So you just found out your going to have multiples! Now what? Although it may seem scary, being pregnant with multiples can be a very exciting and rewarding experience...
So you just found out your going to have multiples! Now what? Believe it or not, being pregnant with multiples is a completely different experience than being pregnant with only one child. Your pregnancy may be more difficult, you will need to take better care of yourself and eat differently, and you also increase your risk for several complications that can occur. Although it may seem scary, being pregnant with multiples can be a very exciting and rewarding experience.
Weight Gain during pregnancy
Most pregnant women know they must eat a little more to supply their baby with food, but women pregnant with multiples must eat even more and gain even more weight. Gaining the right amount of weight during your pregnancy is essential for providing your babies with everything they need while in the womb, so plan on gaining at least an additional 25 to 35 pounds depending on your pre-pregnancy weight. Although it may seem like a lot to gain in only nine months, it’s only about 300 extra calories a day and should easily shed off after the delivery.
Paying attention to what you eat is important for any pregnancy, but when pregnant with multiples, it is extremely important. Even though you are required to gain more weight with multiples, the weight should be gained through healthy foods that provide your babies with vitamins and nutrients. Although almost every pregnant woman has crazy cravings like chocolate covered coffee beans or fried Oreos, you will want to limit empty calories since they provide no nutritional benefit. You will need more folic acid, calcium, iron, and protein in your diet, and you should also take a prenatal vitamin if instructed by your physician.
Pregnancy Side Effects
Carrying multiples may intensify many of the side effects that come along with pregnancy, such as morning sickness, constipation, heart burn, and insomnia. You have most likely experienced many of the symptoms before finding out you are carrying multiples, but prepare for some of them to get worse as your pregnancy progresses. Women carrying multiples may also experience shortness of breath, pain in the abdomen, and pain on the pubic bone from the babies putting pressure while inside the womb. Although the side effects may sometimes feel never-ending, they will disappear soon after you deliver.
Because women carrying multiples are at higher risk for some pregnancy complications, it is important to take precautions as your pregnancy progresses. You may need to limit exercise, work, and travel, as directed by your physician. Although healthy multiples are born every day, there are some complications that you should know about, in order to prepare yourself for what may happen.
Preterm labor refers to labor that starts before 37 weeks, which is 3 weeks earlier than the normal gestation period. Multiples are commonly born between 37 and 39 weeks, but anything before that is considered preterm. Preterm labor can sometimes be stopped with bed rest and fluids, but if it can’t be stopped, your babies might be born too early. Preterm birth is the most serious risk for multiple babies, especially since many multiples are born small even when delivered at full term. If you go into preterm labor that cannot be stopped, your physician may give you steroids in order to speed up your babies’ lung development. Some complications of preterm birth include low birth weight, undeveloped organs, and learning and developmental disabilities later in life.
High blood pressure is common among pregnant women, but even more common among those carrying multiples. Although having high blood pressure may not cause any risk to the babies, when combined with protein in the urine, preeclampsia can occur. This can cause stress on the babies when not managed, but will disappear once the babies are delivered.
Gestational diabetes is a form of diabetes that occurs only in pregnant women, and the risk is higher in those carrying multiple babies. It can damage the placenta if not managed through diet, and may cause complications during birth if the blood sugar levels of the babies are extremely high. It can be easily maintained through diet and regular doctor visits, and may sometimes require medication if the diabetes is severe.
It is possible to deliver twins through a regular vaginal delivery, but women pregnant with multiples may be required to deliver through a cesarean section. Both babies must be head down in order to be delivered vaginally, or sometimes the first baby may be delivered vaginally with the rest through c-section. A c-section is usually considered the safest method of delivery for multiples of three or more.
Being pregnant with two or more babies can be an amazing experience, since you will have more than just one little babies kicking around inside you. Although your side effects and complications are higher than those with only one baby, you can lower your risks by taking care of yourself through diet and limiting lifestyle habits. Although being pregnant with multiples can be somewhat scary, it is amazing to look forward to cute little babies who will soon be arriving.