Once this is done, antenatal care should begin. At 10-13 weeks of pregnancy, an ultrasound can reveal that you are expecting twins. This is usually a wonderful discovery for would-be parents.
What to Expect During Antenatal Visits with Twin Pregnancies
Depending on the type of twins, these pregnancies offer a higher risk of pregnancy complications. Regular and strict antenatal visits are advised in order to ensure proper health of both mother and babies. An additional anomaly scan may be recommended just to make sure that both babies are developing well. Women expecting twins should ideally be offered a scan at 13 weeks and 6 days to determine what sort of placenta your twins have and their expected delivery date. This will help your doctors in knowing the best way to approach the pregnancy.
Possible Complications During Twin Pregnancies
Most multiple pregnancies result in healthy babies. This, however, does not rule out the possibility of complications such as:
Anemia –twin pregnancies carry an extra risk of anemia because both babies draw an extra amount of iron from the mother. Proper iron supplementation may be considered during routine checkups. Symptoms of anemia include:
- Feeling tired and weak
- Shortness of breath
- Trouble concentrating
- Pale skin, lips and nails
- Rapid heartbeat
Preeclampsia-Expectant mothers with twins are at a higher risk of Preeclampsia also known as hypertension which is signified by high blood pressure. Symptoms of preeclampsia include:
- Water Retention
- Puffiness in hands and feet
- A weekly weight gain of more than a kilogram
- Increased protein in the urine
- Elevated blood pressure
Lifestyle changes such as moderating salt intake, increasing water intake and bed rest involving laying on your left side to ease pressure on major blood vessels may be recommended by a doctor when preeclampsia is diagnosed. More frequent test of blood pressure and protein in urine may be required. Severe cases may necessitate hospital admission where drugs such as magnesium sulphate are administered. The ultimate remedy for preeclampsia is the safe delivery of your babies. Until then the best the doctors can do is monitor and control symptoms.
Delivery Options for Twins
It is important to note that half of all multiple births occur before 38 weeks. This is because of the high likelihood of premature delivery, hence, a hospital delivery is recommended. Options for birth are:
- Vaginal Birth– If both babies are healthy and are in the right position, vaginal delivery is normally recommended. This delivery follows the same procedure as singular delivery apart from there being an extra nurse in the room whose sole responsibility will be to take care of the babies.
- C-section-expectant mothers who have had cesarean births (C- section) before are recommended for this procedure. Doctors may also initiate the process of C-sections if one of the babies is in breech or if they are in distress. Quick removal of the babies is often necessary if this is the case.
Keeping these points in mind will go a long way in ensuring the healthy growth and safe delivery of your bundles of joy.
Please note that development differs from one child to another.
Content intended for educational purposes only, and should not be substituted for medical advice from your doctor.
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Last reviewed January 2019