Are you expecting twins? This is everything you need to know about your pregnancy, and after your twins are born.
I had a three-year-old and one-year-old when I got pregnant with the twins. The first two pregnancies were very similar – I went from happy, mad, crying, and screaming all within a two-minute span. One night I was being crazy and emotional, so my husband asked if I was pregnant. Right away (being offended that he thought I was acting crazy) I said, “No!!!” Psh! I know my body…. Although, I am being a little crazy and a little emotional, and I can’t remember when I had my period last… Maybe I am?
With my second child, I had a dream that I expressed milk. When I woke up – SURPRISE! I was lactating. I was pregnant! I decided to try expressing (since I was acting crazy, and such). I went to the bathroom — nope nothing. What a relief! Could you imagine three children in three years? I sat down and couldn’t stop thinking about… So, I tried again. I went to the bathroom, then came out a second later and told my husband that we needed to go get a pregnancy test – pronto.
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Twin Pregnancy Symptoms
Twin pregnancy symptoms are very relatable to a single baby pregnancy. The funny thing with me is, with my first and second I knew at 8 weeks that I was pregnant. With my twins, I had no idea until I was 12 weeks and it was only because I was being cranky one night and my husband asked if I was pregnant.
I have heard from most twin moms that their symptoms were more intense and they knew sooner. But, it seems to be different for everyone in the beginning.
Early Twin Pregnancy Symptoms
It’s amazing what pregnancy does to your body. I never knew all the things that would happen, some gross, some weird but all normal. With each pregnancy I had the same symptoms but, with twins, they were just a little more intense.
Your smell sense could heighten … a lot. It may seem like nothing smells good even things that usually smell good. They smell alone might make you feel nauseous.
You could get weird painful breakouts. You might breakout not only on your face, but it places like in your ear, your back, but it doesn’t last forever.
Another fun symptom is hair growth, and not on your hair. Although pregnancy can make your hair look wonderful, I’m talking about body hair growth, in places you wish it wouldn’t. This usually goes away after pregnancy, along with your hair on your head… Yes, your hair will fall out after pregnancy, don’t worry, not all of it. 🙂
Of course, there is morning sickness, but in case you didn’t know it doesnt’ only come in the morning. Some people get morning sickness throughout the day, or only in the afternoon or night time. There are things you can do to help ease the nausea and make it a little more bearable.
First thing is to pay attention to what triggers your sickness. Snack often, saltine crackers or my go to, Chex Mix. Sometimes when your body is hungry you get that nauseous feeling, and snacking frequently will help. You will need to eat more often becuase your babies are literally sucking everything out of you. But, it is important to keep it as healthy as possible for you and your babies health.
Hellloooo Twin Pregnancy Belly
Shortly after finding out I was pregnant my symptoms started to kick. As expected twin pregnancy is exhausting, your body is creating two humans plus trying to keep you healthy. Two babies equal less room. You may experience back pain as the babies grow, due to the extra weight, and their position in your tummy. You can talk to your doctor about safe stretches you can do to ease the aches.
As your belly grows it will start to feel itchy, heavy and stretched. If you feel itchy try not too itchy because that can cause more stretch marks, also the itching will get worse, like a scratching a mosquito bite. You can get lotion or cocoa butter to health the itching- well-moisturized skin stretch out easier and won’t get itchy or as many stretch marks.
For the heaviness feeling, with two babies it feels like your stomach is sticking out a foot and half out, that’s because it is. It’s crazy to think about how your belly doesn’t need a table to rest on! I will talk about how to make your pregnancy more comfortable later in the post.
Difficult Sleeping During Your Twin Pregnancy
This will kick in around 20 weeks. With singletons sleep was uncomfortable, but with twins, it’s beyond uncomfortable. I know that’s not something you wanted to hear, I’m sorry. However, there are ways to make sleeping more comfortable.
Get in comfortable pajamas, do what you like to do before going to bed. There are pregnancy pillows that help support your back and your pregnant belly, so it doesn’t hurt and feel heavy while laying on your side. Try not to lay on your back unless you are elevated once in a while, because laying on your back can make it difficult for the blood to circulate and other complications. Sleeping on your either sides is ideal, preferably the left side, because this side lets the blood circulate the best and ensures the nutrients are getting to the babies through the placenta.
Putting an extra pillow between your legs while you sleep will help ease hip and back pain. Also, having an extra pillow for your head so your a little elevated will make sleeping a little better. Some women get congested in their nose during pregnancy and sleeping elevated will decrease your nasal congestion.
Mid and Late-Term Twin Pregnancy Symptoms
Around the 20 week mark in your pregnancy, in some ways, it gets easier and in most ways, it gets harder and uncomfortable. Your morning sickness may be gone by now, but now you might start to feel a little more uncomfortable.
Some women experience something called pregnancy carpal tunnel. When I had my first two boys I never experienced this. Then with my twins both hands would hurt, I could barely write, hold a pen, open a jar anything, the pain was too much. When I would sleep my hands would go numb and hurt.
This happens because of the retention of water putting pressure on the carpal tunnel. There are some home remedies you can do that will help make it more tolerable. Doing daily wrist stretches, applying ice packs to your wrist, and wearing a wrist splint during work if you use your hands a lot, and also at night.
Swollen Feet and Legs
The extra fluid in your body and pressure from the baby can cause edema in your legs and feet which can be uncomfortable at times. You can put your legs up as often as possible to get the swelling down, you can also get compression socks to reduce the swelling. With my twins, my legs literally doubled in size and my feet looked like a blown-up glove, and I didn’t even have ankles. You may need to get some comfy shoes for the rest of your pregnancy because your shoes may not fit, it was hard to find shoes that fit, but flats were my go-to.
FIY: after your pregnancy, your skin and feet will hurt and itch when they are going back down to their normal size. I recommend applying lotion and massaging them every day until they are back to normal.
How to make twin pregnancy more comfortable
How to ease twin pregnancy aches and pains
There is no question that twin pregnancies are exhausting and uncomfortable, I mean by week 35 it is nearly impossible to put your shoes on or put your pants on. Just remember that it won’t last forever, and the most important thing is that you and the babies are healthy. Here are some things I did or wish I knew about that can make your pregnancy a lot more bearable.
Wear comfortable clothes– I had maternity clothes from my previous pregnancy, but unfortunately, I outgrew them because I got so big, maternity shirts were too small! I recommend getting big maternity shirts or using the undershirt band that looks like you have a shirt underneath, covering your belly better.
Get a pregnancy pillow– This is a must need to get a good or better night’s sleep. I loved using the body pillow because I could rest my belly on the pillow, lay my head on it and at the same time have the pillow between my knees.
Kinesiology tape or belly band– Both of these work great for supporting your belly has your belly gets bigger and heavier. I used a belly band and I loved it. I wish I tried the tape but I have heard great things about using Kinesiology tape.
Compression socks and wrist splint– I never thought about using compression socks for when my legs were so swollen, but I wish I had! One of my maternity pants were boot cut but looked like skinny jeans because my legs were so swollen. I did, however, use a wrist splint especially when I was sleeping and it helped a lot, I was able to sleep a little better.
Comfortable shoes– Whether you need to wear dressy shoes or you can wear casual shoes at work or with your daily attire, there are plenty of cute shoes you can wear that won’t kill your feet while you’re pregnant. Avoid heels because they will hurt your feet and it’s a high risk of falling. Cute flats are more ideal for the office or these cute slip-on shoes for more casual wear.
Drink a lot of water– With your body retaining water and ge+tting swollen, drinking the adequate amount of water will reduce swelling and water retention. It also does so much more for you and your baby. Drinking the right amount of water helps the amniotic fluid and keeping your baby safe and healthy.
Possible complications with twins
It’s exciting to be having twins, but with having twins it automatically puts you into a high-risk pregnancy. There are more complications that could happen to you and or your baby so you just need to be more cautious during your pregnancy.
In the first trimester, you can experience bleeding from your uterus stretching out, but this is completely normal. This happened to me twice and both times I thought I was miscarrying, but it turned out they were fine.
Since you are a high-risk pregnancy you will go to the doctors a lot more frequently than you would with a singleton baby. The doctors will take an ultrasound every appointment to make sure you and the babies are growing right, and facing right.
These complications are more common and ones that you should look out for:
Gestational Hypertension– This is 5 times more likely to happen with a twin pregnancy. High blood pressure can cause early detachment of the placenta and can lead to a deadly condition call eclampsia if it’s not caught early or quickly enough.
Premature Babies– More than 60% of twins are born premature, which is before 37 weeks. 38 weeks is considered full term for twin pregnancies. Even though it’s super uncomfortable, going full term is ideal, to avoid complications with your twins’ development.
Anemia– This is very common and more likely to happen in twin pregnancies because your body has to produce more blood and create enough for two babies and you. Taking your iron supplements during pregnancy is very important because it makes sure there are enough red blood cells to carry oxygen to your body’s tissue. If your iron is low your will feel very dizzy and nauseous. If this happens to go to your doctor right away because low iron can put your babies at risk for premature delivery.
Birth defects-A multiple baby pregnancy is a high risk for developing congenital abnormalities like gastrointestinal and heart abnormallities.
Miscarrage– Your risk of having a miscarriage is higher with a twin pregnancy than a singleton pregnancy.
Twin to twin transfusion– This is when identical twins share a placenta and the blood vessels connect through the placenta and divert to one baby away from the other baby. This occurs with 15-20% of identical twins.
Abnormal amounts of amniotic fluid-Abnormal amount of fluids, either too much or too little is more common in twin pregnancy, especially twins sharing the same placenta.
Postpartum hemmorage– With twins there is a larger placenta and your uterus is distended larger for a long period of time can cause hemorraging after the babies are born.
Gestational Diabetes– This is caused by the hormone the placenta creates causes glucose to build up in you blood. Gestational diabetes can cause preclampsia which can be very dangerous for the mother and the baby.
How is twin pregnancy different
Twin pregnancy is a lot like a singleton pregnancy, but at the same time, it is a lot different. In my experience, my twin pregnancy was quite different than my singleton pregnancies. You start showing a lot sooner, I looked like I was about 5 months pregnant when I was only 3 months pregnant.
In the beginning stages, it was a lot like my first pregnancies, even the morning sickness, I didn’t find that my morning sickness was worse than a singleton pregnancy. Around 20 weeks was when it was getting difficult and experienced things I didn’t with my first to babies. One main thing that was different was my pregnancy carpal tunnel.
I thought it was because I wasn’t drinking enough water or something because my fingers were so swollen, which I thought what the reason my hands hurts so much. It wasn’t that, it was because of the carpal tunnel, it would feel numb and tingly and hurt so much I could barely use my hands.
Then around week 25, I felt kind of miserable. I couldn’t sleep because of my hand, and I was so big I could barely move when I was sleeping. My feet and legs got swollen and it was hard to find shoes that would fit. My maternity clothes stopped fitting so I had to get an underbelly band to cover the part of my belly that would stick out.
I really didn’t think I could get any bigger or go full term but I did. I was about 34 when I went on my maternity leave because I couldn’t work anymore, my job I was on my feet the whole 9 hours.
Tip: Listen to your body. If something doesn’t seem right, or you are just too tired listen to your body, call into work or go to the doctors whatever it is that you need to do, do it. If you feel like you can’t work anymore because it’s getting too hard, talk to your boss and see if there is a different job or task that you can do that will be easier on you. If you can’t do that think about starting your maternity leave if you can. Bottom line, do what you need to do for you and your babies.
Week By Week Twin Babies Growth
3 weeks– By week 3 each zygote (fertilized egg) has developed into a ball of hundreds of cells called a blastocyst and is borrowing into the uterine lining. Your zygotes are smaller than a grain of salt.
4 weeks– The zygotes are now embryos made up of two layers of cells which will be where all organs and body parts will develop. Your babies are the size of a poppyseed.
8 weeks– The twins already have arms and legs that bend by this week. Their hearts have been beating for two weeks at this time. The brain nerves are developing and starting to connect to one another. Your twins are the size of a raspberry.
12 weeks– Your twins are kicking, but they may be too small to feel at this time. Their eye lids are covering their eyes, and their fingernails are growing in. They have tooth buds developing under their gums. The twins are as big as a plum.
16 weeks– Your babies have their own fingerprints at this point. They are starting to make squinting faces. Also, they are starting to pee the amnotic fluid they have been swallowing. Their sex organs are able to detect by ultrasound now. Your twins are the size of an avocado.
20 weeks– Your babies can hear you now, so it is a great time to start talking to the for them to recognize your voice. Their hair is growing on their head, and their skin has a white coating to protect their skin from the amniotice fluid. Your twins are the size of a banana.
24 weeks– Your babies now have ey`ebrows. Their baby and adult teeth are now grown under the gums and they now have taste buds. Your twins are as big as a cantaloupe.
28 weeks– The twins have eyelashes and can open their eyes and blink. The babies are gaining fat under their skin. You may see them sucking their thumbs at this point through ultrasound, and may feel them hiccup. Your twins are the size of an eggplant.
32 weeks– Your babies’ toenails and fingernails are fully grown, and may have a full head of hair. Your twins maybe born within the next few weeks. The goal is to have them stay in there until 38 weeks. Your twins are as big as a squash.
36-38 weeks- Your babies’ lungs are fully developed by 34 weeks. Most twins are born by 36 weeks, but some make it the full 38 weeks. This will lessen the chance of birth complications. They have spent the last weeks building fat and the average baby weighs 5 ½ lbs each. Your twins are the size of a papaya`.
How to prepare for twins
It’s Okay To Be Freaked Out
It’s okay! Go ahead and cry! As exciting as this news is – it is overwhelming. Your hormones are twice the crazy (now you know why) so you can’t help to just let it all out. Happy cry!! Scared- shit-less cry! Laugh! We get it!
When I finally got out of the doctor’s appointment I hurried and called my husband… he thought I was kidding. All we could think about was the Benjamin$. How were we going to be able to afford twins?? And daycare for four children? That’s out of the question. Whose car is going to fit four car seats? Are we going to be a van family?
Will we ever sleep? How did this happen? Whose family is to blame? Are we even sure? After our initial freak-out – we talked about it and decided not to worry. Everything was going to work out. We wanted to enjoy the amazing news.
Did I mention, it doesn’t run in either of our families? So never in a million years did I think I would have twins, but we did – two beautiful baby boys.
Maternity Clothes Won’t Fit!
I started looking like I was six months pregnant at three months. I didn’t want to know how big I was going to be by the time I popped – holy smokes! Around six months, my maternity clothes started to get too small. $!#&, Now what?
I didn’t want to spend money on clothes for the last three months – maternity clothes aren’t always cheap. My advice? Buy big. It will be huge in the beginning but believe me, you’ll grow into them! The pants that fit looked like skinny jeans at the end (hello swelling!), and my shirts would always show my gorgeous pregnancy-pants elastic.
Okay, I’m going to get a little personal here. Dropping something and not being able to pick it up is not the only issue you’ll have, due to size. My belly was the size of a beach ball – and was very hard. There was no bending over, for me. The last three weeks, I had to have my husband help me put my pants on.
That being said, it’s going to be very difficult to wipe yourself after doing your duties… A little TMI I know, but just a heads up is all. I suggest trying to clean yourself while still sitting…
You Actually Get To Eat More Food!
That is if you don’t have the worse morning sickness ever sorry if that’s you! One of the best parts of being pregnant is, no one judges you when you eat and eat a lot. Yes! No need to suck your belly in? Double YES! This is double awesome with twins.
You’ll obviously still need to make sure you eat healthy, and not eat TOO much. But with twins you need an extra 600 calories per baby!!! The bigger you get, you will wonder how any more will fit into your belly, so it will help to eat smaller meals throughout the day.
You Could Carry Full Term… yeah – FULL TERM!
One thing to know is, every pregnancy is different. Some people have preemies with singletons, and some people go full term with twins. With my first boy I was a week late. Second boy I was on time because I had a scheduled C-section. With the twins, I had a scheduled C-section as well. I was scheduled for exactly 38 weeks – which is full-term for twins.
No way was I going to make it to 38 weeks! I felt like my stomach was going pop half way through my pregnancy! Week 35 came and I thought, “Oh, pretty soon!” Week 36 and 37 passed… and the growth-charts I was following stopped (because apparently having twins past 36 weeks is crazy). I finally had those boys at 38 weeks – they both weighed over 6 pounds, each, one at almost 7 pounds!
You’ll Have More Appointments
One of the best things about having twins is that you get to have more doctor appointments! You’re probably thinking that doesn’t sound fun – well it is. You get to hear the heart beat at every appointment, and you get to see the baby through ultrasound every month!
It was so much fun seeing them and how much they had grown in such a short amount of time. You get to see them doing things like, putting their butts in each other’s face, or cuddling with each other. It was special. I loved the extra appointments.
You May Have Some Scares
Having twins puts you at high risk pregnancy, automatically. There’s just so much going on with your body! With twins they have to keep a close eye on everyone. I didn’t have spotting or have anything go wrong, with my first two pregnancies. With the twins? I bled three times and it was a lot more than just a spot. Sorry for the image – but it was the scariest thing I’ve ever experienced!
We were happy we were having twins, but we didn’t realize just how happy until you think you’ve possibly lost them. This happened three times and every time was just as scary as the first.
That wasn’t the only scare. One appointment the doctor said that Baby B’s heart rate was very low (everything turned out to be fine – just needed to have extra tests).
At another appointment Baby A’s weight dropped 10%. I was freaking out, especially since I wouldn’t be able to know if there was something wrong until the following appointment. Again, luckily everything ended up being okay.
Then there were worries about hemorrhaging with the C-section, since I had C-sections with my previous babies. The delivery went well, but one of the babies came out purple and not breathing on his own. The amazing nurses did everything they could to get him to breath.
They rubbed the bottom of his foot so much, that he has a scar there now. But, he began breathing… and there was no hemorrhaging on my part. We all walked out healthy, happy, and with ten fingers and toes.
When the twins are born
It’s Okay For Them To Sleep Separately (and encouraged by doctors!)
While I was pregnant I researched none-stop about twins. What were the best items for them? Should they be on the same eating and feeding schedule? Should I wake one up to eat, if the other one wakes up? How should they sleep?
Would you like to know one thing I would recommend? If you research what to do with your twins, use it as a guide – because every baby is different (even if they are twins).
Just go with the flow. There is no wrong or right answer.
For me? I wanted to make sure they were comfortable so we could all sleep – and our room is small, so I needed to find a way to work with what we had. I talked to my doctor about whether they could sleep together and she said that it was ok for them to sleep together until they start moving – for safety reasons.
So, I got a twinzee pillow (an amazing must-buy) and put it in our pack-in-play, and had them sleep on the pillow until they started moving. Once they started moving, I separated them I put them in rock ‘n plays (HUGE life saver!). When they were about 7 months I put them in their own crib just so they can stretch out more, but at nap time, or just to hang out I put them in the rock ‘n play.
Breastfeeding is Difficult
Whether it’s with singletons or twins – breastfeeding is difficult! You don’t know what you’re doing, the babies don’t know what they are doing, your nipples hurt like hell, and for me – my milk let-down was going to be the death of me! Awe – what a beautiful time!
No, really it is the most beautiful thing ever. I’m not here to say breast is best – or formula is best. To me, a fed baby is best. My first son I exclusively fed until he was one and a half. My second son I exclusively breastfed until 8 months (I had to go back to work, and pumping wasn’t working). I tried so hard to exclusively breastfeed the twins, but with them being under weight and my supply not increasing enough, I had to substitute with formula, I tried pumping – that was a disaster for me.
Between feeding the twins, pumping, and taking care of my other two kids – I had no time. With twins you can tandem feed – but it hurt too much when they latched on and I couldn’t seem to get the position right with two on me (one baby had latching problems, even after his frenotomy – to make matters more difficult). So I would feed them at different times.
But don’t let this discourage you. If you are able to do it or want to try then go for it! Every baby and situation is different. I thought breastfeeding is like riding a bike, but it’s not.
It would take me an hour and a half to feed them. Which means I would only get 30-45 minutes before I had to start all over again – because they needed to eat every 2-3 hrs, 20 minutes each side for each baby! With two other kids running around I just couldn’t do it, and that is just fine. Do what is best for you, your sanity, and your babies.
It’s Easier Than You Think
So, what I found out (after stressing during my whole pregnancy about how on-earth I was going to manage two boys, two dogs and twins) is thinking, “I got this.” Don’t get me wrong! I want to rip my hair out sometimes – but that’s just parenting. You’re not a parent until you hide in the bathroom to get some quiet time.
I didn’t want to leave the hospital because they spoil you there, and you get so much help and sleep – I loved it! I started having anxiety when it was time to go home!
The first few weeks are hard – trying to find a rhythm, functioning with sleep deprivation, and trying to keep your sanity. But, after a month or two, you’ll find what works for you and your babies. It’s not as hard as you imagine it. Just remember – it’s okay to be scared. You are not a bad mom for having these feelings. But also remember that you’ve got this!
Thank you for reading! We would love to hear from you! What was it like for you finding out you were pregnant? What advise do you have for first time moms, or twin expecting moms?