baby

As with single pregnancies, it might be wise to keep your news of your pregnancy to yourself while you come to terms with it.

Once you do let the news out you must be prepared for a lot of attention. Twins are always fascinating to people, and people are likely to show a great interest in your pregnancy. Inevitably you will need to be thick skinned too. People have good intentions, but they can sometimes be insensitive. You are very likely to be questioned about your method of conception, particularly as to whether it was the result of fertility treatment. This could be very personal information that you don't want to discuss with strangers, so be prepared with an answer in advance. Remember, in some cases the enquirer may be considering, or undergoing, fertility treatment themselves.

Of further interest to people will be your size. It happens to all pregnant women, and it can be difficult to brush off these comments, whether they are, 'Are you sure they have your dates right?', 'You look tiny' or 'Wow, you're huge!' - remember that people do not mean to offend you. It is human nature for people to be excited about pregnancies, especially multiples; however, diplomacy is less common. If you do feel that you are particularly large with this pregnancy and find comments upsetting, remind yourself that there are plenty of expectant mums of single babies out there who routinely get asked whether they carrying twins!

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This internet site provides information of a general nature and is designed for educational purposes only. If you have any concerns about your own health or the health of your child, you should always consult a doctor or other healthcare professional.