20 Questions Twin Moms-To-Be Ask… ANSWERED!
20 Questions Twin Moms-To-Be Ask… ANSWERED!
My little loves are now 6 years, 10 months, 4 weeks & 2 days old.
I would like to have had a reference for my concerns and questions during my twin pregnancy that could be answered all in one place. So I decided as a twin mommy, I’d like to share some common questions twin moms to be ask, and provide them with some answers.
#1) How long does an average twin pregnancy last?
A singleton pregnancy is term when a woman reaches 38 weeks. Generally, the majority of singleton babies will come between 38-42 weeks of pregnancy. A twin pregnancy will likely be a little bit shorter, but hopefully not TOO much. Term for twins is considered 37 weeks gestation. Most twin pregnancies do not reach 40 weeks. (Many doctors won’t allow it to go that far, but more twins go to term then you may think. By 36 weeks or so you will be ready, trust me! Best to go to 37 or 38 though, if possible.)
50-60% of all twins are considered to be premature, but that figure is based on giving birth before the 37 week mark. Meaning 35 or 36 weeks is premature. If you averaged it all out, the average twin birth takes place at 35 weeks. Most babies will do quite well at this time. My twins were born at 37 weeks exactly. I never thought I could carry them so long, so never under estimate the power of your body.
#2) When should I have my bags packed for the hospital with twins?
With twins you should prepare everything early. Having your bags packed and ready for the hospital is no exception. After 32 weeks, I kept my bag in the car just in case. My suggestion is to have everything ready to go at 32 weeks. (30 even better.) Not only will you be prepared come what may, but you will be getting quite tired and feeling larger and more lazy at this point, so you may not want to add an extra task to your plate, and/or you may forget to pack something important. Better to be safe!
#3) Will I definitely be on bed rest while pregnant with twins?
No! This is not a definite in a twin pregnancy. I, and the vast majority of my friends on the message board I frequented, not only made it to term with our twins, but were NEVER on bed rest at any point. I was going, and going until the last day, though of course listen to your body and be smart about it. Also listen to your doctor, as he knows your situation best.
While there is an increased chance for bed rest when you add an extra baby to the mix, it’s no guarantee you’ll be on it. Some doctors are cautious and put multiple mamas on bed rest before there is any reason, but this practice is more old school honestly. The majority of doctors, nowadays anyway, would only do so if a problem posed itself, like signs of premature labor, a troubling history of miscarriage, incompetent cervix, etc. Don’t consider yourself doomed for bed rest.
#4) What are the possible complications with twins?
While a multiple pregnancy is more risky, it does not mean that you will experience any of these risks. Don’t live your whole pregnancy expecting something bad to happen. It dampens the beauty of the experience. Possible risks include: Premature labor, increased risk of c-section, increased risk for placental abruption, preeclampsia , gestational diabetes, placenta previa, and low birth weight babies.
Also something called Twin to Twin Transfusion Syndrome, also known as TTTS. This is only possible in identical twin pregnancies. I had a picture perfect twin pregnancy aside from gestational diabetes, which though it was shocking and scared me, it was manageable and my babies and I were healthy and all is well.
#5) Can I still have a vaginal birth?
YES! If this means a lot to you, don’t be afraid to fight for it. I feared most needing a vaginal AND c-section birth, but in researching this, the incidence of that occurring, is only 5%, which are pretty great odds! Unless baby A is breech which only occurs in small amount of cases, or some really odd presentation, it IS possible to go natural. 40% of all twins will both be head down (vertex), by the time mom delivers. 60% of the left over moms will have one of these other types of presentations. The first mentioned is most common though.
Baby A is head down and baby B is breech. This is the second best case scenario, and the second most common one, at 30% of all twin pregnancies. (This was me.) It is still possible to deliver naturally but be sure you talk to your doctor early on in case of such a scenario, and discuss your options & desires with him or her should this occur, so there are no surprises. Have a written birth plan also, if possible.
The rest of twin pregnancies can consist of two transverse babies, or baby A being breech or transverse, in which case, you most likely will be in for a c-section. Had I had those presentations even with a willing doctor, which I doubt, I would have opted for a c-section. Some women actually go in wanting a planned c section, so that is why the figures seem high for c-section rates with multiples. Many moms opt for it, so keep that in consideration. It IS possible to birth twins vaginally. Use your voice, but when it comes down to it, your babies’ safety will always come first!
#6) When is the best time to have a 3D/4D ultrasound with twins?
Before 27 weeks. Two babies run out of space much more quickly then just one fetus, and things get very cramped and faces & body parts squished, so prepare your session for sooner rather then later, but not TOO soon. Not before 23 weeks, I would say. 24 weeks would be optimum in my personal experience. The babies can still move around a bit, so you can see some action in there, and they aren’t quite as skinny as earlier days. You can tell what you are looking at.
#7) Do I need to register for, or buy two of everything?
There are a few things that you will need two of, but there are many things that you will not. Yes, you may need 2 cribs down the line, but you won’t right away. You can easily use a co-sleeper for those first months with babies, or bassinets. Also, there are crib dividers for sale cheap, that can turn one crib into two separate sleeping chambers for your newborn twins. 2 bouncers are a must, just make sure they don’t sit up too high or they won’t be appropriate for a newborn baby.
2 swings? That is up to you. Personally, 2 full size swings take up a lot of space so if you are going with two be sure and purchase the travel kind of swings. You will want to move them from floor to floor much like the bouncers. Two car seats are a given. I suggest Graco Snug Rides. My girls are 11 months now, and in their snug ride 35, they are sitting really nice and comfortable still.
Two boppy pillows are absolute must haves. 2 high chairs are not needed for quite some time, 2 exersaucers are truly not necessary and won’t be used for MONTHS! Down the line 1 exersaucer and 1 jumperoo will be just fine. My biggest piece of advice if you are not breastfeeding….invest in MANY bottles! (Much more then two.) 😆 You don’t need two bathing slings or baby bath tubs. You WON’T be bathing them together that way, until they are in bath rings, at the very least! Think logically, and spend frugally!
#8) How do I know if my babies are identical or fraternal?
Identical twins are pretty definite if they are sharing 1 placenta, and it’s not the placenta being fused together, as can happen later on in some twin pregnancies. If there is only one gestational sac that two babies are sharing those quarters, the twins are identical. They can share a placenta or have separate placentas.
If your twins have separate sacs and placentas they are most usually fraternal, however there are a very small percentage of twins that fall into this category and are proven to NOT be fraternal, so if in doubt the only true way to know if by waiting to see for yourself, which can take up to 6 months or more, as some babies do look alike in the early days, or better yet to have a simple DNA test done to be conclusive. Me I had no reason to shell out any loot, just look at them?
Boy/girl twins are ALWAYS fraternal and never identical, and make up 50% of all fraternal twins.
#9) How much weight should I expect to gain?
It’s recommended that you gain more weight with a multiple pregnancy then a singleton one, however that is no excuse to pack on 200 lbs. A healthy weight gain for the average women during a multiple pregnancy is 35-50 lbs. If you are underweight going in, gaining at the high end of the spectrum, or a few pounds more, is considered fine and healthy. Obese mothers can keep their weight gain less because they already have some fat stores to keep their babies properly nourished. Your body knows what it needs. As long as you eat, you will gain appropriately. NEVER diet or count calories during pregnancy. DO make healthy eating choices though.
(DON’T get discouraged if you have gained more then 50 lbs. Some women will gain more then others, it’s just a ‘guideline’. I gained 50 lbs with my 1st son, so…)
#10) Can I exercise during a twin pregnancy?
You bet ya! Unless you were instructed otherwise, of course. If you have certain risk factors you will need to follow your doctor’s orders, but most twin moms are encouraged to continue with exercise during their pregnancies. This is not a time to take up a new activity or sport, or do anything that you are used to that could harm your unborn children, such as rock climbing or horseback riding, but it’s really a good thing to keep yourself active while being cautious, especially as the pregnancy advances.
Walking and some light cardio work, Yoga, Pilates, etc. without over-doing it. (Listen to your body) as it can benefit you, greatly. Lower the risk of health problems and complications, keep you from over gaining, help with mental clarity, help you have an easier birth experience, and a quicker recovery in the postpartum period. If you are on bed rest or instructed to not exercise for any reason, don’t dismay. You will get plenty of activity taking care of two little ones soon enough.
#11) How often will I see my doctor and have ultrasounds?
This is one thing you will experience a lot of. Trips to your doctor and ultrasounds. I only had 1 non-stress test due to having contractions prematurely. These were never routine for me, as some doctors make them routine for their twin mom patients, near the end of their pregnancies.
I did however, get monthly ultrasounds, that then turned to every 2 weeks, then every single week, the closer I got to my due date. You will start your bi-weekly visits faster then a singleton mother, and will be able to view your babies far more often then they get to, which I found to be a wonderful perk. Lots of photos for the scrapbook!
#12) How much larger will I grow with two babies rather then one & when will I start to show?
This is a common question that I asked myself after being full term with 3 children before. How much bigger will you get? Definitely bigger. Expect it. You will grow larger faster, and the changes you see on a week to week bases will be more dramatic then you previously saw, if you have singletons as well. My doctor joked with me, ‘Don’t worry soon we’ll be getting out the wheelbarrow for ya.’ I wasn’t laughing!
I got frightened between that and my uterus measuring 38 weeks (term) at only 27! EEK! I never did need that wheel barrow though. Don’t put much of any stock into fundal measurements and that meaning how big you will grow. This measurement can change because of fetal position and other factors. By the time I delivered I measured over 50 weeks, and I walked myself into labor & delivery just fine. Don’t let those #’s freak you out!
Just like every woman is different in how they carry one baby. Some stay small, and some look like they have multiples when they do not. It’s the same thing here. Some women will naturally grow larger then others. It isn’t the size of the belly that counts, but the health and size of your babies. As long as they are healthy and growing together well, that is most important.
When you will start showing will also vary from woman to woman, just as it does in a singleton pregnancy. Usually it will be sooner though. Your torso size, height, the strength of your abdominals, # of past pregnancies, and possibly even genetics may play a role in this. Don’t worry…no matter how it feels in the end, I PROMISE YOU…you will NOT explode! 😀
#13) When should I expect to feel movement with twins?
Does having two babies mean you will feel movement earlier than a singleton mother to be? Not necessarily. 2 babies are still the same size at a certain point of gestation as 1 would be, and will still need to grow powerful enough for the mother to feel movement through the abdominal wall.
If you have had previous pregnancies you are more likely to detect earlier fetal movement regardless of the # of babies in your womb. It’s really later on that twins start feeling like a wrestling match inside of your tummy and there is no debate you have some crazy stuff going on in there, but though some women swear to earlier movement, it can be gas or due to other factors, like with me, not being my 1st, 2nd, 3rd, 4th, etc… pregnancy, being very slender, & so on.
#14) Is there any way to find a comfortable sleeping position?
I don’t remember having much trouble getting comfortable with 1 baby, but maybe I did, and it just isn’t standing out enough in my memory, for me to recall at the moment, but at 28 weeks I started to feel more tired then in past pregnancies, and after 31, 32 weeks when my girth was expanding most quickly, I found it quite hard to find a really good sleeping position. Then came the peeing several times a night. Fun as well.
I recommend using a really good pregnancy pillow from about 24 weeks on. I had the Snoogle years back with my 5 year old which was good, but I ordered the Today’s Mom Pillow this time, and fell instantly in love. It was my Cadillac of pregnancy pillows, and worth every penny! It helped me survive those final months with twins. Even caught my hubby sleeping in it numerous times, so it serves multiple purposes 😆 . I definitely recommend it to any mom to be.
TodaysMom Cozy Comfort Pregnancy Pillow
It will be harder to get more comfortable as time goes on, because you most definitely will be larger, and you will have more action going on inside of your belly at any given time, including at 1am with babies up in your rib cage, but a good pillow does help. If all else fails, speak with your doctor about other safe options for you if you need an occasional good night sleep at the very end of your pregnancy.
#15) Will I have double the pregnancy symptoms? (Morning sickness, exhaustion, frequent urination?)
More then 1/2 closer to 2/3’s of women claim to have an increase in annoying pregnancy symptoms in their multiple pregnancy early on. Maybe not double, but an increase. I remember feeling quite tired early on, but nothing was as awful as my 1st pregnancy with queasiness, even throwing up, and my symptoms lastest the longest then, and even my second son was worse then the twins for certain.
I did not at all find it to be double the pregnancy symptoms in my case. It was close to my daughter, which was my best by far. That was no indication to me, that maybe I was carrying twins. I felt pretty good up until the end, and didn’t throw up once. While the consensus of majority rule might say ‘yes’, for this twin mom it was ‘no’, and there are others who will also agree.
#16) Is there any way to avoid stretchmarks during a twin pregnancy?
There is only so much that you can do personally to prevent stretchmarks. They say genetics plays the biggest role but it didn’t play any role in my case. My mom had two small babies and got them. I have had 5 full term babies and never got a one. So it’s not an exact science. While skin elasticity varies from person to person, why not try and do all that you can by: Never EVER dieting during pregnancy, but maintaining a slow and healthy weight gain. (You don’t have total control over this, but stay away from sodas, and heavy, empty calories.)
Too quick of a weight gain or weight loss for that matter can lead to stretchmarks, but as stated above do eat when you are hungry, just make healthier eating choices is all. Pigging out on cheesecake every day will lead to extra pounds and little nurtition. DO treat yourself on occasion, as you will have cravings! We are only human, but be smart the rest of the time.
It does NOT hurt to moisturize the skin despite the controversy of whether or not it truly helps at all. I used Palmer’s belly butter, and their soothing oil. It kept me moist all day & night long, and smelt pretty darn good if I do say so myself. It’s cheap and I think it may have played a role. I also replaced my regular bar soap with moisturizing body wash so I wasn’t over drying my skin, in any way. I drank more water then I ever had before, which I hate, but it does help. STAY HYDRATED ALWAYS!
Also, they say exercise does help. So even a little might go a long way. Just walk if that’s all you are feeling up to. You will be more tired and should not be doing anything too strenuous, but some simple exercises will help keep you and your skin more taught and flexible. You can’t guarantee yourself a stretch mark free twin pregnancy, but you can try your best, and have some faith, that it IS possible.
#17) What tests should I expect to have during my twin pregnancy?
During your pregnancy with twins, you can expect frequent blood and urine tests, plus some others including an NT scan, which is advisable for any mother to be. It’s a painless ultrasound test that can show if there are any reasons to go for further testing. They measure the size of the nuchal folds on the backs of the babies’ necks. If this measurement is higher then normal, don’t panic, please! It means there may be an increased risk of chromosomal abnormalities, but much more likely then not, your baby or babies will be normal and fine.
My Allie had an increased measurement. I had a CVS test performed on both babies, and both babies were free of any chromosomal problems. I even opted for rare disease blood testing. After having a sick child pass and losing another, I wanted to gather all of the information I could as early as possible. CVS and amniocentesis testing is available, but not routine in a twin pregnancy. If this measurement is high, you can opt for further testing or just wait it out.
You will then have a Triple Screen Test that will give you ‘odds’ of having a baby with Downs Syndrome and other genetic abnormalities. With this information again, you can choose to have further genetic testing or wait it out. These results CAN BE inaccurate for moms pregnant with twins, and are often elevated when there are no problems at all, so some doctors don’t even do it on multiple moms to be, because of this.
You will then have a detailed anatomy scan around the 20 week mark, and if all stays well you may or may not have periodic stress tests further along, but as stated above I only had one. At 24-28 weeks, but usually closer to the latter, you will have a special test to check for diabetes. It’s called a Glucose Tolerance Test. The majority of women will be fine, but some may be asked to come in and repeat their test with a 3 hour version. That majority will NOT have GD.
The 3 hr. will tell definitively, if you have gestational diabetes or not. I remember being very upset and crying over it, but I modified my diet, and by that alone I gave birth to two healthy babies that were not large, but sized perfectly for twins. 5 lbs 13.5 ounces and 5 lbs. 2.3 oz.
Most of the tests you will receive will be ultrasounds and needle pricks (blood), and urine samples. Nothing painful. Even the CVS on both babies for me wasn’t terrible at all, and I was glad to get that for my own peace of mind. If you do opt for that, be sure and do your homework. Go to an esteemed hospital with the lowest miscarriage rate, and the doctor(s) with the highest level of skill. Don’t trust your babies to anything less.
#18) How do I get over the ‘Twin shock’?
Good question right? If you are like me, you may not fully get over it until you have two bundles placed in your arms. In that moment things become all the more real. I remember staring into empty cribs, and I could not fathom them being filled by two babies. I just could not envision it the entire pregnancy.
I never had any early on dreams or feelings of twins, so I was completely shocked as was my husband. We wanted only one more and in fact at my husband’s age he was very content as is, and started feeling like maybe we should leave things alone, but I begged, and then we got two for the price of one. I ABSOLUTELY HATE that phrase, but expect to hear it all of the time. You got your 1st one here from me 😆
You may be scared…petrified even, and if your partner is also shell-shocked and not excited, and not making you feel fully supported like, ‘No worries, we can do this. This is great news!’ It can honestly dampen the joy quite a bit for a woman with twin shock. I admittedly had singleton envy for some time, and my husband just didn’t talk about it for so long. That was hard…VERY hard on me.
This just did NOT seem real!
All I can really say, is that even if you went in really wanting a child as I did, two can seem overwhelming. While some moms are ecstatic, most experience some form of twin shock. It may only last days, or for weeks, or as in my case many months, but having been there done that, all I can really say is DON’T let your joy get dampened by it.
It’s a huge regret of mine. Enjoy the movement, your ultrasounds, your babies inside of the womb. No matter how long your shock lasts, when you see your babies, you will never be able to picture yourself as a mother to anything less then 2. It’s beautiful and AMAZING!
Talk to your partner about your feelings, let him express his, and go online for support from other twin moms who have been there or are experiencing twin shock as well at the same time as are you. It really does help to not feel alone, to talk to others and most especially your partner. There are millions just like you, even if you feel alone at the time. Don’t over think, don’t over stress, don’t over read, and don’t over Google. CASE CLOSED. 😀 Enjoy your pregnancy!
#19) People want to know what I NEED. What things do I need the most from the get go?
Here are the biggest, but smallest items, that you can never EVER get enough of. Diapers, wipes, onesies, baby socks, snap side shirts, at least a few SIDS sleep sacks, many bottles if not breastfeeding, and oh….did I mention diapers? Some big ‘ol tubs of desitin don’t hurt either. Hooded towels, bathing essentials, receiving blankets, swaddlers, crib and/or bassinet sheets, washcloths, and outfits that are simple to get baby in or out of.
Two babies =’s a lot of dirty diapers and they need changing, so be real. Ask people for practical things when asked. Worry about the frills later. Hopefully, you will get some good stuff for your shower as twins are more expensive then 1 baby of course, but these little things matter so much to!
#20) Baby names for two. The impossible job. How do you do choose?
Do me a favor please. Talk about this with your partner WELL in advance. Don’t let him shut you out. Buy a baby book and make him read through it with you, or even on the toilet bowel if he has to. Picking two names is very difficult, and naming children is such an important task as it will follow your children for life, so you don’t want any regrets. Open communication is key. Write down lists of your favorites, have him do the same, cross out the no-gos, circle the possibilities, and continuing adding and narrowing down from there.
Remember twins can come early, so don’t wait until the last minute. Talk months before your due date. Right away if your partner is willing. Try and come to a definite conclusion before the birth, not after. It’s harder to name two babies then one, so it’s best to know in advance and if something changes in the hospital after you see your babies…so be it, but plan ahead as best you can. For more info. on the subject and popular twin baby names, click here:
Picking names for twins.
Mama P.’s Story, nearly 7 years later!
(LOOK BACK/ UPDATE ON BEING A TWIN MOM)
** What I can safely say after NEARLY 7 years *CRY* of being a twin mom? I actually pine for the old days and wish time would move much slower than it has been moving all of this time. It goes by TOO FAST! Don’t blink with twins because you will miss something funny, silly, crazy, exciting.. something worth seeing, believe you me. In the twin shock I was in, and you can read about it during my pregnancy time back in 2009/ 2010, I was WAY WORSE than that even sounded, and now I’d kill to re-live this all over again.
If I didn’t have to be pregnant and give birth to them at my age right now, AND had more money, I would long for another duo! I NEVER THOUGHT I WOULD BE ONE TO EVER SAY THAT!!!!! CRAZY! One would never be the same kind of experience, however, I am getting the baby bug again here at 41 years old, and who would think after 5 kids, twins included, at 41 that would happen?? But my hub is 55 now, so.. only time will tell what happens there, but if I were 30 again, I’d take another set. AGAIN, if financially able, and I knew things would turn out just like my 1st set did. (+++) That is coming from someone who cried for months and months, did NOT EVER want multiples and honestly felt cursed instead of blessed for a long while. How guilty do I feel now? Just wanted to offer a completely HONEST look back, some reflection, having 7 years (next month) of parenting a duo together. And so this means… if we can do it, SO CAN YOU!!!!**
Thanks for reading. I hope this helps with some of your twin moms to be questions. I know these aren’t all of them, but check out my pregnancy and other blog archives for more on twin pregnancy. Congratulations on your double blessings!!
God bless you all x’s 2!
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