Taking care of yourself during a multiple pregnancy
Aside from carrying two or more babies, your pregnancy will probably be shorter than a singleton pregnancy, and you will have greater needs for regular assessment, good nutrition and support.
Since you will get bigger more quickly and will be more tired in the later stages of pregnancy, you would be wise to start antenatal classes earlier than you would for a single baby. If possible, you should attend supplementary multiple-specific antenatal classes or information evenings—these are usually run by multiple birth clubs in the larger city centres.
Otherwise, attend regular antenatal classes and any classes your local multiple birth club offers. If you are not in a region where there are any multiple-specific classes, there are many resources available to you. Discuss this with your local club. Remember educating yourself now may make your pregnancy, birth and those vital early days easier!!
You will require more frequent assessments during pregnancy. Research shows that multiple pregnancies tend to have more complications than singleton pregnancies. If you have any concerns about your health or the babies’ health at any time during your pregnancy, you should contact your LMC or specialist.
Weight gain and nutritional requirements
During a twin pregnancy, you grow bigger more quickly than with a singleton pregnancy, and will need to ensure healthy eating to meet the nutritional requirements of multiple babies. So, a lot more care needs to be taken with nutrition than in a singleton pregnancy. As the babies grow, they need iron and folic acid to support their growth, so do consider taking supplements to support these growing requirements during pregnancy, especially in the last three months when growth is rapid.
For more information on nutrition during multiple pregnancy, click here.
Length of pregnancy
Full-term for a twin pregnancy is 38 weeks, with the average length of pregnancy being 36 weeks. For triplets, 35 weeks is considered full-term, but most triplets are delivered between 32 and 34 weeks. With higher order multiples, pregnancy will rarely last longer than 32weeks, and the term decreases with the number of babies.
Tips for a healthy twin pregnancy
Don’t underestimate the value of rest, a good diet and keeping hydrated; these are all vital to ensure healthy, full-term babies.
Take the advice of your Lead Maternity Carer (LMC) as to when you should stop work, and whether you need to reduce your work hours prior to taking your maternity leave.
If your LMC is concerned about your welfare, or that of the babies, you may need to rest a lot or stay in hospital for some time, prior to the birth of your babies. Remember, it is better for the babies to be growing inside, rather than outside you!