Finding out you are pregnant with more than one baby is definitely exciting and likely a little intimidating for most women and their families. Even though multiple births are more common these days, a nervous “what happens now?” usually follows the big news.
In caring for women who are expecting twins or triplets, here is what I am most asked about:
How will my pregnancy care be different? Can I keep seeing my regular OB/GYN? Will I have to see a ton of specialists?
You can certainly keep seeing your OB/GYN. It is important to know earlier rather than later if you are carrying twins (or more!) and if they share the placenta. Women carrying twins have more ultrasounds, mainly to follow the babies’ growth and well-being. Women carrying twins that share the placenta (monochorionic) are seen more often than women carrying twins that do not share a placenta (dichorionic). Do not be surprised if you are asked to see a maternal fetal medicine specialist (also known as a perinatologist) for ultrasound or consultation.
Will I need to limit my activity?
Most women who are expecting twins can continue with their normal home and work activities. However, you may have to cut back on the length or frequency of those activities. You need energy to grow those babies, so it’s a good idea to try and limit the daily physical demands on your body. Also, it is best to prepare for activity limits in the third trimester.
Some items to check out sooner than later include: how activity limitations may affect your work; what your insurance will cover and plans for caring for other children in the family. Pregnancy is a great time to figure out how to share housekeeping duties. This will help you now and after your babies are born.
Can I exercise?
Yes, exercise can still be a part of your daily routine. Aim for 30 minutes a day of low-impact exercise such as swimming, walking or yoga.
Do I need more rest?
Another yes! Rest is a must. It is good to plan a nap or rest period every day.
What is a normal amount of weight to gain?
The recommended weight gain is often 35 to 45 pounds. Remember, your babies may be born early, so it is important to start gaining weight as early as possible. As with any pregnancy, the weight gain should be from nutrient-rich foods. Focus on eating foods high in protein, calcium and iron.
Should I expect to deliver early?
Yes. The best time to deliver uncomplicated twins is at 37-38 weeks. This is considered term for twin pregnancies so definitely plan for a slightly earlier delivery.
Dr. David Lynch-Salamon is a perinatologist with Allina Health’s Minnesota Perinatal Physicians, a group that provides high-risk pregnancy care for women in a five-state region. He finds the interaction with mothers and families as the most rewarding part of caring for patients. This post originally appeared on Allina’s Healthy Set Go.