10 Things to Know When You Find Out There’s More than One!

Before starting this blog, I just want to offer a congratulations to Pattie who is recovering from just having had her baby! I plan on guest blogging here for a little while about pregnancy with multiples. We are all wishing Pattie the best with her new little bundle and look forward to her return here at the Pregnancy blog!
I knew from the very beginning that I was having twins. I can’t really explain it, I just knew the pregnancy was different. My husband on the other hand, was skeptic. He thought I was just getting older. But I knew, that age could not explain this nagging feeling that I was carrying more than one baby.

I’ll never forget my husband’s expression when they turned on the sonogram screen (at 24 weeks). Shocked he said, “Um. . .that looks like a lot of body parts.”

Now if you’ve been pregnant and have had a sonogram, you know that one annoying thing about having a sonogram technician do your sonogram is that they’re not allowed to say anything. So our sonogram technician left for what felt like an eternity, to go get the doctor to confirm what my husband and I had already seen: I was either having a two headed, multi-limbed monster or we were having twins.

Thus, we began the roller coaster ride of being pregnant with multiples. You would think that being pregnant with twins is like being pregnant with one, just a little more. Or at least I did–but I quickly found out I was wrong! Being pregnant with twins is an entirely different ball game! Here are 10 things you’ll likely want to know after you find out you’re pregnant with twins:

1) Sonograms cannot tell if twins are fraternal or identical. There are conditions which may be present that can tell you if your twins are identical or fraternal such as if you’re expecting a boy and a girl (fraternal) or if your twins have TTTS (twin to twin transfusion syndrome is only present in identical twins). However, in the absence of some of these markers, a good sonogram picture can only help make a probable diagnosis. The only sure way to tell if twins are identical or fraternal is through a zygosity or DNA test after birth.

2) Only 14% of moms carry twins past 38 weeks. Most twins are premature. It is important for the pregnant mom to take steps to help increase her odds of carrying her twins as long as possible.

3) Twins can be born naturally. Just because you are having twins doesn’t mean that you have to have a c-section, although in some obstetric practices, it is recommended. If you want to birth your twins vaginally or at least attempt it, you need to find a provider who is comfortable with it.

4) Twins can be born via c-section. It is important to know that your likelihood of having a c-section is 50% with twins. That’s right–you are as likely to give birth via c-section as you are to have a boy or a girl. It is better, in my opinion, to plan for having one and be pleasantly surprised later.

5) Twins can turn during the pregnancy–even if you swore there was no more room in there! Twins turn vertex to breech all the time. This is because it is much harder for either twin to get its head “engaged” deep into the pelvis before birth. Twins can actually change positions during labor!

6) Most doctors will not attempt a vaginal delivery if baby A not vertex. If baby A is breech, you will most likely have to have a c-section. Delivering two breech babies can be traumatic on both the mother and babies and the outcome varies.

7) Laboring with twins is not necessarily harder. Research does not support that labor is necessarily longer just because a mother is carrying twins. Other factors such as how many babies you’ve had previously, and position of the babies is much more likely to determine how easy or how difficult your labor is. Delivery is a completely different story!

8) It is possible to give birth hours and hours apart if you are able to deliver them naturally.

9) Women who are pregnant with twins need to drink twice as much water and eat a diet high in protein to help ensure that they are carried to term.

10) Be prepared for lots of appointments and tests! Your doctor will likely want to see you weekly after 24 weeks. In addition, to regular check ups, you will be doing non-stress tests as well as bio-physical profiles once a week after week 28 and twice a week after week 32. Twin pregnancies are considered “high-risk” even if everything is going well.

The stress of finding out you’re having twins can be hard. But being prepared, resting a lot and doing everything you can to keep the babies inside for as long as possible, is the best way to spend your pregnancy.