Now that I am gestating my second set of twins it’s hard not to feel like some sort of ‘twin expert’. Of course, no two pregnancies are alike, and even my own two twin pregnancies have been quite different from each other but there are a few aspects of pregnancy that you can expect to be more noticeable with twins, and from an earlier stage. I think that for many women, especially women who have been pregnant before, the difference between gestating one baby and gestating multiple babies can come as quite a shock. I notice it sometimes on twin facebook groups and forums, the ‘What is wrong with me?!’ posts, the anxiety that they are suffering too much, struggling too much when in fact, it’s unpleasant but quite normal and nothing to fight against or feel ashamed about.
This is usually one of the earliest symptoms of a twin pregnancy. It’s not uncommon for women to take to facebook complaining of relentless exhaustion and then to discover that it’s twins. This symptom can be so bad, especially in the first trimester, that some women can be signed off of work for months because the extreme tiredness makes it impossible for them to cope.
With both pregnancies, but particularly my first (my boy pregnancy) I spent the first trimester more or less fast asleep whenever I was not at work!
Hyperemesis gravidaruum, or ‘extreme morning sickness’, is more common in a twin pregnancy. Even if you’re not sick enough for a HG diagnosis, you’re more likely with twins to experience the nausea earlier and more vehemently. It’s just one of those things.
This one is a bit of a no-brainer. If you’re carrying two children, it’s going to notice faster. You will be able to feel your uterus over the top of your pubic bone earlier, even before the twelve-week scan. This might lead you to suspect that you are having twins even before it is officially confirmed in your first scan. As the pregnancy progresses it’s likely that you will continue to be larger than your peers although as multiple-pregnancy mamas don’t have their fundal heights checked, you’re unlikely to know by how much.
Twin mothers are more likely to end up with an iron deficiency. Some women even end up requiring an iron infusion or blood transfusion in advance of the birth! Your blood will likely be checked more frequently than if you were pregnant with just one baby, just in case.
An Earlier Delivery
Most twins are born before 37 weeks and in fact, the average gestation period of twins is 35 weeks. You may find that your hospital starts pushing induction if you reach 37 weeks. That is not to say that some women don’t go beyond that mark, of course – my own first set of twins were induced at 38+2 and the second set were overdue. Still, it is certainly wise to pack a hospital bag a little earlier than one might if expecting just the one!
Some women sail through their twin pregnancies but if you’re not one of them, please don’t feel bad and don’t let other people’s expectations get you down. Most people have no idea what it’s like to be gestating multiple babies and might need a gentle reminder. You could always send them this post!