If your doctor has already informed you you’re pregnant with twins, if you suspect you’re pregnant with twins, or even if twins just run in your family, you’re probably wondering what symptoms of twins you can expect during your pregnancy. Even though the number of twin pregnancies has increased dramatically in recent years, and most twin pregnancies are very successful, there are some things you should know.
If you have a twin pregnancy, you can expect to get bigger, and get bigger faster, than if you were having a singleton. Doctors encourage women who were of normal weight before pregnancy to gain approximately 20 to 25 pounds for a normal pregnancy, but that recommendation surges to 35 to 45 pounds if you’re pregnant with twins. For most women pregnant with twins, that means consuming approximately 2700 calories a day, or close to 600 more calories than they were consuming pre-pregnancy. It can be difficult for some women to consume their daily calorie requirement, especially later in pregnancy when the uterus can pressure the digestive tract. Doctors recommend many small meals throughout the day.
Nutrition is paramount in every pregnancy, but iron is especially important during twin pregnancies to prevent maternal anemia. Iron-deficiency anemia can cause pregnant women to lose their appetites and feel lethargic, and it can also threaten fetal oxygen supplies. If you are pregnant with twins, your doctor will likely put you on an iron supplement, as it will be difficult to get the levels of iron you need from your normal diet.
Carrying twins increases the risk of high blood pressure during pregnancy. When high blood pressure is found in conjunction with protein in the pregnant woman’s urine, it signals a condition known as preeclampsia. Preeclampsia not only carries the risk of damaging the pregnant woman’s vital organs, it can also prevent the fetuses from getting the necessary oxygen and nutrition they need. In severe cases, preeclampsia can lead to seizures or even fetal and maternal death.
While many twin pregnancies go full term and end in vaginal births, this isn’t always the case. Almost half of twins are born prematurely, defined as before the 37th week of pregnancy, and while only slightly over 30 percent of singleton babies are delivered by cesarean section, fully half of pregnant women carrying twins undergo a cesarean section.
“ACOG Education Pamphlet AP092 — Having Twins.” American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists. N.p., n.d. Web. 15 Mar. 2010. http://www.acog.org/publications/patient_education/bp092.cfm.
“Preparing for Multiple Births .” KidsHealth – the Web’s most visited site about children’s health. N.p., n.d. Web. 15 Mar. 2010. http://kidshealth.org/parent/pregnancy_newborn/pregnancy/multiple_births.html.
“Twin pregnancy: What multiples mean for mom – MayoClinic.com.” Mayo Clinic medical information and tools for healthy living – MayoClinic.com. N.p., n.d. Web. 15 Mar. 2010. http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/twin-pregnancy/PR00120.