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Twin Pregnancy

Twin Pregnancy questions answered.

Feeling your twin babies move.

When did you feel your twins move for the first time?
When did you feel your twins move for the first time?

Feeling your twin babies move.

When will I feel my twin babies move?

If it is your first pregnancy you might feel them move for the first time from around 17-18 weeks, maybe a little later. If you’ve already had children you might feel them move sooner than this ~ from around 14 weeks. It is not unheard of for you to not feel them move for the first time until 20+ weeks. It can be hard when it says in pregnancy and parenting books that you might feel them move from around 17 weeks but you haven’t felt yours move for the first time until later. If you’re worried at all please contact your midwife for reassurance.

How will I know if what I am feeling is my twin babies moving?

When you feel your babies move for the first time it may feel like a tiny ripple or even a slight touch of wind or perhaps a mildly fizzy feeling. You may at first only feel a gentle fluttering or it might take you a few attempts to realise that what you are feeling is them moving inside you. Eventually it will get more obvious as to what is happening and you might even be able to see the movement as you look at your abdomen. As time goes on the kicks will be more prominent and there’s nothing more rewarding than snuggling up to daddy and allowing him to feel them kick him too. (Why should he miss out on all the ‘fun’? :D)

Their movements may form a pattern, soon you’ll establish what a normal days movements is like for you.

You may also start to notice a pattern emerging. They might have times when they’re awake and active, and other times when they’re less active or you don’t notice their actions so much. Figure out what is ‘normal’ for you and your babies.

I’m not sure if my twin babies are moving or their movements have changed, what should I do?

If you find that you’ve not noticed your babies moving for a little while (especially if you’ve been busy going about your day) you might find it helps to lie down for a short period of time and drink a cold drink and see if that helps. If you don’t start noticing movements after a lie down and a cold drink contact your midwife or delivery suite for advice.

If you notice any changes to the amount or way that your babies are moving or you’ve not felt them move for a while get in touch with your midwife, antenatal clinic or delivery suite.  Sometimes when you notice a change in movements it can be that they’re kicking inwards or lying facing away from your front but it’s important not to assume that this is the case, always get checked out to be on the safe side. It also can mean that the babies are in distress or need help so it’s always important to ring and ask for guidance. Your midwife/ delivery suite may want to get you in for monitoring.

For more information check out this article from the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists https://www.rcog.org.uk/globalassets/documents/patients/patient-information-leaflets/pregnancy/pi-your-babys-movements-in-pregnancy.pdf

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Sex during a multiple pregnancy

Can we continue to have sex during multiple pregnancy?Yes, as long as your health team have not advised you against it for medical reasons. As you grow bigger you will have to be more imaginative with the positions you use in order for it to be comfortable!

 

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Twin Pregnancy Symptoms.

Coping with Pregnancy Sickness (Morning Sickness).‘Morning sickness’ as it is often called is something that a lot of mums-to-be suffer from, especially in the first trimester (up to week 12). Unfortunately some mums suffer from it for longer than 12 weeks, and have it at all times of day. Some mums find it is worse on an evening. Some twin mums to be don’t have much morning sickness at all, you might be one of the lucky ones! It’s not a ‘given’ that you will be very sick during your twin pregnancy. Some mums have Hyperemisis Gravidarum (morning sickness that is so severe they cannot keep anything down at all including water. ) If this happens to you, please seek urgent medical advice as you might need to be put on a drip/ other treatment. For further information about Hyperemesis Gravidarum please see http://www.pregnancysicknesssupport.org.uk/help/hyperemesis-gravidarum/

To stave off morning sickness it is essential that you never let yourself get too hungry, as it seems to be associated with feeling hungry.

I know that the very last thing you would feel like doing when you’re feeing very nauseous is to eat something but this is what seems to make it go away. Having something to eat before you get up in a morning also seems to help. If you have a lovely willing and helpful partner you could get him/her to fetch you some breakfast each morning. If your partner is less willing or at work etc you could have something that isn’t perishable by your bed which you could take up the night before. Try having a banana or a couple of ginger biscuits to take the edge off your  hunger long enough to get downstairs to make some cereal (I found instant hot oat cereal, or a ‘wheat biscuit-style’ cereal (the old fashioned type that you put milk on, you know the one I mean!) were the best because they were easy to swallow. I found having breakfast bars in my handbag and  cream crackers on my desk really helped so when I started to feel nauseous I had a couple of crackers or a breakfast bar. Experiment and see what works for you.

Have meals frequently. Small, regular meals seem to be better than having larger meals and long gaps. Schedule in meal/ snack breaks every 3 hours or so during the day. Drink plenty of fluids, water is good or very diluted fruit juices. Some people find caffeine makes them feel more sick. There are caffeine free fruit teas available if you feel like having a hot drink but don’t fancy your usual latte. If you don’t like the taste of water on it’s own, try adding a slice of lemon or lime to your glass. Avoid drinking alcohol during your pregnancy.Certain smells can spark off your pregnancy sickness. I found I couldn’t bear the smell of garlic or fried food when I was pregnant with my twins.

Severe Period-like pains in the first few weeks of pregnancy. Some women experience severe period-like pains in the first few weeks of pregnancy, whilst it is important to get checked over to rule out anything more serious, it *could* just be stretching pains/ implantation pain.

Sore Breasts Some women find that their breasts are very sore during the first part of pregnancy and that their breasts swell and enlarge. Try to avoid wearing an under-wired bra as wired bra’s are thought to damage the milk ducts. You may change bra size especially cup size so it is advisable to get properly measured for a maternity bra.

Increased vaginal discharge Some women find that they have an increased vaginal discharge during pregnancy, as long as it is not smelly or itchy or a funny colour, this is perfectly normal. It can be dealt with simply by wearing a pantyliner. If you do notice any changes in your vaginal discharge including colour, smell, or itchiness or if you see blood at all, please consult your medical team at once for advice.

Weepiness / irritability Some mums experience what appear to be very bad PMT symptoms especially during the first trimester (12 wks) This is due to the fluctuations of hormones present in the body. It usually passes but can be hard for everyone. If you feel very down or the symptoms are severe, please see your GP.

Extreme tiredness. In the first and third trimesters you are very likely to feel exhausted. Your body is creating two babies and this in itself uses a lot of energy. You may also be feeling very sick  during the first trimester which again has an exhausting effect on you. Try to rest as much as you can. I know it is hard especially if  understandably you haven’t told your family and friends your news.Try to do the absolute minimum and rest as much as you can. Take short walks each day to keep your circulation going. Keep drinking water. Get plenty of early nights if you can. If you have other children go to bed yourself as soon as you’ve put them to bed. You can watch TV in bed, or read or listen to music or an audio book, or check your social media feed in bed. Or simply sleep.

Constipation It is important to keep your bowels moving when pregnant, so ensure you have a diet which incorporates plenty of fresh fruit and vegetables, fruit smoothies, a glass of fruit juice a day, and choose wholemeal bread where possible. You can also increase the fibre content of your diet by eating jacket potatoes, having beans on toast, eating brown rice and wholemeal pasta. You also need to drink plenty of water.  If constipation becomes a problem contact your GP for advice.

Heartburn This can be a problem during pregnancy, especially in the last trimester. Try eating small, regular meals, drinking plenty of water or milk, eating yoghurt. Some mums’ find that it helps to sleep propped up on pillows. If it is a problem please don’t hesitate to see your GP for advice. For further information and advice about heartburn in pregnancy see http://www.gaviscon.co.uk/pregnancy/index.php

Headaches / Migraine Whilst headaches are quite common in pregnancy and more so in twin pregnancy, it is important to get headaches checked out, especially if they are severe or prolonged. If they are just regular headaches try having something to eat and a glass or two of water. Sometimes they can be related to low blood sugar or mild dehydration. You will know if either of these are the cause because when you’ve had a snack and a drink, they go. If you experience severe or sudden headaches after around 20wks get urgent medical help as it *may* be pre-eclampsia which is potentially life threatening. You are better to get checked out by a professional and be told that you’re fine than miss something vital.

Piles (Haemorrhoids) These can be prevented by having a high fibre diet and drinking plenty of fluids. Try not to strain when using the toilet. Visit your GP for advice.

Insomnia If you find you can’t sleep because your babies seem to know when you’ve sat down and start kicking, try resting more during the day. When you’re rested up they tend to do their moving around during the day! You might find having some warm milk helps to settle you, and a warm bath, some relaxation music etc. Propping your tummy up on pillows can also help.

Increased need to urinate. Most mums find that towards the end of their pregnancy they need to urinate (wee) more. It can feel like your twins are jumping up and down on your bladder! Keep close to a loo if you can, and keep drinking plenty of fluids. Do NOT try to ‘cure’ this by cutting back on your fluid intake. It is dangerous. Keep drinking plenty of water and fruit teas.

Anaemia This is very common in pregnancy. Symptoms of anaemia include tiredness, shortness of breath, feeling faint, pallor, palpitations. It can be prevented by eating a diet rich in iron. Iron can be found naturally in meat, spinach and leafy green vegetables. If you feel weak and tired, consult your GP. He/she may take a blood test for anaemia. Do NOT take over the counter iron tablets, go see your GP who can ensure that the product is at the correct dose and tested for safety in pregnancy.

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How to have a Healthy Twin Pregnancy

• Rest Plenty
• Take regular gentle exercise
• Avoid eating high risk foods
• Eat good quality food that are high in nutrients
• Eat regularly. A little and often seems to work best.
• Drink plenty of water
• Avoid cleaning the cat tray if you possibly can ~ get someone else to do it.
• Relax whenever you can.
• Avoid infectious diseases.
• Delegate some of your usual work load and household tasks to other people.

Eating/ Weight Gain During Twin Pregnancy Should I eat for three?! Alas not. The important thing is to eat nutritionally rich food, making every mouthful count. Having plenty of fruit, vegetables, wholegrains, protein rich foods, wholemeal bread sandwiches is vital, as well as drinking plenty of water.

It is a good idea to eat regularly, especially if you’re suffering from morning sickness. I know it doesn’t sound like it would make sense, but the one thing that will stave off morning sickness seems to be having something carbohydrate rich every few hours and never letting yourself get truly hungry.
Great snacks include:  sandwiches on wholemeal bread, pieces of fruit, a yoghurt, slices of malt loaf, pitta bread, vegetable sticks.
Make sure your food is cooked correctly and be extra vigilant with food hygiene. Always wash fruit and vegetables especially if you’re going to eat them raw. Cook eggs, meat, fish and poultry right through. Avoid homemade mayonnaise and mousse recipes.

Foods to avoid in pregnancy: see http://www.nhs.uk/conditions/pregnancy-and-baby/pages/foods-to-avoid-pregnant.aspx
How much weight should I gain during twin pregnancy? Aim for steady weight gain over the pregnancy. Ideally you should gain about 24lbs in total over the first 24 weeks, then 1.25-1.5lbs a week for the rest of the pregnancy.  If you notice a very sudden weight gain, please inform your health team urgently.

Take Folic Acid for the first 12 weeks of your pregnancy.

Check any medications/ supplements/ vitamins you already take are suitable for pregnancy, including those from your GP and also those bought over the counter. Avoid over the counter regular vitamins as they contain too much vitamin A.

Rest as much as you can. If your twins are your first children, you are likely to be able to get a little more rest after work than you would if you had other children. No matter what your circumstances are, try to rest as much as possible. Don’t be afraid to delegate some of the tasks that you would normally do to someone else.

If you have other children, see if there is any way you could set up a system where you share some of the school and activity runs with another trusted family, so that you can say just take the children to their activity or just pick up rather than having to dash around taking and picking up. (Obviously if it is something that you’re able to stay and watch and you want to, that’s fine) But any times that you don’t need to be present at that particular club, try to find someone else to do it, so you can snatch a few minutes rest. Start this early on, so you get the benefit from it.

Avoid contact with anyone suffering from infectious diseases such as chicken pox or rubella (German measles) influenza, diarrhoea and sickness. Infectious diseases such as chicken pox and rubella can lead to birth defects, so avoid contact.

Do NOT clean your cats tray out yourself unless there really only is you that can do it, if you absolutely HAVE to clean your cats out, please wear gloves and make sure you wash your hands thoroughly afterwards. This is because in cat faeces (poo) there is a germ called toxoplasmosis which can have severe consequences for your babies including blindness and stillbirth.

Harness Technology! If you’re not already familiar with internet banking, internet grocery shopping and paying bills on-line or by direct debit, now would be a great time to learn. Later in your pregnancy and after the birth you will find it invaluable to be able to buy groceries, pay bills etc without having to leave your sofa!

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Vanishing Twin Syndrome

Some pregnancies start off with two ‘sacs’ but then one of them either gets miscarried or reabsorbed, leaving only one viable foetus. This is known as ‘vanishing twin syndrome.’

It is relatively common and something that is being noticed more these days due to early scanning. If you are told at a very early scan that you are having twins it is very stressful to be told at a later scan that one of them has now vanished.

Can vanishing twin syndrome be prevented? No. There is nothing that you can do to prevent one twin being reabsorbed. It is normally caused by an abnormality.

Vanishing twin syndrome normally occurs in the first trimester, which is why it is a good idea to wait until after the first trimester to tell everyone you’re having twins.

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