If you find out that you are expecting more than one baby and are feeling overwhelmed, give yourself time to get used to this news.
Twin pregnancies are followed with extra care. It is a higher risk pregnancy, with higher rates of low birth weight and preterm birth. For the mother there are increased risks for gestational diabetes, high blood pressure, bleeding in pregnancy and Caesarean Section. All the circumstances in twin pregnancy mean that the women should be getting special care – In Chaitanya Hospital, we have started a specialized twins clinic for this group of women.
You are likely to have more tests than you would for a singleton pregnancy. Some tests track your health because of increased chance of high blood pressure and gestational diabetes. Other tests monitor the babies. Ultrasound scanning is used to assess how well each baby is growing and developing and to measure the amount of amniotic fluid surrounding the babies. It can also check the length of the cervix (a cervix that shortens significantly during a twin pregnancy may be a warning that labour is imminent) and in the last few weeks, to assess the positions of the babies.
For women expecting twins, the minor symptoms of pregnancy like nausea, vomiting, haemorrhoids, tiredness, shortness of breath, heartburn ,constipation may be more severe than in singleton pregnancies.
Eat well, do gentle exercises, including pelvic floor exercises (supervised) and drink lots of fluids. Eating a balanced, nutritious diet, taking vitamin supplements, not smoking, getting as much rest as possible will help you cope with your pregnancy. It is normal to put on more weight than a woman carrying one baby. Aim to eat a healthy, balanced diet that includes appropriate portions of fruits, vegetables, proteins, dairy and whole grains. This helps to avoid constipation and provides a range of vitamins and minerals. You are more at risk from anemia during a twin pregnancy. Hence you require iron supplements and an iron rich diet.
About 55% of twins are born before 37 weeks with a small minority born before 32 weeks. It is preferable to be supervised by an obstetrician who specializes in twin pregnancy and plan to deliver your babies in a hospital that is equipped to care for premature births.
During vaginal delivery, the mother pushes the baby closest to the cervix down the birth canal first, and then the second baby. Caesarean delivery rate of twins is higher.
A family with twin babies needs emotional support, household help and lots of baby gear. Because of the demands of parenting two infants, post partum anxiety and depression are more common among mothers. Arrange a network during your pregnancy to provide rest, help and emotional support once the babies arrive.
Dr Charu Sud